Why Is There Evil At All?
I pray that you are well and remain strong in the faith of our Lord Jesus.
Today we will finish up our quick look at leadership in the Bible. We will begin with why are there evil leaders at all? Why does God allow these people to come to power? Also, what does the Bible say about this? Then I thought it would be good to finish with some thoughts of what we should do as individuals and a community.
I will begin with scripture from the book of Habakkuk. Habakkuk was a minor prophet who was a contemporary of Jeremiah. Time wise this would place him around 640 BC to the late 590’s BC. Little is known about Habakkuk other than he was a prophet in Judah and strong in the faith. This scripture is a portion of a dialogue that is taking place between Habakkuk and God. Let’s begin with Habakkuk complaining to the Lord, Habakkuk 2-4. I know that like me, all of us have probably complained to the Lord.
“How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.”
Wow, sounds like Habakkuk has been reading some of our news headlines, doesn't it? Habakkuk was giving vent to something that mankind has vented about forever: Why does evil seem to go unpunished and unchecked? Why does it seem that God doesn’t answer our prayers?
It seems to Habakkuk that God actually condones violence and cruelty. Well before we get to God’s answer, let’s work through these concerns of Habakkuk.
There is a very important distinction that needs to be made here. The difference between God controlling evil and God creating evil. God is not the author of sin. Hear this, God is not the author of sin. However, God can control sin. God can control sinful men and women to reach an objective. We spoke last week about the free will that God allows. Romans 8:28,
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”
God can use our struggles with evil and sin, the resulting heartbreaks from these struggles, and even the worst tragedies of our lives for His glory. He has a perfect and divine plan for our lives that we are not often privy to the details of. If God could not control evil he would not be God as we know him. His sovereignty is total.
But God does not sin and he performs no evil. James 1:13, teaches us this truth,
“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by their own evil desire, they are dragged away and enticed.”
It is our own infatuation with sin that allows us to be tempted. It’s not God’s doing. God does not tempt us, Satan does. Satan does when we allow ourselves to be tempted. It’s our sin, not God’s. Just as it is Judah’s sin that is causing the sin that is upsetting God for our scripture today. The sin is Judah’s fault, not God’s fault. Sin is our fault, not God’s.
Look at us today. Today we are an unrighteous nation. Millions of babies murdered, Christian persecutions, Covid-19 persecutions, murder, sexual immorality, truthless news, and everyone is trying to blame someone else when it all really falls back on us. Yes, on us. Because we are a people, together. We have been pitted against one another by our rulers. We have allowed this to happen. We are an unrighteous people, just like Judah. Deuteronomy 32:4-5,
“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. They (Judah) have acted corruptly toward him; to their shame they are no longer his children, but a warped and crooked generation.”
We are like Judah, so it should read,
We have acted corruptly toward him; to our shame we are no longer his children, we are nothing but a warped and crooked generation.
This would be true except for Jesus! I know right now you are thinking or saying “not me”.
Maybe not actively. But we have allowed all of our nation’s sin to occur. We have turned our eyes away as it has happened. Because it happened under our watch. So it is our fault. The shame and sin is on our own heads.
We need to repent as individuals, and as a nation. Right now, we need to seek forgiveness and ask God to send us righteous leaders of faith. Stop electing the unrighteous. We should not care about the party they represent. Are they honest? Are they Christian?
Now, as we prepare to return to Habakkuk, we need to understand what is about to happen. God is going to use the Babylonians to accomplish His will. Our perfect and just God sometimes will use the sin that already exists in our world to fulfill His purposes. God is going to use Babylon as an instrument of His power to bring judgment upon Judah. Habakkuk 1:5-11,
“Look at the nations and watch--and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. I am raising up the Babylonians (Chaldeans), that ruthless people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own. They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law unto themselves and promote their own honor. Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their cavalry gallops headlong; their horsemen come from afar. They fly like a vulture swooping to devour; they all come bent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind and gather prisoners like sand. They deride kings and scoff at rulers. They laugh at all fortified cities; they build earthen ramps and capture them. Then they sweep past like the wind and go on--guilty men, whose own strength is their God.”
God’s revelation caused Habakkuk to then ask how God could use a nation more wicked than Judah to judge Judah. God would respond by telling Habakkuk that He would later punish Babylon as well as Judah. Habakkuk was left to do the only thing that he could, praise God for His wisdom.
If you think that God would not do this again, you might want to rethink your position. I pray not, and I plead Jesus. We are again vulnerable in the Middle East. Due to the Afghanistan debacle, we have let in hundreds of thousands of unvetted Afghans and others, who could be bringing terror to our country. 400,000 are supposed to cross our southern border in November alone.
Our only weapons now are our prayers, our faith, and our hope in Christ. I am content with those weapons. But, we must use them.
We need to be a part of a righteous remnant that can hopefully grow to a larger righteous community, a praying community. We need to stop making our sins a goal for the day. We need to repent as individuals and communities, confess our sinfulness, and seek God’s
forgiveness. We don’t need perfection. That’s for the cancel culture. We need forgiveness. We need the Lord. We need Jesus.
We began a month ago with Proverbs 29:2,
“When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.”
We have to personally commit to seeing that our society can become a place where the righteous can indeed thrive. We have to make better choices. Stop worshiping the false idols of consumerism, nature and the environment, vaccines, health care, and government. Stop turning to your neighbor and pointing your finger. Turn back to the Lord instead. Repent.
If we don’t, history will repeat itself.
Do no Harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC