When the devil and his children give this promise, “I will give you what you want if you will only serve me,” remember where it comes from. That which comes from God is pure and peaceable, brings joy and reconciliation, and gladdens the heart. the promise of the devil brings shame and guilt and bondage. There are always strings attached to every promise of an evil man. You shall worship the Lord Your God, and Him alone shall you serve.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
When Jesus was born, the angels told Mary that God would give Him the kingdom of His father David. Jesus came to do the will of His Father in Heaven and He knew that this will would lead Him to the cross. Only by suffering the death of the cross would He inherit the kingdom through the resurrection from the dead.
The kingdoms of the world had been given into the hand of Satan as a just punishment for sin. When Adam fell, mankind became slaves of sin and misery and under the bondage of the devil.
If Jesus was to “plunder the kingdom of Satan”, Satan must first be bound (Matt. 12:29-30). In order for Satan’s kingdom to be plundered, Jesus must deal with sin. The only way to deal with sin was to go to the cross and suffer the pangs and torments of hell in the place of His people.
But when Jesus was in the wilderness, Satan offered Him another way. “I will concede every kingdom to you. You can usher in peace, prosperity, long life and endless joy – just fall down and worship me, and all this will be yours. No cross. No wrathful God to deal with. Just me.”
And so it always is. He offered the same thing to Adam. He offers the same thing to every believer. “Just fall down, serve me, and I will give you your heart’s desire.”
“Are you lonely? Just one night with that girl in the bar”.
“That man that you have your eyes on can make all of your dreams come true. God is not good. He won’t bless you. Reach out. Serve me. Everything will be better.”
“Perhaps if you just work a bit harder; submit a bit more; make sure dinner is on time – then you can have the home of your dreams. Your husband is angry and stressed. Make things easier on him and you can have all you want. Serve a little harder. Try a little more. Work a little longer.”
And how often do we forget that God alone is the fountain of all good.
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (Jam 1:17 KJV)
We reach out to people or to things or to ideas in order to ease the pain of a cursed world, and forget that Jesus already paid it all. He alone can salve this broken and contrite heart. He alone can take away the curse.
But the devil and his children will always offer another way. “Just serve me a bit better, a bit more; just work harder, and you can have whatever you dream of.”
But whatever you do, and whatever you say, and however hard you work, you will never attain it. It’s a lie. It’s a lie because the devil is a murderer and a liar and his children follow in his footsteps.
They can’t give you eternal life. They can’t give you peace. They can’t even give you food and drink. They can never ease the loneliness and the heartache of living in a sinful world. But they can enslave you to a life of “work harder; do better; submit more; don’t make me mad – you know how my temper is!”
If this sounds like your life, please remember what Jesus said to the tempter. “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
Wow. Astounding words! He will do good to all men. He will willingly wash feet. He will take the lowest form and die the death of a criminal. He will do good deeds of love and mercy and truth. He will become servant to all and call us to do the same thing.
But He will never, ever worship anything or anyone other than the One True God who has revealed Himself in His word.