Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to the testing of the newly appointed King (4:1-11). After His anointing, the Lord was tested. In God’s administration the sequence is always selection, anointing, and testing. There is an illustration of this in married life. Prior to getting married, you certainly made a selection. Among the many you could have married, you selected a certain one. After the selection came the appointment, and after the appointment came the test. Nearly every married couple has failed the marriage test. Although we were successful in the appointment, we were not successful in the test.
After the heavenly King was anointed and appointed. He was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tested. He did not go to the wilderness on His own; He was led there by the very Holy Spirit who had descended upon Him. In married life God will also lead us into the test. A number of young brothers and sisters have complained to God, saying, “Lord, before I was married, I prayed a great deal. Eventually You told me that it was Your will that I marry this one, that this was the one whom You had prepared for me. Lord, You know I was not interested at first, but in Your sovereignty You arranged for us to come together. But look at the situation today. Look at the one You have given me. Is this Your mistake or mine?” Neither the Lord nor you made a mistake. This is the Lord’s test.
I believe that all marriages are sovereign, even those that seem to be the most mistaken. Nothing happens to God’s children without His sovereign permission. We know that all things work together for our good (Rom. 8:28), including even a seemingly mistaken marriage. Who knows what is the right marriage? I have many years’ experience in married life. Forty-five years ago, I could tell others definitely, clearly, and emphatically what was the right marriage. But if you ask this question today, I would say, “I cannot know this until we enter eternity. After so many years’ experience in married life, I truly don’t know what is the right marriage.” But I have learned that every marriage under God’s sovereignty is right. Therefore, you all have the right marriage. Brothers, your wife is the right one for you. Sisters, your husband is the right one for you. Whether you believe this or not, you cannot escape from your situation. After the young people and the middle-aged ones have been married for a number of years, they may conclude that they have made a mistake and that if they could do it again they would do it differently. I can assure you that even if you could do it over many times, you would still come to feel that you had made a mistake. Almost all those who are about to be married think they have made the right choice, but after some years there may be times that they feel that they were mistaken. The reason for this is that God puts us to the test in married life.
The Lord tests us not only in married life, but also in the church life. When we first came into the church life, we experienced a church life honeymoon. We were enjoying the glorious church life, and everything was wonderful. However, sooner or later we shall be put to the test. Every brother who is put into the eldership is tested, and the test usually comes from the other elders. Perhaps at the beginning in your locality you were the only elder. You were looking for some others to help you, and later two were added. After several months, all three of you were tested by one another. The Lord allows this. In God’s economy, after we have been appointed to something, we shall always be tested. If the Lord Jesus needed a test, then how about us?
For many years I was not able to thoroughly understand this portion of the Word. Although I heard a number of messages on this portion, none of them truly touched the heart of it. For a thorough understanding we need to see that in God’s economy we shall always be tested after we have been anointed and appointed to something. Not even the Lord Jesus was an exception. As we shall see, in principle all the tests are the same.
Verse 1 says, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil.” After being baptized in water and anointed with the Spirit of God, Jesus, as a man, moved according to the leading of the Spirit. This indicates that His kingly ministry in His humanity was according to the Spirit.
First of all, the Spirit led the anointed King to be tempted by the Devil. This temptation was a test to prove that He was qualified to be the King for the kingdom of the heavens. The Greek word translated Devil is diabolos, meaning accuser, slanderer (Rev. 12:9-10). The Devil, who is Satan, accuses us before God and slanders us before man.
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