Prospering Evil

Day 195

Prayer for the day

Let your loving-kindness be my comfort, as you have promised to your servant. Let your compassion come to me, that I may live, for your law is my delight.

Scripture for the day

Psalm 13-15, Acts 19:32-41

It’s been a theme all the way through, particularly in the Psalms: why do evil men (and women) prosper? Why does it seem that God is unconcerned with their blasphemy and allows them to flourish.

The Psalmist in today’s Psalms seems keenly aware of the evil and wickedness of his enemies. He recognizes that many who are prospering are doing horrific things, and this terrifies him. It angers him. It makes him furious, particularly when he recounts the kind of evil things they’re doing.

He recognizes that all of these people will not see the benefit of following God, that they will not receive their reward. Yet he is concerned by their foolishness, angered by their lack of respect of God, and desirous that God would treat them as they deserve.

The apostles encountered evil men as well. They met with evil men who were so enamoured of the money they made through religious sales and trinkets that they were willing to sabotage the work of Paul and his friends to ensure economic stability.

Demetrius made silver shrines, and was doing well for himself with the local cult of Artemis in Ephesus. The message of the good news, that God is God and Artemis is not, was terrible for business. And so Demetrius placed the almighty dollar ahead of the most important thing in the world, that is, the spiritual well-being of the people of Ephesus. In fact, he tries to have the apostles killed or imprisoned simply to allow his business to flourish.

This is the kind of evil that God abhors, the kind of evil that the Psalmist spoke against and the apostles encountered on a regular basis. This is the kind of evil that the one who follows God should eschew, seeking instead the things of the kingdom.

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