Sunday, September 16th, 2012
Power (Part 3: Evil Men)
The Adversary took Him up, showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world, and said to Him, 'I will give you all this power and glory. It has been handed over to me, and I can give it to whomever I choose.'
Luke 4:5-6 (Complete Jewish Bible)
Jesus' disciples did not witness His trials in the desert (see Luke 4:1-14). The Bible says, 'He was tempted for forty days by the devil' (Luke 4:2). But He did reveal His final three test questions--to teach us how to pass our own.
Today's devotion focuses on Test Question #2. The wrong answer offered an earthly reward of power and glory: ' 'If You will worship before me, all will be Yours.' And Jesus answered and said to him, 'Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve' ' ' (Luke 4:7-8).
Many men have accepted the offer that Jesus refused. Including the Pharaoh of Egypt. Of him God said: 'But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My Name may be declared in all the earth' (Exodus 9:16). The miracles God wrought through Moses in Egypt will never be forgotten. Pharaoh's stubbornness set the stage.
Including the Governor of Judea. Of him Jesus says: 'You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above' (John 19:11). The miracles God wrought through Jesus on the cross changed the world forever. Pilate's people-pleasing decision set the stage.
God makes it clear that Satan has the authority to promote power players. His temptations include payment and position. But in the midst of political intrigue and injustice, remember the God of perfect justice allows evil men their moment of fame.
The bad they do will be turned to good for God's people. As Joseph said to his brothers after 13 years of slavery and prison: 'You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives' (Genesis 50:20).
The power evil men possess seems frightening. But their end is worse than fear. It's torment. We are instructed to pray for them--and not to criticize them (see 1 Timothy 2:1-4). God allows their power for a purpose.
The outcome of God's people will be good--regardless of evil men. Because evil men will soon be gone. 'I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a native green tree. Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more' (Psalm 37:35-36).
More important for us is to ace our own final exams. So study the Book and follow the Teacher. That's how to pass the tests of power.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Power series.