September 24, 2021

Risky Business

Matthew 4:1-7

[The Lord’s angels] will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

—  Psalm 91:12

Some people are risk-takers. They climb mountains. They fight fires. They have children. They follow Jesus. People may take a risk for the adrenaline rush. Or because something compels them: a principle, a duty, a commitment.

In today’s Scripture, the devil pushes Jesus to take a risk. While Jesus stands at the highest point of the temple, the devil whispers in his ear, “Go ahead. Jump off!” Then the devil recites a verse from Psalm 91. That psalm is all about God protecting the people who trust in him. So it’s a test for Jesus: “Do you trust God to protect you? Then prove it!”

Well, of course Jesus trusts God. But there is more to it than that. You see, it’s never right to say, “I’m going to do something foolish just to test God’s protection.” So Jesus tells the devil to take a leap—well, not exactly. He responds to the devil’s craftiness by quoting another text: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

Jesus is already in the middle of a bigger risk. He is facing off against the devil. And that is dangerous. Human beings have a lousy track record in those confrontations. But the Spirit has sent him into battle. So Jesus takes the risk and confronts the devil head-on. He does it with confidence, because he trusts God to protect him. With Psalm 91 to encourage him, Jesus doesn’t fall or fail.

Jesus, help me to trust you enough to take the risk of following you. Even when that looks foolish, it’s still the wisest thing to do. Amen.

About the author — Bob Arbogast

Bob Arbogast is the pastor of Celebration Fellowship church in Ionia, Michigan. In his spare time, he plays guitar in a West Michigan blues band. He and his wife Jan have been married forty years and have three adult daughters. Bob has been praying the psalms since 2002.

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