God, Evil, and Us

Bible:

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain.
Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:17-24 ESV

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I Corinthians 5:6-8 ESV

Reflection:

Do you know anyone who is allergic to peanuts? For this person, if you are making some delicious chocolate chip cookies, even a little bit of peanut butter or a small handful of chopped peanuts would turn what might have been a special treat into sudden illness and possibly even death. If you or someone in your family were allergic to peanuts, your mom or dad might even want to keep anything with peanuts in it out of your kitchen and home. A person’s life is too precious to risk losing it to a few peanuts.

Psalm 139 has been talking about how wonderful God is, and how wonderful we are because he made us. But then the psalmist says some things that are hard to understand. He wishes God would kill the wicked people who don’t love and obey the Lord. The psalmist says, “Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?” This seems so wrong! Does God want us to hate people and wish that he would kill them?

There are a few things we can notice and think about. First of all, the psalmist doesn’t say that he, himself, is going to kill the wicked people. He leaves that in God’s hands. God never tells his people to act on their own and carry out their own judgments on others. The psalms are helpful to us because through them we can tell God about all our feelings, even anger and impatience and doubt. We don’t have to hide these kinds of feelings from God, but we can pour them out to him and let him take care of what we feel and need. This psalmist understands that God’s beautiful creation and his people are terribly hurt by the sin and evil in the world. Even a little bit of evil causes all kinds of trouble and pain, just as even a few peanuts can bring death to some people.

The most important things we should notice is that after the psalmist talks about wicked people, he asks God to search his own heart. He knows that he is also a sinner, and he wants God to get rid of his own evil thoughts. He wants to follow and obey God all the way to everlasting life. Our thoughts are not pure and holy like God’s thoughts, and because of that we are separated from God. But God came to us in Jesus, and Jesus followed and obeyed God perfectly. His heart was pure before his Heavenly Father, and Jesus gives us his perfect life and death to cover our own sin and guilt. He forgives our sins and gives us new hearts every day so that we can follow him all the way to heaven.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us forgiveness through Jesus our Savior, and for letting us come to you with all our needs and feelings. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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