Both the first and second Adams were tested by God for the following purposes:
The first Adam was tempted by Satan thru his wife, and he failed the test by eating the forbidden fruit (see Genesis 3 for the story) [Please note this: Even though it was Eve that Satan spoke to, Adam was right there (see verse 6), and heard every word the serpent spoke, and did not intervene to prevent his wife from falling to the temptation. So we are going to treat this as Adam's temptation, not just Eve's].
Later on, Satan came after the second Adam – Jesus – with the same food-based temptation at first, by telling Him to turn stones into bread and eat (See Matthew 4:1-11 for the story). When that failed, Satan realized that it wasn’t going to be as easy as the first time around, so he then tried two more different temptations, which failed as well.
In each temptation, Satan said to Jesus: “If You are the Son of God…”
And in each case the Lord’s reply simply meant to say ‘I don’t need to do any of the things you’re asking me to do to know whether or not I am God’s Son. God has just declared to me a few days ago when I got baptized that I am His Son! If I was His Son in the water, then I am His Son in this wilderness!’
In Adam’s case, had he known that he had already been made in God’s image, he wouldn’t have fallen for Satan telling him that eating the forbidden fruit ‘would make him like God’ (see Gen. 3:5). He should have rebuked the devil, like Jesus would later do, by reminding him that he and God are practically the same! That they were friends!
Therefore, brethren, know who you are in God! No matter how bleak the situation you find yourself in, no matter what the enemy tries to tell you to get you to doubt that you are still God’s child and that He cares for you more than anything, remember those times when it was clear to you that God is with you, and know one thing: that God who was with me then, IS WITH ME NOW! I was His child then, and I am His child now! Though the circumstances surrounding me may not look like the God of miracle, of prosperity, of success is with me, I know that He is!!! In due time, when I’ve passed this test that He Himself is putting me thru, He will show His face to me again, and His angels will come and minister to me again, as they did to Jesus at the end of his trial! (See matt. 4:11)
And when tempted with sin, as Adam was, remember who you are: a child of the Holy One of Israel! Unlike Adam, who failed to remember his friendship with God, remember your friendship with God, and rebuke the tempter!
Satan told Adam (thru Eve) that eating the fruit would ‘make him wise’ like God. Meaning that it would make him as powerful as God! Proverbs 3:19 says “By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place…” (NIV) So you see Adam and Eve had already understood that God created all things by the power of His wisdom, and they jumped on the idea of gaining the same source of that wisdom and power! Thus proving to God that they could not be trusted with power. Despite all the authority and power that God had already given them to rule the earth with, they craved and coveted more power!
In the Lord’s case, Satan took Him to a high place from where he showed Him all the kingdoms of the earth, and tempted Him with the idea of handing over to Him all power and authority over the earth. Of course, the Lord rebuked him by reminding him that one should worship only God! Meaning that a servant of God MUST recognize that only God can have all power, and that everyone else MUST bow to that power, and not seek to be like God.
Brethren, God WILL want to know whether you can be trusted with His power! If The Lord Jesus had to be sent to the wilderness to prove that He did not want power for Himself, but only to serve The Father with it, then so will you and I.
So brethren, be humble with the power God entrusts into your hands. Don’t try to use it to make yourself big. Don’t get proud and arrogant about it, and don’t try to use it in a way that was not sanctioned by God. Above all, recognize that you are only a steward of it, and don’t ever seek more of it in a manner that challenges God’s authority over you.
ANOTHER CRUCIAL LESSON HERE: Here again there’s the test to see if Jesus knew who He was in God, in the sense that He had to prove that He knew that as God’s Son, He ALREADY HAD ALL THE POWER NOT JUST IN THIS WORLD, BUT IN THE WHOLE UNIVERSE! If He hadn’t known this, then He would have been tempted to accept Satan’s offer, as Adam did. If only Adam had known what a special being he was! If only he had known that he had been made special, unlike the angels, to be like God Himself, and that he already carried all the power that he needed to rule over all of creation!
