Weather Alert:

Church programs for Monday, Jan. 22 will resume their normal schedule at all locations this evening.

Programming Note:

Leawood’s Sunday night in-person worship has been moved to 4 pm for Sunday, February 11. 

Close this search box.

A promise Jesus refused to presumptuously test

December 2, 2023

Daily Scripture

Psalm 34:6-8, 91:11-13, Luke 4:9-12

Psalm 34

6 This suffering person cried out:
the LORD listened and saved him from every trouble.
7 On every side, the LORD’s messenger protects those who honor God; and he delivers them.
8 Taste and see how good the LORD is!
The one who takes refuge in him is truly happy!

Psalm 91
11 Because he will order his messengers to help you,
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will carry you with their own hands
so you don’t bruise your foot on a stone.
13 You’ll march on top of lions and vipers;
you’ll trample young lions and serpents underfoot.

Luke 4
9 The devil brought him into Jerusalem and stood him at the highest point of the temple. He said to him, “Since you are God’s Son, throw yourself down from here; 10 for it’s written: He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you 11 and they will take you up in their hands so that you won’t hit your foot on a stone [Psalm 91:11-12].”
12 Jesus answered, “It’s been said, Don’t test the LORD your God” [Deuteronomy 6:16].

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The Psalms poetically expressed trust that God’s “messengers” (that Hebrew expression that often fit what we mean by the word “angels”) protected God’s people. The Hebrew poets used terms that meant earthly, physical dangers. Ironically, when Jesus faced temptation, both Matthew (cf. Matthew 4:5-7) and Luke (see above) said the devil tempted Jesus by quoting Psalm 91:11-12. “Jesus perhaps perceives that Satan misuses them in attempting to make them the basis for Jesus’ jumping off the temple to prove that God would look after him (and Christians can fall into the trap of taking a risk for God’s sake that God hasn’t called us to, and then expecting God to take care of us).” * But Jesus went on to die on a Roman cross. Did that mean God’s promises failed? Or could it be that the cross showed us that God’s power is not so much of physical force as of self-giving love, and functions in an eternal time scale rather than one limited to earthly time?

  • In the previous sermon series, we studied the apostle Paul’s tireless life of missionary travel and preaching. He wrote his letter to the Philippians from prison, unsure what outcome his legal troubles would have. He wrote, “You won’t be afraid of anything your enemies do…. God has generously granted you the privilege, not only of believing in Christ but also of suffering for Christ’s sake” (Philippians 1:28-29). He did not doubt the Psalms’ promises, but he trusted that God’s saving power reaches beyond earthly time and events. That’s why Christian philosopher Dallas Willard wrote, “With this magnificent God positioned among us, Jesus brings the assurance that our universe is a perfectly safe place for us to be.” ** How can you let the Holy Spirit embed that trust deeply in your heart and mind as you face all of life’s events, negative or positive?

Lord Jesus, I choose a life of inner quiet and trust, no matter what storms may rage around me. Hold me safely in your arms to, and beyond, the end of my earthly life’s journey. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Cheryl Bell

Cheryl Bell

Cheryl Bell serves as Resurrection's Pastor of Community Justice. She was born and raised in Detroit, completed college in Atlanta, Georgia and seminary in Enid, Oklahoma. She settled in Kansas in 1985 to work for Boeing, and answered the call to fulltime ministry in 1990. Cheryl is a second career (Electrical Engineer) clergy, and served in a variety of ministry settings before coming to Resurrection. Praise and worship are her lifeline! "The JOY of the Lord is my strength" (Nehemiah 8:10).

Do you ever think that “my guardian angel is really working out today” after you have escaped a possible accident? Or you think about a situation you have been through and say “only by the grace of God” did I make it through? Or you realize that you accomplished your goal but can’t quite figure out how that happened?

I would venture, many of us have been through situations where we know we didn’t accomplish things on our own. Or as we are going through a situation that we thought that we couldn’t get through alone, but somehow we do?

This is going through life guarded and protected by a combination of ourself and our God. The psalmist shares with us in Psalm 34 and 91 that God promises to protect us, that messengers have been assigned to help us! Thank you, Lord!

But are we to live our lives testing those promises? Are we to intentionally get into situations to test and see what God will do? Jesus’ encounter with the devil tells us what Jesus did when confronted with testing God’s Promises. Don’t do it!

But we are called to trust in our God in all circumstances, the good and the bad. God is Present when we need God! God is Present when we need protection! And comfort! And peace! And assurance! And love! And forgiveness! And love! And grace! And mercy! Forgiveness of our sins! Grace for our short comings and our long goings! Mercy and Comfort when needed! We may not always recognize it, but it is there.

This life we live was not promised to be a rose garden, but we do have the assurance of God (and God’s messengers) to be with us on this life’s journey!

Let’s look to the One who set the example! Who is the One who is a good example of how we should be living our lives? Jesus!

God has provided us with all that we need to live this unpredictable life on earth. We have the Holy Spirit abiding with us. We have Jesus, our Living Savior, who set an example for us and has provided the way for us to be part of God’s Family, in spite of our imperfect ways.

I do pray and hope that you and I continue to remember and be reminded that we are not walking this journey alone. God is with us, Emmanuel! Thank you, Lord, for Your Presence and Assurance of being with us! And although we may forget and get tested sometimes, help us to stand on the Promises of our God. This hymn came to my mind! Let it be so! Amen and Amen!

  1. Standing on the promises of Christ, my King,
    Through eternal ages let his praises ring;
    Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
    Standing on the promises of God.

Standing, standing, Standing on the promises of God, my Savior;
Standing, standing, I’m standing on the promises of God.

  1. Standing on the promises that cannot fail.
    When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
    By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
    Standing on the promises of God. [Refrain]
  1. Standing on the promises of Christ, the Lord,
    Bound to him eternally by love’s strong cord,
    Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,
    Standing on the promises of God. [Refrain]
  1. Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
    List’ning ev’ry moment to the Spirit’s call,
    Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
    Standing on the promises of God. [Refrain]

There are many recordings of this hymn. Click on the names to hear Alan Jackson or the Tabernacle Choir.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* John Goldingay, Psalms for Everyone, Part 2: Psalms 73–150. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014, p.70.
** Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy: Discovering our Hidden Life in God. HarperSanFrancisco, 1997, p. 66.