Recently as I was reading Psalm 2, I noticed something I found quite interesting. In this Psalm David prophetically speaks about the Messiah, Jesus:
“I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession“ (Ps. 2:7-8).
God the Father promises Jesus the nations, even to the ends of the earth, as His possession. This idea is echoed throughout Scripture, and culminates in Revelation 19:11-16 where Jesus is depicted as a victorious warrior riding a white horse, with the title “King of kings and Lord of lords” written on His robe.
For some reason after reading these verses in Psalm 2 my mind immediately jumped to the three temptations of Jesus in the wilderness. The third and final of these temptations finds Satan taking Jesus to a very high mountain, and showing Him “all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.” He tells Jesus ‘just bow to me, and all this will be yours.’
Now, Jesus knows the Scriptures. He’s been quoting them to Satan in response to the first two temptations. So we’d expect Jesus to quote them again this time (which He does), but He doesn’t quote the one we might expect Him to. Jesus could’ve easily said “As it is written, all the nations are already promised to me” and He would have been completely right. But, as we see, He didn’t. He said “it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only'” (Matt. 4:10).
Why does He do this? Why doesn’t He just tell Satan “those will one day be mine already”? I think the reason is that Jesus is modelling something important here; whatever promises we’ve received from God, whatever gifts, whatever assurances, whatever inheritance, the main thing is: worshiping God and serving Him only.
As humans we have a propensity to worship and serve things that are not God, such as money and power, and even His gifts and promises. And God knows that anything we worship that is not Him is to our detriment. So Jesus lives and models what will bring God most glory, and us most joy; worshiping God and serving Him alone.
May we not focus so much on what we’ve been both given and promised that we forget to keep God first, and serve Him only!
*images taken from The Brick Testament.