Whose Side Will You Choose?

Can you imagine the brazen arrogance of the devil when he tried to convince Jesus to join his side against God?

Matthew records the devil’s third effort in this matter.

Matthew 4.8 – Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory,

And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written,

‘Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.’”

Jesus knew better than to accept the devil’s offer, but what about us?

The gross domestic product of the USA is nearly 21 trillion dollars. That’s a fraction of what is contained in the “kingdoms of the world.”

The devil’s bargain is, “If you go ‘all in’ with me, I’ll give you the power and the glory of the nations.”

Jesus’ response was, “No Satan. I choose to worship and serve God.”

Unfortunately, humans have a history of siding with the devil while seeking wealth, power, and glory.

On the Side of the Devil

Over the centuries, the ruling class appears to be the first in line to accept the devil’s offer.

The second Psalm pictures powerful people, who have taken their stand against God.

Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?

The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and his anointed, saying,

“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast their cords from us.”
(Psalm 2.1-3)

People who accept the devil’s offer and side with him have two serious issues.

(1) They don’t think the First Commandment applies to them. “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20.3).

Jesus taught that it is impossible to serve Jesus and play by the devil’s rules at the same time.

“No one can serve two masters, for a slave will either hate the one and love the other or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6.24).

(2) They don’t trust God’s ability or willingness to benefit them.

The author of Hebrews observes the need for faith.

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would approach God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11.6).

The question, “Do you think God can throw a good party,” reveals the level of our trust, or lack of it.

When we don’t trust God, we align our attitudes and actions with God’s enemy. Like the rulers in the Psalm, we see God’s rule as stifling our freedom.

The Psalm declares that actions like these are in vain because the devil’s promises are empty.

Jesus said the devil is “a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him.

“When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8.44).

The devil promises to deliver the world to those who serve him, but his true intent is to kill, steal, and destroy human life (John 10.10).

Choose God’s Side

The devil claims to control world history. God has something to say about the devil’s claim and those who side with him.

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord has them in derision.

Then he will speak to them in his wrath
and terrify them in his fury, saying,

“I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have begotten you.

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage
and the ends of the earth your possession.”
(Psalm 2.4-8)

Earthly kings and rulers are a terrible threat to humanity. They are able to establish policies that snuff out the dreams and hopes of entire societies. What is happening in Ukraine is but one of many examples of this sad fact.

God confronts the devil and the world’s powerful with laughter. The true King of all kings is his Son.

Instead of through might and manipulation, the Son of God conquers the world through self-giving love.

Peter knew this truth and applied the message of Psalm 2 to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus to confront the religious authorities (Acts 4.25-29).

Self-giving love, not self-serving acquisitiveness, is the greatest power.

Self-surrender is the greatest freedom. Jesus lived the greatest life of any person ever to walk the face of the earth.

He invites us to live like him in self-giving love and self-surrender.

Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Humans get weary when they adopt the methods of the devil and the world’s system.

Rather than scheming to be free of God’s yoke, we surrender to him and experience his rest and well-being.

Instead of joining forces with the enemy of our soul, we meet with Jesus in prayer, Bible study, and obedience. We learn from him and experience the life we’ve always wanted.

No Video Today

Rudy Ross and I usually produce a YouTube video that matches the Bible passage for the day’s study.

I am on vacation and don’t have access to good WiFi. I am able to upload blog articles, but videos need better connectivity than I have.

Rudy and I will be producing videos when I return home.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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