Monday, March 3, 2014
Satan Departing, Angels Ministering
Beloved friends, we have very much to learn from our Lord's temptation. He was tempted in all points, like as we are.
If you will study the temptation of Christ, you will not be ignorant of Satan's devices.
If you see how He worsted the enemy, you will learn what weapons to use against your great adversary.
If you see how our Lord conquers throughout the whole battle, you will learn that, as you keep close to Him, you will be more than conqueror through Him that loved you.
From our Lord's temptation we learn especially to pray, "Lead us not into temptation." Let us never mistake the meaning of that petition.
We are to pray that we may not be tempted, for we are poor flesh and blood and very frail, and it is for us to cry to God, "Lead us not into temptation."
But we also learn a great deal from the close of our Lord's great threefold trial.
We find Him afterward peaceful, ministered to by angels and rejoicing. That should teach us to pray, "But, if we must be tempted, deliver us from the evil," or, as some render it, and very correctly, too, "Deliver us from the evil one."
First, we pray that we may not be tempted at all; and then, as a supplement to that prayer, yielding the whole matter to divine wisdom, "If it be needful for our manhood, for our growth in grace, for the verification of our graces, and for God's glory that we should be tempted, Lord, deliver us from the evil; and especially deliver us from the impersonation of evil, the evil one!"
With that as an introduction, for a short time tonight let me call upon you to notice in our text, first, the Devil leaving the tempted One: "Then the devil leaveth him."
Secondly, we shall keep to Matthew's gospel, and notice the angels ministering to the tempted One after the fallen angel had left Him.
And then, thirdly, the limitation of the rest which we may expect, the limitation of the time in which Satan will be gone, for Luke puts it, "When the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season," or, as some put it, "until a fit opportunity," when he would again return, and our great Lord and Master would once more be tried by his wicked wiles.
When did the devil leave our Lord? When he had finished the temptation.
It must have been a great relief to our divine Master when Satan left Him; the very air must have been purer and fitter to be breathed.
His soul must have felt a great relief when the evil spirit had gone away; but he went not, we are told, until he had finished all the temptation.
So Luke puts it: "When the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season."
Satan will not go until he has shot the last arrow from his quiver.
Such is his malice that, as long as he can tempt, he will tempt.
His will desires our total destruction; but his power is not equal to his will.
God does not give him power such as he would like