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The Bible by the Numbers > Day 23

Trial (Matthew 4:1-11)

When it comes to the association of the number forty with trials or testings, there is probably no better example in all of Scripture than the forty days and nights that our Lord was tempted in the wilderness by the devil. 


The significance of this tempting of Christ by Satan cannot be overstated. If Christ had been tripped by the tempter in the lest little way, committing the teeniest-tiniest sin, He would have died on the cross for His own sin and not for the sin of the world (1 John 2:2). Thus, this event in the life of our Lord could not have been of more eternal consequence. The salvation of the world hung upon the outcome of this contest between Heaven and Hell.


Another significant truth to learn from this trial in our Lord’s life is how it enabled our Lord to serve as our great High Priest. If Christ had not been tempted in every way as we are He would never have been able to sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). However, since He was, He is able to empathize with our infirmities, the only difference being that He, unlike us, never fell to temptation and sinned. 


Have you ever thought that no one knows or understands what you’re going through? Well, someone does; Jesus! He has been through everything you are going through and so much more. Yet, He did it “without sin,” so that He could be the propitiation for your sin, as well as your interceding High Priest at the Father’s right hand (Hebrews 7:24-25).


One final point deserves to be made before closing today’s devotion. Did you notice how Christ triumphed over the tempter? He defeated the devil with the Word of God—“It is written.” According to Paul’s description of the Christian’s armor in Ephesians 6:13-17, we only have one offensive weapon, which is “the sword of the Spirit” or “the word of God.” 


If you’re not a serious student of Scripture your unarmed for engagement in spiritual warfare. Your adversary, who “walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8), can make spiritual mincemeat out of you. You have nothing with which to ward off his temptations. 


Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to the devil’s attack. Arm yourself daily with the ardent study of God’s Word. Then, and only then, will you be able to ward off the devil’s wily temptations with “It is written.”

Don Walton