July 26, 2015

When evil comes . . .

2 Samuel 16:1–17:29, 2 Peter 2:1–11, Psalm 143:1–12

If someone was cursing me and another person offered to get even, would I say go for it, or would I ignore the offer of retaliation and the one doing the cursing? David again sets an example and points to the greater King to come who did not choose retaliation.

King David was cursed continually by a relative of Saul named Shimei. He “threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David, and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And Shimei said as he cursed, ‘Get out, get out, you man of blood, you worthless man! The Lord has avenged on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned, and the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, your evil is on you, for you are a man of blood.’”
Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.”
But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’ ” And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look on the wrong done to me, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today.” (2 Samuel 16:5–12)

This is genuine faith. David knew the power of God. If this was from the Lord, who can fight it? If it was mere torment, God could stop it. In other words, when evil befalls me, trust the Lord. If He is the source of it, He has a purpose for it. If not, He will remove it from me.

In today’s NT reading, Peter writes of the power of God to deal with evil. He knew what David knew — that God is not helpless against the ungodly . . .

“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord.” (2 Peter 2:4–11, italics are mine)

The bottom line is that God deals with evil, and even angels respect that for they do not retaliate either. Part of this is respect for authority, but mostly it is reverence for the Lord. To be like Him, I’m to be silent – like a sheep before its shearers.

David advocated non-retaliation, but he was not silent before the Lord. He talked to God about the way he was treated, first acknowledging that the abuse of others could be something God was using to speak to him about his own sin . . .

“Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you. For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead. Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled . . . . Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord! I have fled to you for refuge. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!” (Psalm 143:1–4, 9–11)

For the past couple of days, I’ve had a premonition of some form of darkness on the horizon. I could be wrong, but it seems that God is warning me. If this is so, this could be part of it. I might not be the recipient of cursing, but if some sort of bad thing is about to happen, I need to remember how David responded and how Jesus responded to evil; trust the Lord, be silent, and do not strike back.

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