God, Destroy My Enemy! Really?
Because of sin, God clothed Adam and Eve in flesh and cast them out of Eden, a place in which all their needs had been met. They were sent off to earn their keep. Flesh inherently carries an element of sin which is characterized as a separation from God. Humanity was separated from its Creator. The Lord stated during those days that His Spirit won’t always strive with man. Flesh and spirit will not always be in one accord. We struggle with these seemingly opposing elements all the time, spiritual faith versus mortal issues, as if we are still separated.
Though we intend to trust God with our lives, ultimately, our flesh desires control of our situations. When we feel God gives us direction or that He is in a particular situation, we intend to go trustingly where He leads, excited at the moment and full of faith, but then human thinking, flesh, steps in, prompting us to figure things out. We contemplate the steps ahead, visualizing what could work and what could go wrong. We begin manipulating and grasping at control of the situation to be sure the outcome we envision comes to pass.
You see, even though we claim we are walking by faith and trusting God’s will, even when He kindly gives us a glimpse, some direction, a bit of encouragement, we take that spiritual moment and form a fleshly picture in our heads. We, in the ensuing hours or days, work toward the picture in our minds instead of remaining blind and trusting to His will.
When God leads, even when we can’t see what could possibly go wrong, we can trust that He is influencing the situation and all other parties involved. We should resist the desire to manipulate based on the picture in our own minds. Very seldom will things come to pass and a conclusion be met that is what we envision when God is the One at work, because His ways are higher, in a spiritually different realm than any earthly eye can see.
When the Lord told Abraham that the He was going to visit the evil cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to see if the outcry of sin was as bad as He was hearing, Abraham asked Him to do right and not destroy the good people along with the bad. God said He’d allow the cities to remain if as little as ten righteous people were found within them.
We, here on earth, cry out to the Lord all the time because of the evil around us. “Please stop my enemy from hurting me.” We also petition the Lord on behalf of our loved ones who are doing evil things. “Help them, Lord!” These prayers oppose each other. And what of the evil done by those we love which we cannot see? With many of the Psalms crying out to God against enemy behavior and considering that righteous people are mingled with the wicked, we don’t want God to smite all, do we? Do we want Him to rain down fire and brimstone that might afflict the good also?
We often argue, questioning why God would allow something perceived as bad to happen to those we see as good, or to us, or even to those we love and pray for. How can He smite the wicked while not affecting the good? Doesn’t this sound unachievable? We can’t wipe out evil with one swipe as a flood would so conveniently do. There’s a covenant protecting us from such a fix, friends. But keep in mind that such a resolution would destroy the good caught in the waters too. How can we be sure evil is met with evil and the righteous are spared? Is it possible?
It is possible and is happening today but not by the hands of man nor is it seen by the naked eye. Though we are wise in our own minds and strive daily for the good of those around us by feeding the poor, caring for the oppressed, and other such good deeds, we are not the saviors in this situation, God is. In His wisdom and kindness, He sacrificed the pure offering of His Son to die for our sins, trumping Satan’s power once and for all, removing the separation between humanity and its Creator. We know the story, but it didn’t stop with Jesus’ death on the cross. Nor did it end with his resurrection. Have we failed to understand that Jesus needed to go so that He could send a helper, a comforter, a guide? He had to depart so that he could send His Holy Spirit to dwell within us.
His Holy Spirit, living within each of us that is drawn to Christ by the Father, is the new separation of good and evil and our reunification with God. The Holy Spirit is the answer. We who are filled with God’s Holy Spirit are soothed in times of trouble while the wicked do absolutely suffer. This is so much more effective and exact in comforting the holy while attacking the evil, isn’t it? Even if they are right beside each other no harm will come, spiritually speaking, to the righteous.
Jesus baptizes with the Holy Ghost and with fire. The Holy Ghost fills us with the Spirit of God and changes us from the inside out. The fire burns the outer chaff away from our lives, changing us on the outside by separating us from the unnecessary (behaviors, people, desires) things in our lives.
God had Jesus come to earth, sent Him to bless us, and, through His Holy Spirit, turns us from our failures. We, in our flesh, can’t achieve that. It’s His Spirit that is filled with the qualities we desire as Christians. With Christ’s death, our sins were blotted out. The time of refreshing for us is now, and it only comes from the intimate presence of the Lord in our lives. We have returned to Eden. Spend time with Him. You don’t have to study, you can’t apply faith and goodness anyway. The wisdom of God comes from His Holy Spirit and, if you have asked Him to be within you, if you’ve felt led to invite Him in, His wisdom can’t be any closer than a part of your very being.
Rest assured, evil is being punished. We may not see it and we may struggle under the oppression that evil people put on us, but evil is being punished. The holy, the righteous, the good are being spared. All of this is taking place spiritually, not mortally, not in an outward earthly way. The evil are suffering within. There is no comfort in darkness. There is no peace to be gleaned while living in evil. There is no true joy possible. There is life void of love. They are empty. They are truly oppressed.
The righteous, those filled with God’s Holy Spirit, have full access to Him and His unconditional love all the time. Those of us who trust in Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins have freedom. We can experience, even under the most difficult circumstances, peace, joy, and hope. These are not outward things, people. They are of the Spirit. Stop looking for these things in the flesh.
You see, when born again, we become vessels for God’s light to shine through, and He won’t keep His light hidden. Live blindly trusting His will, following blindly where He leads, growing intimately with Him. His qualities become part of you when He is your focus. Keep the fleshly desire to control at bay and let God, who sees your tomorrow, do His mighty work through His Spirit dwelling within you. Trust Him and let Him be the one that shines.
God created you and allowed the things that have happened in your life, some of which were caused by the evil around you, to mold who you are and your personality. The goodness of your nature, the traits of who you are, God will shower back upon you. If you seek you shall find. If you mourn you will be comforted. If you are easily imposed upon you will inherit the earth. If you hunger you will be filled. If you are merciful you will obtain mercy. You see, God uses the personality He shaped in you to bring what is important back to you.
As much as we want to see evil destroyed, as if seeing the wicked suffer would bring us joy, we must be aware that the battle is very real and actively present. It doesn’t have to be seen to be believed. No great catastrophe has to happen to know. It is a far greater battle within and for those who are suffering in the darkness I ask God to reveal His presence to them, to remove Satan’s power, to refresh them as well with His freedom.
Rebecca L. Matthews
Rebecca L. Matthews is the author of three Christian fiction novels, The Light Within, Marie’s Watch, and The Truth Will Set You Free as well as three Christian children’s books, Little Birch Finds Peace, Raindrops and Snowflakes, and Sol and the Boy. Rebecca lives in beautiful northern New Hampshire with her husband, Chris, and four of their five children. Their daughter, Hannah, the illustrator of Little Birch Finds Peace, has moved cross country to the Los Angeles area.
Rebecca uses the art of story to encourage peace producing faith. Her novels are realistic and relatable. Though very different in their story line, each of them contain difficulties, much like we all do. Her mission is to encourage others in a powerful and deeply personal relationship with Christ, a benefit of which affords us peace in the midst of chaos.
Rebecca enjoys speaking with groups about the exciting and powerful relationship with Christ that is the common thread of all her books.