As we said last time – In Matthew 4 when Jesus was tempted by Satan –
What was Satan’s focus? Turning rocks into bread to prove Jesus was the Son of God. So Satan was focusing on the rocks, the stones. Where were the stones? Laying on the ground. Satan and Jesus could see the stones, touch the stones. The stones were in this physical realm. In this world.
Jesus focused on what was not seen, the bread. Satan was focused on something in this physical earthly realm and Jesus focused on something not seen, the bread.
Last time I mentioned Esau and Jacob. Sometimes I think of Esau selling his birthright for pottage to his brother Jacob. Genesis 25:28-34. Esau was focused on his hunger. He wanted food. The food was for his physical earthly body and Esau was willing to give up everything, his birthright, to satisfy his flesh in this physical realm. But Jesus would not change the stones into bread because his focus was not on food for his hungry body. Jesus focused on the spirit, something spiritual, and, how man does not live by bread but by God’s word.
Did you ever wonder, why didn’t Jesus turn the rocks into bread? Could he have? Yes. Would turning rocks into bread be sin? No. Clearly, Jesus could have turned rocks into bread and after 40 days and nights without food and water he had to be hungry. So why didn’t he turn rocks into bread?
How he answers Satan tells us. Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Jesus was teaching us that no matter what trials, tests or even hardships we face, don’t focus on the rocks turning to bread but focus on every word of God to get you through. Even when it doesn’t make sense.
Think about that. If you had gone 40 days and nights without food and water where would your focus be? Esau chose to focus on his stomach, on food for his earthly body. That choice made him loose all the blessings of the first born, the rights of the birthright.
When we choose to dismiss the promises God makes to us by getting mad at God, walking away from God or ignoring God, we loose on the promises God has made to us. Why? Because we focus on our flesh, our body in this physical world.
Friends, it is not about our flesh, our body and making things fluffy and nice for our flesh. When you think about Esau sold his birthright for food for his earthly body you can understand it is not about what we experience in our flesh, our body. It is about standing firmly on the word of God no matter how things look.
Paul warns us in many areas, we live in the spirit, not in the flesh. Our battles are not fleshly battles but battles against “spiritual wickedness”. We do not fight people in the flesh, we fight spiritual wickedness that is working through others. We are not told to hate people and we are not told to hate sin per say. But we are told to hate evil.
People do evil things but it is the influence of evil through spiritual wickedness. People are either influenced by God or evil. And the way God influences us is always through his word. Then we decide to believe God or not.
Learning to separate our flesh, our flesh’s desires and the sin of our flesh from our spirit man is key. Esau did not. And Jacob? Jacob knew the value of the birthright and he wanted it so bad he was willing to bargin with his brother to get it. Could Jacob see the birthright? No. But Jacob knew the birthright was based on promises made by God. So Jacob focused on something he could not see physically in this realm.
So Jacob focused on the promises of God regarding the birthright and Esau focused on food for his belly. Down the road, would Esau get hungry again? Yes. But he would never have the birthright again. And Jacob, down the road, will he still have the birthright? Yes.
We have promises from God. Don’t sell them or sell out God because you might loose your home. Or maybe your body has a disease. Or you lost your job. Or you may be going through a divorce or lonliness. All these are things of the flesh for this world. Things of the flesh. But hold fast to the promises of God because God heals diseases, gives people jobs, provides a roof over their head. And even if the flesh suffers, the spirit man will grow stronger and receive the promises and blessings.
Jacob and Esau knew the value of the birthright. But Jacob valued the birthright more than Esau, why? The birthright was not something they could see, touch, smell, eat. The birthright was based on God’s word, God’s promises. And Jacob valued God’s promises, God’s word more than Esau.
That is a lesson behind Jesus responding to Satan in Matthew 4. There is great value in living by what God says, what God promises and Jesus knew the value of living by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. We know God tells us he can not lie.
We have to question what we do to determine if it is a fleshly thing or spiritual. Then we can make informed decisions. Until next time.