One thing that caught my attention recently in in reading the stories of the Old Testament was the phrase “did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” Nine of the 59 occurrences are found in 5 chapters of the Book of Judges. In 2:11 it is connected with serving Baals, in 3:7 with forgetting God, in 3:12 giving power to Eglon over Israel, in 4:1 happening after Ehud dies, in 6:1 of the shifting of power to the Midianites, and in 10:6 of Israel’s failure to remain true to Yahweh. Each time this happened this God allowed a foreign nation to take over. Then after a number of years God would raise up a judge and the people would repent and be restored. This sequence repeated itself over and over with no progress seeming made.
Upon reflection isn’t that a story that often is played out in the lives of the average Christian believer? First a time of obedience, then comes a cooling of one’s love which is matched by God’s displeasure and a sense of abandonment for some time and then a return to where we were and ought never to leave. While there are undoubtedly some who never fall away most of us can identify one such period (and for most, several) when after a period of separation we returned to living at the side of Jesus. Robert Robinson put it all in words in his widely loved hymn with it’s stanza that reads:
“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.”
While Robinson was expressing his own need, it is true that his longing for holiness is felt in the heart of all who desire for holiness in God’s sight. A hymn writer became our spiritual leader when to God he petitioned, ”Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee.”
Sin is an evil reality, nothing that God included when he spoke and Adam came to be. It is the exact opposite of all that God is and all he has in mind for us. I believe it is important to see how absolutely opposed it is to that which is good and noble and soul satisfying. We do not live on a moral curve where in God’s sight some things are not quite as evil as other things. While our world has some things that are genuinely good that is because of God’s presence in his own creation. As evil in this world can appear as something far more positive, goodness has no evil in it. The lines have been drawn. I believe that Christian maturity has to maintain the same position on evil as God does, and that is that it is so bad the God gave himself in he person of his Son to pay is penalty and set us free.
Dear Lord, show us again the hideous nature of sin and guide us in our daily walk that we will stay as far as possible from it. Amen