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!”Psalms 140:8
However, Jesus taught us a different prayer in Matthew
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”Matthew 6:13
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 wants us to ask Him to keep us away from evil.
Creator of Everything
To understand this we must first understand the concept of evil in God’s perspective. A common perception of people about evil is that it is a force against God’s will to do good. 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) as He is the creator of both good and 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 that comes to our minds is that why did God create evil? It was 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 desires.
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.Romans 1:24-25
To our surprise, even the most evil people are used by God to accomplish God’s own ultimate purpose, 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 try to manipulate it as its seems convenient to our current situation. But God always proves His stand, even through a distorted sermon.
An example for the above circumstance is Caiaphas, the Chief Priest during the days of Christ, the one who gave counsel to the Jews. He said that it was expedient that one man should die in place of an entire nation (John 18:14). Caiaphas 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 fulfil the prophecy recorded in Zechariah.
And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the Lord.Zechariah 11:13
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. Similarly, 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
There are two ways. One is to be obedient and the other is to be rebellious but either way His will is accomplished. Why then do we choose to be rebellious? We are able to assume everything as a privilege because of His patience – a privilege of being God’s own people. But the truth is seen in the below verse,
“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 the 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