188 – DELIVER US FROM EVIL
Jesus taught us the prayer: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen]” (Matt. 6:9-13).
There is a proverb that says, “There are evils which come to good.” The evil that comes to good is not evil. For example: Poverty is an evil, but Jesus said, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God” (Luke 6:20). And James said, “God chose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him” (James 2:5).
What is the evil that we should try to avoid: tribulation and anguish? But Paulo says that the many tribulations bring us into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). Would the evils to avoid be the persecutions and affronts? Jesus warned us against this, saying, “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and heap insults upon you, and spurn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets” (Luke 6:22-23). There are evils that we can avoid only through the help of Jesus and the Father. Jesus warned, saying, “And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt. 10:28). We should beware of the evil that destroys, not of the one that builds up.
The first evil to destroy is corruption. “Arise and go, for this is no place of rest because of the uncleanness which brings on destruction, a painful destruction” (Mic. 2:10). Paul gives a different connotation: “Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the perishable” (1 Cor. 15:50). For this reason Paul says that whoever sows in the flesh, will reap corruption in the flesh (Gal. 6:8). A good sowing, to be spiritual, is possible only to those who have crucified the flesh, to only live in spirit (Gal. 5:24-25).
We can escape these corruptions by the knowledge of the Gospel. “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust” (2 Pet. 1:2-4). The first thing that can destroy is the corruption of costumes. The second evil that can destroy is the very man. “And the nations were enraged, and Thy wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to give their reward to Thy bond-servants the prophets and to the saints and to those who destroy the earth” (Rev. 11:18). Man is the greatest predator of the earth. He destroys the earth, destroys the animals, the fish, the birds, and also the very men, by wars, crime, drugs, vices, avarice, ambition, selfishness, interest, etc.…
The third evil that can destroy is hatred, and the vengeful spirit of Jehovah—many think that evil comes from Satan, but they are deceived. Satan is a servant and partner of Jehovah. In 2 Samuel 24:1 it is written that the wrath of Jehovah incited David to number the people. In 1 Chronicles 21:1 we read that Satan was the one who incited David to do it. If two people have the same purposes and desire the same outcome, they are similar in the way they lead, and so they are partners. In the case of Job, Jehovah confesses that Satan incited him without cause (Job. 2:3). David, when Jehovah incited him, sinned less than Jehovah, when Satan incited him himself. A god, who lets the devil get him involved in evil, is not worthy of trust (Job. 1:6-21; 2:1-9). There is one more factor to consider: Satan only acts with the approval of Jehovah, according to the verses of Job, mentioned above. Jesus confirms that the devil, or Satan, which are the same person, needs a superior authorization to practice evil. “Simon, Simon, Satan asked permission to sift you as wheat, but I have interceded for you.” The apostles abandoned Jesus (Matt. 26:56). Peter was the disciple that fell deeper, and then, Judas, who shamefully denied Jesus (Matt. 26:69,75). For this reason Jesus prayed for Peter, that he would not fall away from faith.
Now, God, the Father, cannot be tempted by evil, as we read in James 1:13. Therefore, it was not the Father who gave permission for the devil to winnow Peter, which happened when all the disciples abandoned Jesus. Jehovah was who gave permission to the devil, for the work of Christ would only be accomplished at the cross. Until the cross, Jehovah had all the power over creation and over men (Rom. 8:19-23). In face of this great truth, when Christians pray, saying, “deliver us from evil,” they are asking the Father, in the name of Jesus, that he delivers them from the evil that Jehovah intends to do to destroy men. Isaiah, the prophet, declares that Jehovah is the creator of evil and of darkness (Is. 45:7). The prophet Amos also reveals that all evil comes from Jehovah and not from Satan. “If a calamity occurs in a city has not Jehovah done it?” (Amos 3:6). It is obvious that in the city of São Paulo there are many evils: murders, thefts, robbery, rapes, curses, lies, massacres, explorations in all levels; and Jehovah declares that they all come from his powerful hand. And there is more: Jehovah plans evils, confessing that he does not intend any good through these evils. “‘For I have set My face against this city for harm and not for good,’ declares Jehovah” (Jer. 21:10). “Behold, I am watching over them for harm and not for good, and all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt will meet their end by the sword and by famine until they are completely gone” (Jer. 44:27). “Behold, I am planning against this family a calamity from which you cannot remove your necks” (Mic. 2:3).
Jesus taught us to pray: “Deliver us from the evil of Jehovah,” for this is the evil that destroys entire nations. It is obvious that the great Holocaust, where millions of Jews were slaughtered, was the work of Jehovah, not of the Father, for only good comes from the Father, as we read in James 1:17. The Father is love (John 4:7-8), and love does not practice any kind of evil (Rom. 13:10).
If God the Father were the author of the infernal evils that plague humanity, would Jesus deliver a Christian from one evil, to afterwards expose him to evil, taking him to God, who forges evils all the time?(Jer. 18:10-11). This would be nonsense. In the prayer he taught us to pray we learn to escape from the dark and mortal evils forged by Jehovah, and we enter into possession of the goods prepared by the Father and warranted through the cross of Christ (2 Cor. 5:19; Eph. 1:3-4).
Someone may ask: Is Jehovah the author of the evils that plague humanity, yet? The answer is “yes,” for Jehovah calls himself the owner of this world and of the men of this world (Ps. 24:1). Jesus says that the Father and himself are not of this world. “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world; I am not of this world” (John 8:23; 10:30). Jehovah rules over this world, and those who belong to Christ do not amount to one per cent of the world’s population. Another person may answer: The one ruling over this world is Satan, not Jehovah. But Satan declares to have freely received the kingdoms of this earth, in Luke 4:5-8. Now, neither the Father, nor Jesus would give the kingdoms to Satan, for they are not of this world.
by PASTOR OLAVO SILVEIRA PEREIRA