“After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread” – Matthew 4:1-2
The dictionary defines ‘tempt’ as meaning ‘to entice or try to entice (someone) to do something that they find attractive but know to be wrong or unwise’.
Right from the first moment we meet the devil in Genesis 3, he’s doing business with humanity – enticing and offering a substitute for God’s best.
What’s interesting here is that the devil pitches up after Jesus has fasted and waited on God for 40 days and right before Jesus gets his breakthrough.
In my experience, I’ve always found that he comes around in that time between sacrifice and breakthrough. When we’ve paid a price to set ourselves apart for God, or we’ve taken an action of obedience, but we haven’t seen God fulfill his promise yet. That’s prime devil-zone.
He comes in with lies (‘what are you doing? God’s not going to come through… you’re wasting your time’) or he comes selling something less than what God has promised, but with the bonus that you can have it right here, and right now.
The passage goes on and three times Jesus resists him, until the devil finally leaves… and ‘angels attend him’ (v11).
If we stand firm through temptation, then we will receive the promise that God has for us. And it’s not some second-rate substitute – it’s the real deal!