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The Bible In A Year: Day 75

Deuteronomy 1
Psalm 73
Luke 4:1-13

Deuteronomy 1

Today we begin Deuteronomy, it’s the last of the five Books of Moses, also known as the Pentateuch. This book recalls several events of the exodus and also lists in a single place the codified law of Moses. It’s very often referenced by the gospel writers when referring back to the Mosaic Law, rather than Leviticus or Numbers.

Moses recounts the events from Sinai to the borders of Israel. He is basically reminding them of why they’re still in the wilderness some 40 years later, when they could’ve been settled in the land all that time ago. After he appoints the judges over the people they set out for Canaan and instead of taking the land they asked to send spies, and then they believe the bad report and refuse to take the land by conquest because of fear.

Just as they needed constant reminders to follow God, they now need many reminders of what has transpired and why. Every bad thing that has happened since they left Egypt has been due to disobedience.

Luke 4:1-13

Immediately after his baptism, Jesus goes off for a 40 day fast and battle with the devil. Just like baptism, he did not have submit himself to the temptations of the devil, but he did so to show us the way. He submits his human nature and human will to the temptations of satan to show that by the help of God it is possible to overcome them and not give in.

He also goes into the desert to be tempted because his whole life is a recapitulation of the failings of Adam. Where adam failed the temptations of the devil, Jesus will overcome them.

Christ goes into the wilderness to rescue man from his exile in sin. Since Adam’s expulsion from Eden, man has languished in the desert of spiritual death, cut off from paradise. Christ pursues man in the desert to wrest him from the grip of the devil.

Saint Ambrose

The devil begins his assault on Jesus with a temptation of food, after he hadn’t eaten in 40 days. This is typical of how he operates, always looking for the angle of attack most likely to succeed. Offering a man bread after not eating for so long would probably work 9 times out of 10, but not this time. Satan also seems to be probing Jesus to find out if he is who he has a suspicion that he is. Some theologians have said that when he says “if you really are the son of God…” it’s as much an attempt to tempt Christ as it is an attempt to get him to show his cards. The devil is not omniscient, and isn’t privy to God’s plans unless he for some reason decides to share with him.

The temptation story ends with the ominous foreshadowing of “he departed from him until an opportune time.” The devil certainly was behind at least some of the attacks against Jesus during his ministry, even if in an indirect way, but his ultimate attack would come when Jesus prays in the garden of gethsemane, because we are told by Luke that satan orchestrated the whole attack when he entered Judas (Luke 22:3). But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.

Tomorrow’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 2-3
Psalm 74
Luke 4:14-44

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