The Nature Of Evil


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When we read our Bibles – particularly when we read the Old Testament – we often wonder if the text has anything to do with us who are believers in Christ in this Church Age. In Joshua God’s Old Testament Church was going into Canaan to conquer that land. God commissioned Israel to do his will. Canaan was a land nearly totally devoid of God. I say “nearly totally” because God did save Rahab and her family at Jericho. Other than Rahab and her loved ones we have seen none others who were even slightly interested in the Lord God Almighty.

God gave a specific commission to Joshua as Israel’s new leader:

Joshua 1:2-4 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.

Take Possession Of Your Possession

This Book has to do with Israel. God’s commission to Joshua was “go in and seize the land”. Israel was to take possession of their possession. Those who were in the land were squatters. God in His infinite mercy allowed the Canaanites to occupy the land for many years. God reached out to them just as He reached out to father Abraham.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

The Scripture declares “God so loved the world” (John 3:16). God tried reaching the Canaanites. They rejected Him, so God gave the land to Abraham and his descendants. That is what the Book of Joshua is about. It is about God’s people claiming the land for God.

Joshua” is about God’s people changing the social landscape, taking and making God’s Kingdom come while casting out the forces of darkness!

So how does this Book apply to us? The Bible says:

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Every part of the Scripture is written to God’s people. No part suddenly became obsolete because of the Cross and the Empty Tomb. God is, and has always been. And God has always had a people that He loved and redeemed through Christ Jesus. The Old Church looked forward, believing in the Coming Redeemer. The New Church looks backward, believing in the Redeemer Who has come, Jesus Christ.

Darkness Hates Light

Joshua’s commission was to take the land, to spread the Light of God and cast out the darkness. Our commission in this Church Age is to do the same thing. We are to bring in God’s Kingdom. Jesus prayed before He headed toward Calvary:

John 17:14-15 I have given {Your Children} thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil {one}.

God never changes. Every good gift comes from our God, the God Who never varies nor changes (James 1:17). Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The enemy never changes, either. The devil leads the forces of evil into expanding the darkness of his kingdom.

John 1:5 .. the Light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. The world – led by satanic forces – does not comprehend the Light of God. So the forces of evil and their General old Lucifer attacks the forces of God in one of two ways:

  1. Evil attacks light by direct confrontation. We read:

Joshua 9:1-2 And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof; 2 That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.

Six different types of people gathered together do do battle with Joshua and God’s Israel. The Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites were people that had warred with one another in times passed. Each group worshiped different idols, and had different customs. Yet they banded together to destroy God’s Forces. The Bible says:

they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel,
with one accord

Evil – though varied – comes to fight with the light of God “in one accord”. Evil is in one accord because it has one general, old satan, called “the devil” or Lucifer. We are told in Scripture:

1 John 5:19 .. we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

The whole world – every bit of it – is a follower of the Wicked One. There are varying degrees of evil. Certainly not everyone is a murderer, nor an adulterer, nor a person in the bondage of homosexuality or heterosexual illicit sin. Just as Joshua confronted Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusitesall different with different heritages and cultures – the Church of Christ today confronts varying degrees of darkness. Those who are in the bondage of darkness shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. The Scripture declares in Revelation 22:15; 1 Corinthians 6:9–10; Galatians 5:19–21 and Ephesians 5🕔:5 …

{My Paraphrase} Outside of Heaven are unbelievers, spiritual mediums, sexually immoral people like adulterers and homosexuals, murderers, worshipers of false gods, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, those who swindle or fight with others, and all who love darkness and despise light.”

The Bible is adamant that (1 John 3:8) “he that committeth sin is of the devil”. Yes, we all sin. But the Christ follower is the person who realizes that:

for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8, continued).

Evil realizes that it can make no compromise with the Light that is God. This is why evil binds together in one accord. The intention of evil is to resist God and resist God’s Light. “They gathered themselves TOGETHER to FIGHT with Joshua and with Israel, IN ONE ACCORD”.

  1. Evil attacks light by Direct Infiltration

Though the devil is not adverse to direct confrontation with the King of Heaven, he has discovered that the best way to destroy the Light of God is to infiltrate the family of God. In the early Church the devil tried martyring the leaders of the Christian community. Stephen the deacon and evangelist was martyred by Saul of Tarsus and others (Acts 22:20). The site All About Following notes:

James the son of Zebedee was beheaded in approximately 44 A.D. Philip was crucified in 54 A.D. Matthew was killed with a halberd, an ax-like weapon, in 60 A.D. James, who is thought to be the brother of Jesus, was beaten to death, Matthias was beheaded, Andrew was crucified, Mark was torn to pieces, and Peter was crucified upside down. Jude, Bartholomew, and Thomas were also martyred. Paul suffered martyrdom in Rome where he was beheaded. Other early apostles Luke, Barnabas, Timothy, and Simon were also killed for the sake of Christ.”

The devil has discovered over time that direct confrontation often backfires.

