Matthew 4:9 (ESV)
And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
An enemy has invaded many parts of North America. Its name? The Asiatic Bittersweet. And true to its name, it is far from being sweet. Rather, it is quite bitter! Just ask the hundreds of park rangers who spend literally thousands of hours every year trying to eradicate it!
Why do they worry about it, you ask? After all, the plant is beautiful!
The problem is that this exotic vine is quite invasive, so invasive that it strangles the life from any native vegetation in its path, trees included, and spreads so fast that even the speed of light cannot match its speed!
Or so it seems . . .
Pulling or cutting this vine is quite ineffective, as its remaining roots will multiply thousand fold. This vine truly believes it is the king of nature and that no one will ever be able to stop it.
Similarly, the evil one has a similar ambition. His, though, includes not only the subjection of the world, but of the entire universe as well! And he, too, firmly believes that no one can stop him. It is quite fascinating how his ambition came to be. The prophet Isaiah gave us a glimpse of his original rebellion: "You said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven, I will rise my throne above the stars of God."(Isaiah 14: 13a)
Alluding to the king of Babylon, Isaiah was referring here to the one we now call the evil one. Originally though, his name was Lucifer, or "Morningstar, son of dawn" (Verse 12b). You see, Lucifer originally occupied a high position in heaven. However this was not enough for him. He wanted more. He desired to not only "be" God, but to be far above the Eternal One Himself! Wasn't he, after all, "the Morningstar"?
What? You never thought about this before? Check out the following Bible verses:
"I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the mount of assembly; on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." (Isaiah 14: 13b, 14)
Pride is clearly what motivates him, total control is his goal, as he clearly declared it while tempting Jesus in the desert: "'All this I will give you', he said 'if you will bow down and worship me.'" (Matthew 4:9)
Lucifer truly wants to be revered as God himself, or, as the Asiatic Bittersweet would say: "I want to be the rooster of the farm"! Or is it "I want to be the alpha of the pack"? (This is what happens when one wants to be in control. Even popular sayings get changed!)
The evil one will do anything in his power, even subtle maneuvering, to receive such worship. After all, anyone who destroys his life through drugs, sex, pride, avarice . . . isn't he indirectly or directly, (depending on your way of looking at things), worshiping the one who used to be called Lucifer? Isn't such a person putting more credence to the one who is tempting him than in the Almighty One Himself? Only too late do we realize that it is not to our advantage to fall into these temptations. In fact, the only purpose it serves is to help Satan obtain the worship he craves. How unlike the One we call our Savior, Jesus the Christ who has "Come that they have life, and have it to the full.
We either promote God's Kingdom, or we promote the kingdom of the evil one. There are no other alternatives.
Dear Lord, help our focus be on furthering Your kingdom and not that of the evil one. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.