"And he brought Him to Jerusalem, and set Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto Him, ‘If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over Thee, to keep Thee: And in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.’ And Jesus answering said unto him, ‘It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God’" (Luke 4:9-12 – King James Version).
When my wife an I were baby Christians we were having a conversation on how much we were to put into serving God. Somewhere along my wife’s childhood someone taught her about serving and giving in a goofed up way. Some preacher or teacher told her that giving to God meant giving a tenth of all she had; a tenth of her talents, a tenth of her material resources and a tenth of her time. PHOOEY! She said that they even used Scripture to support that whacked out thinking. The only Scripture I could find that would lead someone to think that would be Genesis 28:22 which states, "And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee" (KJV). Now be sure of this my friends, that verse was not talking about a tenth of each part of our lives, but was talking about a tenth of Jacob’s material resources. To think we could only give God a tenth of our time would be crazy! For the record, my wife got straightened out on that whole mess.
Friend, let me tell you something, and hear me clearly, we cannot afford to twist Scripture. The temptation is to look at God’s Word and make it say what we already believe or what we want to hear. When we approach Scripture we cannot change it, we must let it show us how we are to change. In doing that we will encounter Scripture that we don’t like; it will fly in the face of things we enjoy doing or in attitudes or character traits that we have had for years.
Even Satan used Scripture in trying to tempt Jesus. In the above passage Satan MISQUOTES Psalm 91:11-12 in this way: "He shall give his angels charge over Thee, to keep Thee: And in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone." It’s original, and right, rendering reads thusly: "For He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone" (KJV). The difference is that Satan left off "to keep thee in all thy ways". That’s the difference in words, but the big difference is in intent. The original is an assurance of God’s protection for those who trust. Satan uses the Scripture to tempt Jesus to dare God, which is the opposite of trusting.
That’s the same kind of mess that Satan did in the garden when he tempted Adam and Eve. It’s deceptive and tricky and just the kind of thing that Satan does to throw God’s people off of track. Of course, Jesus did not fall for it; He knew Scripture and how to apply it properly.
The only way we will be able to mimic Christ on this account is if we know Scripture too. We must be in the Word constantly; searching it out and finding what it really means. I always read and study the Scripture my pastor preaches on each Sunday. Sure, I trust my pastor and I trust what he says, but I want to check it out for myself. I would imagine that rather than being agitated that I check behind him, my pastor would commend me.
We cannot afford to be fooled when it comes to God’s word, nor can we afford to fool ourselves. We cannot twist God’s word to suit what we want or how we already feel. We must have our minds renewed and be transformed daily by being challenged by truths from God’s word. Satan wants us to get off track and one of his most subtle tools is deception through the Word of God. Be careful, be watchful and be studious.