Jesus Overcomes Temptation

Reading: Matthew 4:1-11

“A Bible-Riddle” was written by Howard J. Chidley and published in Fifty-Two Story Talks for Boys and Girls in 1914. The book is now out of print but can be read freely online.


Boys and girls are all fond of riddles, and I am sure you will be surprised to know that there is one of the best riddles of all in the Bible, one that is very hard to guess, and yet one that has a fine lesson in it when I tell you the answer.

This riddle was told by Samson on his wedding-day, and nobody would ever have guessed it if his wife had not let the secret out.

But first I must tell where Samson got his riddle. Well, one day with his father and mother he was walking down the road to the land where the Philistines lived. And according to the story, a young lion rushed out at him from behind some bushes, and Samson, being a very strong man, broke its jaws and killed it, and left its carcass behind some bushes by the roadside.

Some time afterward he was going down that road again, and he turned aside to see what had become of the carcass. And what do you think he found there? This: a swarm of wild bees had made their nest in that carcass. Now, Samson was fond of honey, and he took the comb of honey with him and ate it as he walked along the road. And as he walked he made up this riddle: “Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness.” That means that out of this lion which would have eaten him up he got something to eat, and out of this strong beast he got something sweet.

I suppose you will wonder what sort of lesson for boys and girls anyone can draw from that. You say you will never meet a lion on the roadside.

I am not so sure of that. I think boys and girls meet things every day that are very much like lions. Of course, in these days we call them temptations. But, then, they jump out at you very suddenly and unexpectedly sometimes. And they would devour your souls just as this lion would have eaten up Samson had he not killed it. And when you kill a temptation by not giving way to it you can make a riddle just like Samson, and you can say, too, “Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness.” For just like Samson, every time you come to the place where you have overcome a temptation,–it may be to say unkind things, or to be quick-tempered, or to be hateful,–you will find that you will be stronger to overcome it next time. And the

remembrance of how you were able to overcome your feelings will be sweet, just as that honey was to Samson. God says that if we trust Him, “the young lion shall ye trample under foot.”

For Further Study

  • How did Jesus overcome temptation? He overcame it by knowing God’s Word. How well do you know God’s Word? You have memorized a lot of Scripture this year already. Can you remember most of them? What about Bible stories that help you feel more hopeful and courageous? List these words on a piece of paper (or your journal, if you have one): anger, sadness, worry, loneliness, jealousy, fear. What memory verses would you use to combat temptation when you feel these things? List them next to each word.

  • Sometimes it’s hard to feel sympathetic about other people’s sins. We may think, “Well, that would never happen to me,” or, “I would never be that weak.” But we can see from today’s lesson that Jesus didn’t feel that way. He did not take temptation lightly, and He fought the devil as soon as he knocked on His door. Can you think of someone who is fighting temptation? What about young people at church, or young parents, or older people with illnesses? Can you be more sympathetic and prayerful for them? Can you help and encourage them in some way?

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