Tuesday, August 13, 2013

light in darkness: evil in context

Psalm 7 provides some insights into how believers in God ought to understand and respond to evil.   David's cries to God to respond to the wickedness he sees.  David's response to the pervasive presence of evil is to cry out to God, who is the ultimate ruler, that He would do something about it!  He knows that God is the one who sees all and looks into the hearts of every person.

I come to you for protection, O Lord my God.
    Save me from my persecutors—rescue me!
If you don't, they will maul me like a lion,
    tearing me to pieces with no one to rescue me.

Arise, O Lord, in anger!
    Stand up against the fury of my enemies!
    Wake up, my God, and bring justice!
Gather the nations before you.
    Rule over them from on high.
    The Lord judges the nations.
Declare me righteous, O Lord,
    for I am innocent, O Most High!
End the evil of those who are wicked,
    and defend the righteous.
For you look deep within the mind and heart,
    O righteous God.

Verses 10-13 provide more insight into God.  God is the ultimate protector of those whose hearts are aligned with His.  God is not unaware or blind to evil.  He is angry with them.  He provides opportunity for them to repent..to turn away from evil and turn toward Him.  But if they do not, God has His own bow and arrow and He will use it.
God is my shield,
    saving those whose hearts are true and right.
 God is an honest judge.
    He is angry with the wicked every day.
 If a person does not repent,
    God will sharpen his sword;
    he will bend and string his bow.
 He will prepare his deadly weapons
    and shoot his flaming arrows.

Look at the insight to evil from verses 14-16.  There are people who conceive of evil in a process that is compared with child birth.  But notice that ultimately the trap they make to catch people will be the trap that they fall into.  We can be confident that ultimately evil will backfire on those who have conceived it.

The wicked conceive evil;
    they are pregnant with trouble
    and give birth to lies.
 They dig a deep pit to trap others,
    then fall into it themselves.
 The trouble they make for others backfires on them.
    The violence they plan falls on their own heads.

The psalm ends with a reminder of where our focus needs to be, even in the midst of evil!

 I will thank the Lord because he is just;
    I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.

Rob Smith

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