Matthew 4:1-11 — Do You Treat God Like A Star Trek Food Replicator? Make A Demand & Voila!

Posted: September 9, 2015 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 4:1-11 — One of my favorite shows of all time was Star Trek: The Next Generation that had its first run shows back in the late 80’s and early 90’s (and is still shown in syndication on stations around the world to this day). It was a continuation of the franchise started in the mid-60’s, Star Trek (The Original Series). In both of those shows, they had what they called food replicators. You spoke to the computer controlling the food replicator telling it what you wanted to eat. The food replicator would then “bam” make that exact food or drink appear as if by magic. I always thought that was so cool. Instead of being dependent on what food was available to you. You simply asked the machine and it gave you exactly what you wanted to eat or drink. The Star Trek food replicators come to mind when I think of what Satan first says to Jesus in our passage we are studying today.

“If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread!” That was the devil’s temptation to Jesus while Jesus, in his human flesh, had been fasting for 40 days. Aren’t we like that sometimes with God? If you are God, then do this for me! If you are God, make this happen or that happen! Often, we treat God like a vending machine. Push a button and voila! Our demands are immediately answered. Sometimes, we get the order of things backwards.

God is not our magician in the sky ready to perform upon request. When we pray we often demand that God does what we desire. Then, we get disappointed when He does answer our prayers the way that we want Him to. Haven’t we got this backwards. God is the creator of all things. He is the Almighty God. Yet, we treat Him like He is our puppet on a string. We treat Him like He is a Star Trek food replicator. Make a request and bam it is answered. You and I often want God to prove to us that He is God by fulfilling a request on demand like a genie or a Star Trek food replicator. We have the order of things backwards. Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3 when He says man should live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. We should seek God’s voice not demand things from Him. He is God and we are His children. How often do you see children demand things from their parents and you think, man, what a brat! How often do we see kids that grow into brats because their parents act like vending machines for their kids. How often do you think that such relationships are messed up. Why won’t those parents act like parents and put their foot down and demand respect from their child. But, yet, we often say God if you do this for me, I will know that you are God and then I will do this. Or we just out right demand that God give us this or that. We have the parental relationship backwards. We are His children. He is our Parent. We act as if it the other way around.

Should we not be seeking God’s will for our lives when we pray? We should be seeking to please God and not seeking Him to please us. We are to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. We are to live by His Word. We are to be dependent on His Word and His Will for our lives. We should be seeking what God wants for our lives not the other way around. He is our King and we are His subjects. We get angry at God when things don’t happen the way we want them to. We get angry when we don’t get the girl of our dreams. We get angry at God when we lose our job or don’t get the job we want. We get angry at God when we don’t get that bonanza of money that we need. There was a big hit back in 1990 for Garth Brooks called “Unanswered Prayers”. In that song, he says that sometimes God’s greatest gifts to us is unanswered prayers. Garth tells us that basically he was thankful that God did not grant him his desire to be with the girl that he had a crush on in high school because it let him be free to meet what proved to be the greatest blessing of his life, the woman that he ended up marrying. Let us seek God’s will and not demand our own.

What if God really did grant us our every selfish desire? Think of the mess that Jim Carrey made as Bruce Nolan in the movie Bruce Almighty. God, played by Morgan Freeman, grants Bruce the power to be God (but just over the city of Buffalo). Bruce gets tired of the constant prayers and have to figure out how to answer each one individually so one night he just says a blanket yes to every prayer in the “prayer queue”. What a mess that became. It was hilarious at first but the whole thing starts to degenerate into a big fat mess when everyone’s vending machine prayers are answered. Garth had it right. Sometimes, God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.

Let us begin to live by the words that come from the mouth of God. Let us have the order of things in proper perspective. Let us seek God’s will and not our own. Let us pray to God like well-behaved children and seek to do our Father’s will and not demand our own. Let us trust that God will guide us to the place of blessing and the type of blessing that He knows is best for us. Let us trust that God has our best interest at heart at all times. Let us ask Him to reveal what His plans are for us when He is ready to do so. Let us seek after that – God’s will. Let us put Him on the throne of deciding what is right for us and not ourselves. Let us put God first and us somewhere after that. Let us treat God like He is the Almighty one and we are His children. Let us treat God with the due respect and honor and awe and reverent fear that the Eternal One who created us deserves. Let us be attentive to His will. When we get the order of things right, it is amazing how we begin to hear from Him more clearly. Jesus in his role as the Son was so in tune with the Father, He knew the Father’s will and was undeterred by Satan’s temptations. He knew the Father’s will and carried it out.

Father, help us to clear Satan’s temptations to seek self-indulgent prayers and treat you like you are our personal vending machine or food replicator. Help us to live like babies who need your milk and seek to live by every word that comes from your mouth. Amen.

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