Then the devil ... said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down, for it is written, 'He will command His angels concerning You,' and 'On their hands they will bear You up, lest You strike Your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" Matthew 4:5a, 6-7
Most of us don't deliberately do sinful things. We just do wrong things, which seemed right.
On the list of such individuals is Dean Suominen of Shorewood, Illinois. In January of 2012, Suominen did a little drinking; then he did a little driving. The data recorder in his car said he was going 142 miles an hour when his car hit the curb, rolled over, and clobbered a billboard. Suominen's car "disintegrated around him."
I'm not surprised.
What surprises me is that Suominen survived that accident with only minor injuries.
Now, if you asked Suominen, he probably would tell you he hadn't planned on doing all that stuff, nor had he planned on making his guardian angels work overtime. With his judgment clouded by booze, Suominen did some wrong things, which seemed right at the time.
He's not alone. When Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree, Satan succeeded in tempting them to do a wrong thing, which seemed right. When Abraham lied about his marriage status with Sara, it was a wrong thing, which had seemed right. When Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery, it was a wrong thing, which seemed right. When David ... well, you get the idea.
Most of us do wrong things, which seem right; most of us, but not all of us. You see, Jesus never fell for that kind of twisted temptation. When Satan urged Jesus to toss Himself off the pinnacle of the temple, it would have been the wrong thing to do. Still, at the time, it might have seemed right. After all, the worshippers would have seen Jesus' miracle. Word of what He had done would get around and maybe, just maybe, Jesus wouldn't have to die, as the prophets had predicted.
The devil hoped he could derail Jesus' work of saving us, by making a wrong thing seem right.
Now, the truth is just because the devil failed at tempting Jesus this way, it doesn't mean he stopped using this well-worn and most useful tool. If you take a look at your life, you will see a great many times when Satan has come and tempted you this way. Of course, you didn't want to sin, but Satan gave you reasons -- seemingly good reasons -- for you to proceed the way you did.
Today, in retrospect, we can see what happened.
Hopefully, we can learn from what happened and avoid a repetition. This is why I encourage you to listen only to the Savior, whose life was given for your forgiveness. Pay attention to the Holy Spirit, who wants us to walk the narrow path of God's will and way. If we do that, we may find ourselves avoiding the devil's suggestions to do the wrong thing, for what seems like the right reason.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, give me a strong faith and some commonsense. Help me to reject the devil when he encourages me to do the wrong thing for the right reason. At such times, may I trust You and avoid tempting the Lord my God. This I pray in Jesus' Name and after His example. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries