Monday, April 21, 2014

"How can God allow such evil?"

Day #115:  Daily Bible Reading Plan - April 22nd

Scripture Reading:  II Samuel 1 - 4 ...

Politics is nothing new.  While God has some of His people in places of power and influence, the old saying, "Power corrupts!" is all too often descriptive of what happens when people are placed in positions of authority.  So it was in the days of David and so it is today.  Reading these chapters it is hard to imagine that David and Joab and others who were "fighting for God" were really chosen by God or accepted by God in any way.  The things they did were horrific and many people use these things as examples to "prove" that the "God of the Old Testament" was somehow different than the "God of the New Testament."  The problem with that is simple:  It is the God who reveals Himself in the Old Testament who foretells the coming of the Savior, His Son.

What makes more sense, based on the consistent testimony of Scripture, is that God's character does not change from the beginning of time to its end.  He truly is the same, yesterday, today and forever.  He is both just and loving, righteous and merciful, all at the same time.  Just because David and his men responded as they did does not mean that God condoned or approved of such behavior.  So how do we explain it?  Think of it this way:  In the Old Testament, God accomplished His purpose through fallible, sinful human beings who were often overcome by their sinful natures and did despicable things - in the name of God.  In a sense, this was the best God had to work with.

This was the period of time before Jesus had died, risen again and ascended into heaven, and therefore before the Holy Spirit came to live within those who were born again.  Certainly, David and others who believed in the true God were influenced by the Holy Spirit ... the Scriptures tell us this is so.  But it was a different time and God overcame the sin of man, overruled the sin of man and accomplished good IN SPITE OF the tools He used!  And in a way, God does that today, too.  As the saying goes, God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.  So He had anointed David and in spite of his weaknesses and failures, David would be King of Israel.

David was a man after God's own heart because he sought the Lord and because he was aware of his sinful nature.  Later on you will hear God tell David that he would not be the one to build the temple because he had shed so much blood (I Chronicles 22:8).  God uses imperfect people to accomplish His eternal purpose.  (He uses you and me!).  Many people make the mistake of attributing everything people do to God because He is wise enough and powerful enough to turn evil to good in some way.  God, however, is NEVER the cause or author of evil.  People do not have to be "forced" to do evil ... it comes naturally!

As you read through the books of history and the kings remember that men (and Satan) are responsible for evil and that God always, in every way, is righteous AND RIGHT in all His ways.  And because He is good and right and faithful and just, you and I can trust Him in every way at all times.  Entrust your present and your future to the Lord, the Creator of the heavens and the earth.  Seek Him ... set your mind on things above, where Jesus is seated at His right hand, and live to make HIS Name great.  And when all is said and done, He will lift you up!

"Father, it seems sometimes that evil is winning and that even those who know You get caught up in the consequences of the old nature that is in conflict with Your Spirit.  O Lord, my God, empower me to overcome the sin that remains and stir my heart to praise You and to bring glory to You in the way I live my life ... in the way I live the life YOU have given me.  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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