FAR FROM THE WICKED

August 27, 2021

Yesterday in Kabul the Taliban sent two suicide bombers to the crowded gates outside of the Hamid Karzai International Airport. These wicked men exploded their vests among throngs of civilians who were trying to evacuate their homeland and flee the vicious regime. This morning the death toll stands at over 100, and is likely to continue to rise.

Wicked and evil people have always done vile and destructive things. Viciousness and an utter disregard for the value of human life are signs of wickedness; whether in this kind of attack, gang violence in US cities or human trafficking everywhere it is found.

God's word provides us strength and encouragement this morning, a bright light in the midst of this present darkness:

THE LORD IS FAR FROM THE WICKED, BUT HE HEARS THE PRAYERS OF THE RIGHTEOUS

Wicked people will continue to act upon their sin-initiated impulses. Darkness will always try to overcome light. Evil often appears more powerful than good. But these are painful lies, made all the more painful because of the people who are impacted by the evil enemy we face.

Psalm 73 addresses this inner turmoil head-on. Asaph recounts his struggles with the apparent success of the wicked's violent strength. He admits that he even thought, "In vain I have kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence." His struggles eventually brought him to precisely the right place; and our need to bring us to that place as well. Where did Asaph finally find the right perspective? Where will our vision become clarified by truth? In the presence of our holy God!

Asaph writes, "When I tried to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, UNTIL I went into the sanctuary of God."

He found his understanding in God's holy presence; and that is where we, too, will see clearly.

The Message translation puts it this way:
"Then I saw the whole picture:
The slippery road you’ve put them on,
with a final crash in a ditch of delusions.
In the blink of an eye, disaster!"

As we enter God's presence He gently leads us to see the truth. For those who embrace evil, their destruction is certain, for God warns that He will destroy all who are unfaithful to Him. For we who cling to Him in darkness, we will be brought into a place of light and peace.

Asaph writes incredible words of comfort and wisdom. He says, "As for me, I am always with you; You hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Days like yesterday confuse our brains and trouble our hearts. But evil and violence are not confined to Kabul, neither are the good and determined servants of the living God. We can draw alongside our Heavenly Father for His comfort and consolation, but also for His wisdom and direction. His perspective is the one we need to focus our hearts upon.

As those who serve Christ and believe in the power of His love, we must lift up our voices in prayer for victory in the battle, for the comfort of those who are mourning their losses today. We must not allow the darkness to extinguish our light. We must shine brightly and with determination to be the cities on the hill which cannot and will not be hidden.

THE LORD IS FAR FROM THE WICKED, BUT HE HEARS THE PRAYERS OF THE RIGHTEOUS

So, my brothers and sisters, let us pray. Pray for the grace to continually return to the sanctuary of God for His wisdom and strength. Pray for the ability to stand strong and immovable when dark forces assault us from every side. Let us send forth the power of our prayers like arrows into the battle.

Stand strong. Never allow the lies of the enemy to stop you from praying. He fears nothing more than an engaged Church powerfully praying in the Holy Spirit.

THE LORD IS FAR FROM THE WICKED, BUT HE HEARS THE PRAYERS OF THE RIGHTEOUS

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