Bible Lessons for the Little Ones. — 7.

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
I WANT you, dear children, now that you have read these verses in your Testaments, to think for a few moments of something which God has told us at the beginning of His book. It is a very old and very sad story. You all know that in the beautiful place where God put the man and woman whom He had made, there were many trees. We cannot tell what sort of trees they were, but we know they bore fruit, for God said that Adam was to eat of them. “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
How plainly God spoke to Adam about what he was to do, and about what he might not do.
I am sure you could all tell me how this story of the man and woman whom God put into His garden ended; but perhaps you have never thought that another story—one of disobedience, and sin, and death—began there the moment God's creatures trusted the devil instead of trusting God, and that that dark story is still being told everyday in this world. The serpent was one of the creatures in God's beautiful garden. In the last book of the Bible, the devil, Satan, the great enemy of God and of all that God loves, is spoken of as that old serpent. Satan, as the serpent, tempted Eve by suggesting evil things to her about God.
The serpent spoke to Eve as to what God had said about the tree of which she was not to eat, and tried to make her think that God was not really good to the creatures He had made, because He had said that they might not eat of that one tree. Eve opened her heart and let into it that lie about God, and then she was ready to listen to another lie of the serpent. God had said about that tree, "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," and now the tempter said, "Ye shall not surely die." Whose word did Eve trust, the word of God, or the word of Satan? We know that she believed him who is a liar from the beginning, and afterward, when the Lord God said to her, "What is this that thou hast done?" she could only say, "The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”
Dear children, it is because we have all, as soon as we could understand enough to make any choice, chosen to believe Satan rather than God; it is because we are all children of Adam and Eve, not before they had disobeyed God and done their own will, but after God had driven them out of His garden for their sin, that we needed the Lord Jesus Christ to die for us, and to be our Saviour.
But He could not have been our Saviour, if He had not been altogether different from any one of us. Was God pleased with the man and woman He had made when He drove them out of His garden long ago? Is God pleased with a little child when He sees him now doing his own will and disobeying his father and mother? But with the holy Child Jesus, God was always well pleased. God could look down from heaven and see Him never doing anything just because He wished to do it, but because it was the will of His Father, and so God spoke from heaven, and said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
It was after this voice had been spoken from heaven that Jesus was “led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil," as you read in the first verse of your chapter. The devil had tempted Eve, and she had listened to him. The devil tempts you and me, and we know how often we listen to him—how often we do just what he tells us to do, because our hearts consent to it, and love to do the evil. Satan tried to get the blessed Lord Jesus to listen to him, but he could not.
We do not know exactly where the place spoken of as the wilderness was, but there are many wild places near the River Jordan, and perhaps it was one of these. At least we know that when the tempter came to the Lord Jesus he did not find Him in a fair garden full of pleasant fruits, but in a lonely and terrible place, where wild, hungry beasts roamed about, and where there was nothing beautiful or comforting.
The Lord Jesus was in that barren, desolate land for forty days and forty nights—more than a month; no friend or dear disciple was there, and we are told in the Gospel of Luke that all that time He was tempted by the devil. Now read the second verse over again. Do you understand it? The Lord Jesus had had nothing to eat all those days and nights, and He was hungry.
Eve was not hungry when the serpent tempted her; the beautiful trees of the garden were all around her, and she could take their fruit freely. It was not so with Jesus when the tempter came to Him and said, "If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”
The voice from heaven had said to Jesus, "Thou art My beloved Son," and now Satan dared to say, "If thou be the Son of God," just as he had said to Eve, "Hath God said?”
Could not the Lord Jesus have shown Satan that He was the Son of God by speaking one word, and turning, the flints of the desert into loaves of bread'? The Lord could indeed have done this, but He would not. Jesus answered the devil, and said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." He proved that He was indeed God's beloved Son by doing nothing for Himself, but by depending on God, His Father, and leaving His life in His hands.
Will you try to remember that the way for you to answer Satan is the very same way as this, of which the Lord Jesus has given us an example? A simple little, believing child may drive that terrible enemy away by using the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, against him.
SEE that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves and to all men.