Luke 4:9-12 And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
It's always great to read the account of Jesus' temptation and to watch Him come out on the other side triumphant! Praise the Lord…
Hebrews 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
2 Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations…
What we must never fail to notice in this account is the fact that Jesus Christ combated the devil's enticement with scripture. The word of God truly is our weapon (Ephesians 6:15) in the battle against an unseen enemy (Ephesians 6:12). May we hide its truths in our hearts (Psalm 119:11) and may the Holy Spirit bring those things to our remembrance (John 14:26) so we might not sin against God.
But what I'd like to bring out from this passage today is the devil's use of scripture in tempting Jesus Christ. He takes Him up to the pinnacle of the temple and quotes Psalm 91:11-12. It's obvious that he twisted the passage and took it way out of context. And Jesus retorted with the command, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord THY God." (Perhaps a suggestion that the devil go back and read Psalm 91:13!)
This tactic didn't work on the Lord Jesus Christ, but I believe it has been much more successful with the feeble, weak-hearted men and women of our modern time. You see, sin always sounds more spiritual when you have a scripture to back it up. Problem is you can't half-quote and mis-quote and take scripture out of context…and get away with it.
Here are a few examples.
There's hardly a drunk on the street that can't half-quote 1 Timothy 5:23...use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities. The problem is that they always leave out the first part of the verse, Drink no longer water and fail to recognize that this word of instruction is given to a young missionary who got sick because of the water he was drinking. So once that drunk gets saved, goes to the foreign mission field, and gets sick from the water he's drinking, THEN we'll talk about 1 Timothy 5:23.
Likewise, there's hardly a social-drinking Christian that doesn't know about the command in Ephesians 5:18 Be not DRUNK with wine, wherein is excess…See there. Everything in moderation. But you stopped short of the end of the verse…but be filled with the Spirit. Question. Would the Christian who is under the guiding and controlling influence of the Holy Spirit ever be directed by that Holy Spirit to violate the clear commandment of Proverbs 23:31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. Or Proverbs 31:4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink (cp. Revelation 1:5-6).
What about that classic statement of the all-inclusive Christian who's ashamed to speak up for the Lord and against His enemies – Judge not, lest ye be judged. Well, that's close, but Matthew 7:1 actually says Judge not, that ye be not judged. If you examine the context, you will find that Christ's discourse is a warning against HYPOCRISY, not a prohibition on casting judgment. Actually, if you were to learn other verses in the Bible, you would find that Christ COMMANDS us to judge righteous judgment (John 7:24) and that the spiritual man judges all things (1 Corinthians 2:15).
The list could go on and on. But take a minute to think about your own life. Is there any sin in your life that you are "justifying" with a misinterpretation or misapplication of a verse – or part of a verse – of the Bible? If so, recognize that you've fallen prey to one of the devil's old tricks and repent.