Focus on Christ for Easter — Psalm 91

Mark 1:12-13 CSB – 12 Immediately the Spirit drove him [Jesus] into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and the angels were serving him.

Psalm 91:1-16 CSB –
1 The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say concerning the LORD, who is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust: 3 He himself will rescue you from the bird trap, from the destructive plague. 4 He will cover you with his feathers; you will take refuge under his wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield. 5 You will not fear the terror of the night, the arrow that flies by day, 6 the plague that stalks in darkness, or the pestilence that ravages at noon. 7 Though a thousand fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, the pestilence will not reach you. 8 You will only see it with your eyes and witness the punishment of the wicked. 9 Because you have made the LORD — my refuge, the Most High — your dwelling place, 10 no harm will come to you; no plague will come near your tent. 11 For he will give his angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways. 12 They will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the young lion and the serpent. 14 Because he has his heart set on me, I will deliver him; I will protect him because he knows my name. 15 When he calls out to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will rescue him and give him honor. 16 I will satisfy him with a long life and show him my salvation.

It seems so easy to say, Jesus was tempted, yet he was without sin (Hebrews 4:15) because, after all, Jesus is God . . .
But remember all that Jesus "laid aside" (Philippians 2:5-10) and what it really means that he took on the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of man. He was hungry and exhausted, after 40 days in the wilderness with no food. He wasn’t staying at a hotel or even a state park run campground; he was in the wilderness, alone, exposed to the elements. He was there because the Spirit told him to go . . .

If you read the temptation account in the gospels, especially in Matthew’s account, you see how Jesus conquered the devil’s schemes. He relied on the Word of God. He quoted God’s Word. He depended on the Father. Maybe this psalm was in his mind . . .

Jesus’ example in dealing with temptation is so helpful. I can’t deal with temptation in my own strength. Not shouldn’t; can’t; as in, unable. "In Christ" is not just a comfy-sounding phrase that makes everything feel warm and fuzzy — I must have a Redeemer. As I am powerless to save myself, to earn a place in heaven — I am powerless to fight sin in my own strength.

The hymn, "I Need Thee Every Hour," written in the late 1800s, is just as true today . . .

1 I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
no tender voice like thine can peace afford.


I need thee, O I need thee; every hour I need thee!
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.

2 I need thee every hour, stay thou near by;
temptations lose their power when thou art nigh. [Refrain]

3 I need thee every hour, in joy or pain;
come quickly, and abide, or life is vain. [Refrain]

4 I need thee every hour; teach me thy will,
and thy rich promises in me fulfill. [Refrain]

Authors: Annie S. Hawks; Robert Lowry (refrain)

Source: Hymns of Promise: a large print songbook #113

And, in needing Christ to fight temptation, there is no "magic potion." Jesus relied on God’s Word, believing God’s truth. That was his "way of escape" (1 Corinthians 10:13) and God’s Word is ours as well. Knowing God’s Word renews our mind. Believing God’s Word and relying on the power of the Holy Spirit helps us to say "no" to sin.

Psalm 119:10-11 CSB – 10 I have sought you with all my heart; don’t let me wander from your commands. 11 I have treasured your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you.

Psalm 119:101-105 CSB – 101 I have kept my feet from every evil path to follow your word. 102 I have not turned from your judgments, for you yourself have instructed me. 103 How sweet your word is to my taste — sweeter than honey in my mouth. 104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every false way. 105 Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.

Thank you, God, for not leaving us to battle sin on our own. Thank you that you never leave us nor forsake us. Thank you for giving us this example in your precious word. Thank you, Jesus, for enduring temptation for us. What a Savior!

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