Sam AwedaTuesday, August 12, 2014
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(continued from 53)

he Spirit once led the Lord into the barren wastelands of Judea for a whole forty days where He had some encounters with Satan. The devil put it to the Lord to perform certain miracles. But the Lord understood that granting Satan the request, was ridiculous and would amount to abuse of His power. The Lord described Satan's request as: "Tempting God" or as the Living Bible puts it, "putting the Lord God to a foolish test" (Luke 4:1-12; Matt 4:1-11).

For instance, Satan took the Lord to the roof of the temple at Jerusalem and asked Him to jump down so that He could prove that He was the Son of God (Matt. 4:56; Lk. 4:9-11). Satan used the Scripture to lure the Lord to obey him, quoting Psalm 91:11-12, which says: "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".

The devil's reference to the Scripture appears relevant to his demand. But there is another reference in the Scripture, which says: "Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God---" (Deut 6:16). And this one, the Lord used, to back His rejection of the devil's suggestion.

God will honour the Psalm 91:11-12 promise, which the devil quoted, when appropriate, as of when life is in danger and for whatever other purposes that will glorify God alone; but not as an unprofitable exercise, amounting to a reckless use. God is not a magician.

There are many miracles recorded in the Scripture and none was for selfish interest but judiciously used to free people from one oppression of the devil or the other. Or when it would lead souls to Christ or promote the Kingdom of God. So, what we learn from this encounter of the Lord with Satan is that, asking God to change the course of natural events except for the reasons highlighted in this paragraph, amounts to 'Tempting God'. My book, "Breaking Through in Prayers", Chapter 7 titled "Do we Have Control Over Nature (Natural Events)? Can We Exercise it? And under What Circumstances? explains this in detail.

What profit would it have been to the Lord had He jumped down from the roof of the temple? Was the building crumbling, necessitating people to do anything to save themselves, or what purpose would jumping down have served? Were there not other ways whereby the Lord had proved Himself as the Son of God? And wouldn't there be other ways to do, after He commences His ministry, which was just starting?

Unfortunately today, many Pentecostal Christians, in order to gather unnecessary fame, prestige or respect for themselves want miracles to happen at any cost, wherever they are. They want to arrive at any place and want things to change for no other reason other than for self-aggrandizement, so that they can be the talk of the town. This is 'Tempting God'. They are fast turning themselves into Simon the sorcerer of Samaria (Acts 8) who, seeing that the Holy Spirit was given to believers just by the placing of hands, offered money to the apostles to buy the power so as to increase his influence on the Samaritans who hitherto had held him in high esteem by his practice of sorcery who Peter rebuked sharply.

A Nigerian newspaper sometimes ago carried the story of a certain so-called Christian, who climbed down into the fence of a lions' den located in a certain University Zoo, wanting to put one of the lions under rope, so as to be seen to perform Daniel's feat. In a matter of minutes, the lions descended on him and tore him into mincemeat. He had put God to a stupid test.

Daniel made no attempt to move near the lions' den. He was cast there in affliction of his faith in the Living God and so God made an angel to shut the mouths of the lions that they couldn't hurt him.

There are many ways in which this fellow could allow God to demonstrate His power. He knew where the sick folks were. What prevented him from going into the hospitals to pray for their healing?