I’m preaching on Spiritual Warfare right now and using Russell Moore’s Tempted and Tried as a regular source of illustrations and insight. In the chapter, “Free Falling” about Jesus’ temptation to throw himself off of the temple, Moore writes that Jesus was tempted to prove who he was to Satan and to demand proof from God that he was the Son of God. Satan tempted Jesus to demand a sign, and we are often tempted the same way. Moore comments, “The addiction to signs is not easily overcome.”
Our addiction to signs is a stronghold for false teachers. We long for God to “prove” his love or “show” his faithfulness. False teachers promise health, wealth, and wisdom. Books promise seven steps to a new you or a new faith. Much of this false teaching finds a hearing because we want more, we want tangible signs. Just as the Israelites in the desert could not be satisfied with the knowledge that God was with them, they wanted to see God’s miracle, they wanted to see, touch, and taste water NOW, we want more than God’s promises, we want fulfillment.
At our core, we want signs because we do not believe His word. Jesus was different. He was the true Israel because he took God at his word. When God said, “behold, my son,” Jesus believed God. God’s word was enough. God’s word is enough today. It is enough to save and sustain. God’s word is enough to give us hope and life. Is God’s word enough to give you satisfaction? The answer is yes, it is enough, the question is whether or not you can be satisfied in what God has to offer.
Israel demanded a sign. The religious leaders of Jesus’ time demanded a sign. Satan demanded a sign. God gave only the sign of the prophet, Jonah. The addiction to signs is not easily overcome, but it can be overcome when we find satisfaction in God’s word and when we begin to believe it fully.