A Reminder of the Evilness of Evil

by Bethany

Relevant Text: Ps. 52:8
Full Text: 1 Sam 22:3-23 and Ps. 52

Evil | As a natural-born contrarian, I only recently jumped on the Harry Potter bandwagon. I watched all of the movies in one weekend and, quite unexpectedly, fell in the love [1]. Yet, it was not Rowling’s fantastical creativity that captured me – even though her imagination is stunning – rather, it was the story of the triumph of Good over Evil. As Andrew Peterson wrote Rowling, “I love that you’re telling a story that is full of wisdom, a story that reminds me how evil Evil is” [2]. Me, too. As a 21st century American, who has never experienced severe injustice, I often think that I have no idea how evil Evil is.

Bloodbath | As David headed back to Judah [3], Saul was on a rampage. In his obsessive efforts to kill David, Saul accused his servants of working against him. Touting his own loyalty, Doeg the Edomite spoke up – telling Saul that, when he was at the sanctuary in Nob [4], he saw Ahimelek the Priest give counsel, food and Goliath’s sword to David [5]. Immediately, Saul summoned Ahimelek and charged him with conspiracy – sentencing him and his entire family to death. Then, he commanded the guards, “Turn and kill the priests of the LORD, because they too have sided with David. They knew he was fleeing, yet they did not tell me” [6]. Perhaps recognizing that Saul was going insane, however, the guards refused. Again, Doeg stepped up – he killed the 85 priests and then went to Nob to murder all the men, women, children, infants and livestock in the town. It was a bloodbath.

Justice | When David heard what happened, he mournfully told the only surviving son of Ahimelek, “I am responsible for the death of your whole family” [7]. Then, he wrote a song against Doeg: “Why do you boast of evil, you mighty hero? … Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin … But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love forever” [8].

Prayer | Lord, Even though our battle is not against flesh and blood, as David’s was, the Evil we fight against is no less real [9]. Yet, we know that, when we trust in You, everything we do prospers [10] because You love justice and righteousness [11]. Therefore, we ask You to open our hearts to hate injustice and evil – even as we obey Jesus’ command to love our enemies [12]. Amen.

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[1] Yes, I am comfortable admitting that, since I have not read the books, I am not a real fan … yet! | [2] Andrew Peterson, Harry Potter, Jesus and Me. RabbitRoom. 11 July 2011. (An excellent review of the Christian tones in the series. Thank you @ pettups – a true Potter fan – for sending it to me!) | [3] After he left the Cave of Adullum, David went to Moab, which was the land where his great-grandmother, Ruth, lived. While he was there, he sought the counsel of the Lord and met with the prophet Gad, who told him that he had to return to Judah to face Saul because confrontation with the king was an inevitable step on his way to the throne. See 1 Sam. 22:5. | [4] Nob, where the tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant were kept, replaced Shiloh when the Philistines defeated the Israelites and destroyed Shiloh. | [5] See 1 Sam. 21:1-9; 22:6-10. | [6] 1 Sam. 22:17 NIV | [7] 1 Sam. 22:22 NIV | [8] Ps. 52:1, 5, 8 NIV | [9] See Eph. 6. | [10] See Psalm 1. | [11] See, e.g., Is. 61:8; Ps. 37:28; 99:4; Lev. 20:23; Ps. 5:5-6; 78:59; 106:40; Prov. 6:16-19. | [12] For more information on the imprecatory psalms and how they relate to Jesus’ command that we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, see, e.g., John Piper, “Pour Out Your Indignation Upon Them,” the fifth sermon from the series, “Psalms: Thinking and Feeling with God.” 22 June 2008.

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