In the Shadow of Evil

Shadow of EvilEven though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4 ESV)

A radio program titled “The Shadow” officially premiered in 1937. Each show was introduced with the unmistakable lines: “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!” Psalm 44:21 tells us that God also knows the secrets of the heart. “But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord God.” (Ezekiel 11:21)

Evil is not simply a “boogey man” of some sort; it is spiritual parasitic action. As C. S. Lewis said, “Badness is only spoiled goodness.” Evil choices and actions darken the mind and cloud sound judgment. The presence of evil leads to destruction, subversion and rebellion. The Scriptures also specifically warn us about the devil; “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9 ESV) However, the existence of the devil does not allow us to justify our sins by crying out “The devil made me do it!”

Evil is a grave matter. The slightest indulgence of evil in our habits may seduce the course of our lives to follow destruction. Evil leads to pride, lust, lies and crime. These are all traits of rebellion against God. The Bible tells us, “Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil.” (Isaiah 5:20) God declares, “I will punish the world for its evil. . . .” (Isaiah 13:11)

Karl Barth wrote, “Sin is not confined to the evil things we do. It is the evil within us, the evil which we are.” It is our thoughts and feelings. It is against this dark background that God’s great compassion is revealed to us by the cross. The cross of Christ fully answers the problem of evil. It is by the cross that God breaks the chains of sin and sets us free.

Child of God, do not despair – but rather persevere against the evil which comes against you. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:12-13)

One of my favorite quotes is from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: “It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.”

The proof of our faith, when confronted with evil circumstances, is perseverance and trust in God. Christians are not put into this world to avoid suffering. God gives them His strength to face the dark night of the soul. If you have not given your life to God, receiving the saving power of Jesus Christ, you are separated from God. Separation from God is separation from the love, peace, and joy that only God can give. However, if you live in Christ and allow Him to empower you with His strength, He will enable you to overcome evil in yourself and others. “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called …” (1 Timothy 6:12 ESV) God has commanded us to “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 ESV)

Samuel at Gilgal

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