So brethren, when tempted with an offer of power, be careful to remember that you already have been given power by God Himself, made in His glorious image! You are His ambassador here on earth, and that means that you have the full backing of heaven behind you! So be attentive to the Holy Spirit to know the source of, and purpose of whatever power that is being offered to you by any entity in this world. Seek the Lord’s consent before accepting positions of power.
Satan had said to Jesus: “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” (Matthew 4:4, NIV)
Knowing that Jesus must have been starving, Satan told Him to turn stones into bread and eat.
Again, as is rather obvious, the question here is whether The Lord knew who He was!
The Lord Himself was the Bread of Life! He Himself was more than physical bread. He was the Bread that created breads!
But in that moment of starvation, exhaustion, frustration and confusion in the wilderness, did He still know that He was the Bread of Life? Was He going to jump at the tempting suggestion and say “man, you’re right! I’m tired of being hungry. Let me use my power and make me some bread out of these stones.”
Had He done that, that would have been the end of the test! God would have said “I thought you were my Son, but you’re not. I thought you knew that you are the Bread of life, but I guess you don’t. And if you don’t know that, then I can’t work with you. The job and the glory that I was reserving for you are not for you.”
In that moment of temptation, Adam should have recognized who he was: The caretaker of the garden of Eden! He should have rebuked Satan and scolded his wife for ever suggesting that he disobey the simple command that His Master had given him, which was to eat of all the fruits in the garden, except this one.
So brethren, the question is: When you find yourself in those dire and bleak situations where Satan comes to make suggestions for you to do things that are not of the will of God for you, do you know who you are at that critical point in time? Are you a committed child of a God or not? Are you a believer in God or not? Are you His servant or not? Did you give your life to Him and He owns it, or not?
Because if your answer is yes to these questions, then you have only one option, which is to keep on waiting on His salvation! He put you in that wilderness like He did Jesus, to prove you. Therefore determine to pass the test in that wilderness with flying colors! Determine to come out of it shining like refined gold, worthy of the great assignments He has prepared for you! If He had to prove Jesus before sending Him out into the world to minister, how much more you and I!
Now as with the other temptations, there’s a powerful underlying issue raised in this temptation: What was The Lord hungry for?
Was He hungry for physical bread or was He hungry for what lay ahead of Him? Was He hungry for some physical food or for the great job that God had sent Him to earth to do? Was it for some instantly gratifying temporal food or for the glory that awaited Him at the end of His work on earth?
The same question goes for Adam: What was he hungry for? Did he want that single fruit more than ALL the fruits that had been put at his disposal for food in that garden? Did he want that food badly enough to lose his friendship with God over it? Unfortunately we know the answer: He was hungry for more than what he had with God. He was hungry for equality with God.
Brethren, when we’ve been in a wilderness for a while, we become subjected to all kinds of temptations; to all kinds of suggestions from people to do one thing or the other to help ourselves out of that wilderness situation. The question for us at such points in time is: what are you hungry for? What do you want? Do you want some quick self-gratification, or do you want the greater things that God has in store for you, which He WILL give you if you endure and pass this test by remaining faithful to Him to the end?
You see, brethren, in life we are what we’re hungry for! We are what we pursue!
Jesus was hungry for the great work that God had sent Him to do on earth! He was hungry to save the souls that had been held captive by sin and death. That’s why He left His throne in heaven and took on human flesh. He didn’t come to earth to eat and be merry! He proved this again sometime later when His disciples asked Him to come and have some food and He replied “My food… is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.” (John 4:34, NIV)
My brother and sister, what are you hungry for? What are you on earth for? Is it to pursue the riches of this world? To build a ‘good’ and satisfying life for yourself? Nay! As Apostle Paul said, ‘let this mind be in you, that was in Jesus’, that you may be hungry for the one food that truly matters: Service unto the God who put you in this world for a very specific work!
I pray that God would reveal to you the specific work He sent you to do for Him here on earth, and that you will make that calling your food!