In our daily routine we constantly face the challenge of standing up to evil and evil doers. The psalmist brings out our helpless condition in his prayer – “Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked; do not further their evil plot, or they will be exalted!” (Ps 140:8).
Jesus taught us a different prayer in Mathew 6:13 “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” The psalmist was worried about the exaltation of the wicked but Jesus teaches us to ask him to lead us out of such trials. Psalmist was asking God not to grant their desire but Jesus teaches us to ask Him to keep us away from evil. To understand this we must first understand the concept of evil in God’s perspective. A common perception of people about evil is that of a force against God’s will to perform goodness. It may be a force against man’s will to perform good things but not for God. Because no power in heaven and earth is greater than that of God’s (1 John 4:4). Because He is the creator, creator of even the evil.
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. – Isaiah 45:7
Then the question is why God created evil? The answer to this is, to give us an option to exercise our Free Will. Now let us see how it works. God does not use evil to threaten us or force us to do good things. Sickness or sudden calamities are not weapons in God’s hand but those are invited by us through our own desire.
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. – James 1:13-15
Paul explains this truth to the Romans.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. – Romans 1:24-25
To our surprise, even these people are used by God to accomplish God’s own ultimate purposes to shape His people, while they delight in their own desires.
The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. – Proverbs 16:4
Many times we perceive a wrong notion about the truth and manipulate it as convenient to our situation. But always God proves His stand, even through a distorted sermon. An example for the above circumstance is Caiphas. Now Caiphas was one who gave counsel to the Jews: That it was expedient that one man should die for the people. (John 18:14 DRA) Caiphas had pronounced God’s salvation plan not by His grace but by his own malicious thought. Likewise Judas Iscariot played his role according to his evil desire to fulfill the prophecy recorded in Zechariah 11:12-13. Joseph’s brothers put Joseph in a pit because of jealousy to send him to Egypt according to God’s plan to save His people from famine. But Jesus fulfilled scriptures in obedience to His father’s will and glorified His name.
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. – John 19:28
Friends, there are two ways. One, to be obedient and the other, to be rebellious; but either way His appointed will is accomplished. Why then do we choose to be rebellious? May be assuming everything as a privilege because of His patience – a privilege of being God’s own people. But the fact is – “For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.” – Isaiah 48:9. Let us understand the heart of our Lord. He does not want to defile His name through us and that is why He gives us time to repent. Not only that, He sanctifies Himself to sanctify us by truth. We should understand this and be obedient to our Redeemer.
And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. – John 17:19.