“Surprised by Evil”
Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
“But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
God’s declaration through the prophet Isaiah is His promise for believers. The verse is in contrast to those who appear strong like youths and those who are powerful. Those who are strong in worldly terms will all grow tired and weary. But, those who wait for the LORD will not only survive but will run because they won’t get tired. At times it appears evil men are winning.
But, God promised to deliver His people and the prophet Isaiah began Chapter 40 with God’s word of “comfort”. “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” This Chapter of Isaiah is the beginning of the “Suffering Servant” passages. The “Servant” is revealed to be Jesus! He declared that He was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of the Suffering Servant, Luke 4:18-21. The Servant of God, Jesus, is the one who brings comfort. The comfort He brings is the assurance of deliverance which leads to glory in heaven and the elimination of evil.
Isaiah often wrote in the Prophetic Past Tense. That is, he saw future events as completed. When he wrote of judgment, he saw the destruction of the wicked. He saw their end. He used expressions such as, “The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” Isaiah 9:7
The end is certain. On the one hand God will establish perfect righteousness and on the other He will judge all ungodliness. There will be no escape for the ungodly. He will lift the curse of original sin and usher in the New Heaven and the New Earth, Revelation 21.
God has promised the elect comfort, peace and glory. This is what we are waiting for! We know that God never fails to keep His word. His word declares He has claimed His people as His possessions, Isaiah 43:1. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:27-28
God’s people wait upon Him with eager expectation of the fulfillment of His promises. The promise now is comfort. We eagerly await His promise of final deliverance. These promises are for all those who belong to the LORD. Those who belong to the Lord wait upon Him. The word translated wait means trusting God now by obeying Him while waiting for His final deliverance.
Recent events in Las Vegas were horrific! There is no other word that fits the random brutality of a crazed man who opened fire on concert goers. It was shocking. It caused us to be surprised. But was it truly surprising? Or, was this evil act something that proceeds out of the darkness of man’s soul? The word of God declares that men are born dead in sin. All mankind is naturally inclined to evil. God restrains the evil of which we are capable. We are not as evil as we can be! Herein is the need of mankind. God must break into the life of a sinner, an evil person and change him.
But, make no mistake, all men are accountable to God for what they do. This man in Las Vegas stood before the holy God and received the just payment for his evil action.
Evil men will be with us until Christ returns. But, God has promised comfort. His comfort is the certainty of knowing that evil and all ungodliness will come to an end. Further, the comfort that God gives is in knowing that He walks through these evil circumstances with His people. Those who believe that Jesus is who He said He is and rely upon Him have the assurance that nothing will ever separate them from God, Romans 8:35-39.
The comfort is grounded in knowing that His word is always true. He promised never to leave us or forsake us, Hebrews 13:5. By God’s grace, the experience of Christ’s work in our lives causes us to know that He holds us in the palm of His hand.
Pray for God to comfort all those who were impacted by this evil. Pray that God will break into the lives of many to cause them to see the truth of life in Christ.