Devotion 51

Is there a Purpose for Evil?

“The fear of Adonai is hatred of evil.  I hate pride and arrogance, evil ways and duplicitous speech.” Proverbs 8:13

I have spoken with many people about the source of evil.  When asked this question, most respond “the source of evil is the devil.”  While I can understand this response, I do not agree with it.  Scripture tells us the source of evil will be found within our own desires.  For example, in Rav Sha’ul’s letter to Timothy (1 Timothy 6:10), we read – “For the love of money is a root of all the evils; because of this craving, some people have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves to the heart with many pains.”  One reality though – whenever we allow our evil, self-centred desires to rule our behaviour they will eventually come back to haunt us.  This is one of Yahweh’s principles of justice, as we read in Jeremiah 2: “Your own wickedness will correct you, your own backslidings will convict you; you will know and see how bad and bitter it was to abandon Adonai your God, and how fear of me is not in you,” says Adonai Elohim-Tzva’ot.

A clear example may be found in the story of Y’hudah (Judah).  As we read in Genesis 37:26, 27, Y’hudah said to his brothers, “What advantage is it to us if we kill our brother and cover up his blood?  Come, let’s sell him to the Yishma‘elim, instead of putting him to death with our own hands. After all, he is our brother, our own flesh.”  Y’hudah deceived his father by leading his brothers to sell Yosef (Joseph) to a caravan of Ishmaelites.  Then, in Genesis 38, we encounter Y’hudah’s interactions with Tamar, his daughter-in-law.  If you are not familiar with this episode, I urge you to read Genesis 38, before you read any further.

From Tamar’s duplicity, we are witness to Y’hudah receiving the message from Jeremiah 2; listen to his understandings: Then Y’hudah acknowledged owning them. He said, “She is more righteous than I, because I didn’t let her become the wife of my son Shelah.”  Thus, the evil done to Ya’akov (Jacob) through Yosef was visited upon Y’hudah through his daughter-in-law Tamar.  (Did Yahweh ever say there were degrees of evil?)

Beloved, fear (awe) of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom.  Without wisdom and her sister discernment, we will be at the mercy of our own impulses and desires.  Without the exercise of wisdom and discernment, our own impulses and desires will lean towards evil; our human natures are naturally inclined to self-centredness and egoism.  Know that each and every evil act emanating from our natural impulses and desires will return to us, as Yahweh allows the consequences of our actions to encompass us, as Jeremiah wrote: “Your own wickedness will correct you, your own backslidings will convict you.”

CONSIDER:  How aware are you of the source of your decisions and actions?  Do they emanate mainly from your self-centred desires and impulses or from a desire to obey and please Yahweh, our Eternal God?

ACTION:  Self-reflection is the process of deep introspection which will assist us in uncovering the motivations of our behaviours and decisions.  Invite the Holy Spirit of the Living God to lead and guide you in this process of discovery.

PRAY:  Abba B’Shamayim, Father in Heaven, help me, please, to uncover the source of my behaviours and decisions; if they are based on self-serving desires and impulses, I repent of these and ask you to eliminate these false motivations and replace them with Your Truth.  In Your Beloved Name I pray.