Sat, 9 March 2019
(Dt.26:4-10; Ps.91:1-2,10-15; Rom.10:8-13; Lk.4:1-13)
“To His angels He has given command about you,
that they guard you in all your ways.”
Can there be any doubt that the Lord God will bear Jesus up through His temptations in the desert, that He “will deliver Him and glorify Him”? For if “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” will the Father leave His Son “in distress”? If He has rescued David from “the lion and the dragon,” will He not also “set [Jesus] on high,” apart from any danger? If the Israelites say: “We cried to the Lord, the God of our fathers, and He heard our cry” – and so delivered them from the “affliction” and “toil” and “oppression” of Egyptian slavery – will the deliverance of the Holy One from Satan’s clutches be long in coming? Indeed the angels watch over Him, for His name is joined to that of the Father.
And indeed it is His name we now call upon in our need. As Paul tells us, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” And so He who has been preserved from the devil’s temptation now becomes the source of our own salvation – we find ourselves now protected as He, blessed by our faith in the Lord of all.
I notice again how the temptations present in our gospel are indicated, and answered, in our first reading and psalm. Of course, the devil himself attempts to use our quote from Psalm 91 to bring the Lord to ruin – showing how Scripture can indeed be twisted to perverse ends – foolishly failing to see that the quote would prove ultimately true. And the Israelites’ bringing their tithe to God, saying, “I have now brought you the firstfruits of the products of the soil which you, O Lord, have given me,” reveals the sacrifice that verifies that “one does not live by bread alone”; while Moses’ instruction that they then “bow down in [God’s] presence” confirms that “Him alone shall [we] serve.”
O devil, all your temptations will be in vain; can you not see the fruitlessness of your acts? You cannot harm Him who holds your life in His hands, and so why do you not turn and, as the faithful angels, learn to love and serve the Holy One? Brothers and sisters, it is too late for this “viper” to come to truth, but not for any man who will confess that Jesus is the Christ. So let us preach to the ends of the earth by the power of deliverance from sin won by our Lord that “No one who believes in Him will be put to shame.” Oh that all souls would be saved!
Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.
Music: "The Chicken or the Egg" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.
O LORD, let us bow down before you
and serve you alone,
and we shall be blessed with your protection.
YHWH, bring us out of Egypt by your strong hand; lead us from the desert by your great power. Save us from temptation and bring us with your Son into the Promised Land.
We call upon your NAME, O LORD: save us! We believe that Jesus is LORD with you and that you have raised Him from the dead – let us not be put to shame. Help us to endure in the face of the devil; your Word be ever upon our tongues. O let us trust in you that we shall be delivered from all trials, trampling down the lion and the dragon by the intercession of your angels.
You protect us, dear God, and give us all the food we need to thrive in this land of exile. With you at our side, we shall not be afraid. By the grace upon your Son let us be redeemed from the power of the evil one and enter into your kingdom with a song of praise.