So the devil tries infiltration. This is what he did with the Gibeonites:

Joshua 9:3-5 And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, 4 They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up; 5 And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and moldy.

The Gibeonites were a group of people descended from the Hivites and Amorites. If you remember the Hivites and Amorites were a people who directly confronted Israel and the Lord. The Gibeonites were a group of Amorites who did NOT want to do direct battle with Israel. Why? Because they saw the power of God. “They heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai. Though Ai battled and won with Israel during their first attack, God led Israel back to Ai and victory. The Gibeonites knew that – as long as Israel listened to God – that they could be destroyed. So what did the Gibeonites do?

They used deception. They went to Joshua’s camp in the midst of Israel with no weapons whatsoever. They loaded their donkeys down with worn out sacks and old wineskins that had been mended. The Gibeonites put patched sandals on their feet, and wore old clothes. They paid attention to detail. Even their food was dry, old, and moldy. The Gibeonites looked like a delegation that had traveled for a long time. The Bible says:

Joshua 9:6 And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.

This is how evil infiltrates the Light of God. The Gibeonites presented themselves as a peace loving people who lived far away from the areas that Joshua and Israel would be attacking. They in essence said, “We are not Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, or Jebusites. We come from a far land. We will never be any trouble to you. We want to make a peace treaty with you.”

In short, the Gibeonites tricked Joshua and all Israel.

Joshua 9:7-13 And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you? 8 And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye? 9 And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the Lord thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt, 10 And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at Ashtaroth. 11 Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us. 12 This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is moldy: 13 And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey.

Flattery And Misdirection Confuse Us

Notice how the Gibeonites ingratiated themselves to Joshua and Israel. “We are your servants”. A loving person always speaks the truth in love and rejoices in the truth – not in evil (1 Corinthians 13:6). The God indwelt Christian loves truth. Our Master Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). Jesus was never mean spirited – but He never buttered up or flattered people. When Jesus was attacked by the Pharisees how did they start the attack?

Mark 12:14-15 … when {The Pharisees} were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? 15 Shall we give, or shall we not give? But {Jesus}, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it.

The Gibeonites came to Israel ingratiating themselves. “We are your servants”. We mean no harm. You will never be effected by our presence. How often has the Church of God been infiltrated? How many times have we compromised with darkness, only to find us weakened because of it. Evil does not compromise! The Bible says:

John 3:17-21 … God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on {Jesus} is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Those who wish to become members of God’s family will come to Jesus Christ and be saved. But those who do not wish to do so – who revel in their sins and in the darkness – will not come to the light. The Gibeonites tricked Israel:

Joshua 9:14 {Israel} asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord.

Just as Joshua did when he attacked Ai the first time and was defeated, now Israel makes a treaty with these Gibeonites without discussing this with God. It was after the treaty was made that …

Joshua 9:16-18 … it came to pass at the end of three days after {Israel} had made a league with {the Gibeonites}, that they heard that they were their neighbors, and that they dwelt among them. 17 And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and Kirjathjearim. 18 And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes.

Israel was given a commission to take all of the land for the glory of God. But now Israel was in a bad way. The princes of the twelve tribes of Israel had all “sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them. This we will do to them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them.” (Joshua 9:19-20). Israel made an oath in the name of God that they would not attack these people. Jesus tells us:

Matthew 5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

Israel should have never forsworn a treaty in the Name of God without FIRST consulting God. Beloved, you cannot compromise with evil. Light and dark do not mix, and never will.

We Are God’s Representatives

After Israel was tricked into making peace with the darkness Joshua – bless his heart – asked the Gibeonites:

Joshua 9:22 … Wherefore have ye beguiled us, saying, We are very far from you; when ye dwell among us?

You might as well ask “why is green, green?” Darkness will always seek to make light into darkness. I heard an old story one time that I want to share. A scorpion came to the edge of a river and wanted to cross it. Seeing that he couldn’t he cried out to a duck floating nearby. “Mr Duck, will you give me a ride across this river?” Mr. Duck replied, “Do I look crazy? Why would I let a scorpion on my back? You’ll sting and kill me!” The scorpion said “Oh Mr. Duck, I promise not to sting you. In fact, if you’ll let me ride across this river on your back I’ll show you where some tasty nuts are hidden on the other side.” Mr Duck said, “It’s a deal!”. He allowed the scorpion to get on his back. Once they had reached the other side he asked the scorpion, “Where are those nuts you promised me”? The scorpion stung the duck in his head, and as Mr. Duck lay dying he asked “Why didn’t you keep your word to me?” The scorpion said, “You knew what I was when you let me get on your back. You’re the nut! And you deserve what you got!”.

Let’s not be nuts, but Ambassadors of Christ. Beloved, let us share Christ as God has said. Let us love others. But let us never compromise nor allow evil to infiltrate Christ’s Church. Jesus Christ died to be Lord and Savior of His Church. Hear Him! Love Him! Glory to God!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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