“Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man? The goodness of God endures continually.”
We live in a world of contrast. On the one hand, we see the fingerprint of God all around us, demonstrating His goodness. Earlier in the Psalms, David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm19:1). When we see the beauty of creation, the birth of a child, or the love of betrothal, we are struck by the goodness of God.
On the other hand, there is another force clearly at work in our world. David calls it “evil,” and he witnessed its effects all around him. This Psalm was written after Doeg had murdered dozens of men, out of his selfish ambition and lust for gain.
We, too, see evil all around us with the ability to access information from all of the world. We have all been stunned by thousands killed in floods, earthquakes and hurricanes. As horrible as these things are, they pale in comparison to the evil that men inflict upon other men. Wars, fought for nothing more than a selfish drive for power, have been responsible for the brutal death of millions, upon millions, of lives. We have all heard of the atrocities under Hitler and Stalin. Tragically, these are not just distant memories of the dark days of man. The events, in places like El Salvador, Liberia, and Rwanda, in recent decades, have been nothing short of evil. Nor has evil stopped. We hear today of threats of terrorism, and even global war. Sadly, we do not need to look far to find evil. We have all been dumbfounded by reports of shootings at schools or job sites, where an expressionless gunman shoots innocent victims; leaving the victim’s families to grieve in shock and horror. We all know, and perhaps even are the victims of abuse. I have sat in my office with people who were molested by the very ones who should have loved them, and seen the far reaching and devastating effects of that evil. As a result, we are all left to wonder how these two truths can be reconciled. We ask the age old question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
Allow me to have Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck answer this question for us: “It is a strange thing. Dozens of times I have been asked by patients or acquaintances: ‘Dr. Peck, why is there evil in the world?’ Yet no one has ever asked me in all these years: ‘Why is there good in the world?’ It is as if we automatically assume this is a naturally good world that has somehow been contaminated by evil. In terms of what we know of science, however, it is actually easier to explain evil. That things decay is quite explainable in accord with the natural law of physics. That life should evolve into more and more complex forms is not so easily understandable. That children generally lie and steal and cheat is routinely observable. The fact that sometimes they grow up to become truly honest adults is what seems the more remarkable. Laziness is more the rule than diligence. If we seriously think about it, it probably makes more sense to assume this is a naturally evil world that has somehow been mysteriously “contaminated” by goodness, rather than the other way around.”
The mystery of goodness is even greater than the mystery of evil. “An evil world contaminated with goodness.” The Bible explains this clearly. When Adam sinned, sin entered the world, and has affected everything. However, God, through Christ, has infused His goodness into this world. James went on to explain, that every good and perfect gift comes from God. The evil in this world goes against the nature of God, and is caused by sin. The good in this world is left by the fingerprint of God, who loves us, and desires to work in us, even to be a fortress when evil is on the rise. Will you cling to Him today?
“At the tree in the garden we passed from good to evil
At the tree on the hill we passed from evil to good.”
- Read chapter 21 and 22 of 2Samuel, for background on the writing of this Psalm.
- What is the confidence and strength of the wicked man? Where does he place his trust and what does he love?
- Yet what is the end of the wicked man?
- In contrast what is the strength, confidence, and trust of the righteous before God?