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When Evil Appears to Win

posted Mar 14, 2014, 9:41 PM by hbchurch org


Do not fret when wicked men seem to

succeed! Do not envy evildoers!

For they will quickly dry up like grass, and wither away like plants.

Trust in the Lord and do what is right…

Psalm 37:1-3a (NET)

   Genesis 3 and 4 remind us that evil has been around for a long time. When people turn away from God they can and often do the unthinkable. Certainly, Adam and Eve would never have dreamed that their own son would kill his brother just because God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s. It looks like the person trying to do right and faithfully serve God was the loser. This is puzzling.

   Joseph is another example of one whose heart was set on serving God and was wronged by his own family. Although most of his brothers wanted him dead, they settled on selling him to some slave traders. Worldly people might say, “Evil won!” and even continued to prevail. Joseph’s master’s wife tried to seduce him, but Joseph’s love for the Lord and commitment to righteousness enabled him to resist her advances. She responded by telling her husband that Joseph tried to rape her and he ended up in prison.

   Again, it looks like the evil person won and Joseph lost.

   Bible students know that God vindicated Joseph, and about 20 years later he told his brothers that God used their evil intentions to bring about good and save many people (Genesis 50:20). If we had been in Joseph’s sandals, would we have been able to set aside all those years of pain, injustice, loneliness, and disappointment and recognize the good that God produced from what mean people intended for evil? I, for one, would have been more inclined to be angry and hard-pressed to suppress a desire for vengeance. Our inherent sense of justice is often screaming, “Those awful people should not be allowed to get by with that”.

   This is when we need to step back, take a deep breath and remember that God will eventually deal with all wrongdoing. David said it this way, “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; fret not yourself, it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off…” (Psalm 37:8-9a). Paul reminded the Christians in Rome of this important truth: “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone...vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord”. (Rom. 12:17, 19)

   Job’s friends’ attempt to answer his “why?” questions dramatically demonstrate the futility of using human wisdom to try to unravel the inexplicable. We must be content to “Trust in the Lord, and do good…” and let Him take care of all the inequities and injustices in the world.      Ken Dart