“Oh that you would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that your hand would be with me and that you would keep me from evil that I may not cause pain… 1 Chronicles 4:10 King James Version
“… that you would keep me from evil that I may not cause pain.”
This last week has been full of joy with the celebration of my birthday, and drama that had me freaked out! On Tuesday I rushed Joni to the hospital. She came home on Thursday. Before daybreak the following Monday, I rushed my bride to the emergency room. Once more she was experiencing agonizing pain. This was a shorter stay and on Tuesday night she was allowed to return home.
All this excitement and drama pushed my writing back just a little! That and the fact I had already written 4 posts that ended up in my virtual File 13. So, here we go again! I thought this would be the easiest part of Jabez’s prayer to comment on and about. How hard is it to identify evil that causes me or you to perpetrate pain on another? Whether they are family, friend, foe, or even ourselves, we recognize evil when we see it!
Or do we? Are we really able to see, know, recognize evil when it comes knocking on the doors of our hearts and minds? Do we need to know evil, or anything associated with evil? Where have we heard something quite similar to this idea? The lie bookended by truth, a skillfully laid trap, convincing Eve mankind had a great need, and a right to discern good from evil, right from wrong! The serpent wound his tale around and around Eve’s mind until she believed the lie, she could be like God! Even as she ate the fruit she was convinced her mind was already expanding!
Isn’t that the same trap baited with the same or nearly the same bait, of the drug culture? Just one puff, just one toke, just once take a snort, come on see the universe as it really looks! I know I’m dating myself with my lingo/jargon, but it still adds up to the same lies. The serpent never tells you the truth about anything, just enough to hook you, then it often is too late.
This was too good to keep to herself, so off she ran seeking her husband, Adam. God had created Adam and Eve as two who would complement and complete each other, becoming one from two. Their connection as one enhanced their ability to discern, to recognize evil when it revealed itself to them. They became vulnerable when they were apart, when distance interfered with their ability to communicate. Their enhanced abilities gave them advanced processing skills when they were with each other. Even today there is a bond husbands and wives may have as they grow in God’s Grace! It provides an amazing gift that has to be experienced to be known.
However, if they were caught separated from each other, their connectedness was diminished, the efficiency with which they were able to process was cut in half. As Eve runs to Adam he senses immediately something is wrong! When Adam looks into Eve’s eyes he sees what had never been there before. There is a gleam of self-centeredness, a lust for power, a craving for more of everything. Adam, in his fear, confusion, and his desire not to lose Eve, takes the fruit and eats.
Why didn’t Adam call out for God? What stopped him from seeking help from his Creator? I have absolutely no idea. What is it that keeps me from calling, crying out to God in my fear, confusion, anger, and self-recrimination?
And in those moments the world’s history was changed forever. Your history, my history, those we loved and have had to lay to rest in Jesus, their history, every death ever experienced here would never have happened. Every hurt, pain, every attack, whether it is physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual would never have existed, ever.
This is still such an issue today. Husbands and wives not taking time to communicate, to listen, to hear, to be present with the one we claim to love, honor, and cherish for a lifetime. It’s when talking ceases, listening stops, and no one is present with any one else that marriages crash and burn! Marriages would be for Eternity, children could grow without fear of violence, without fear of any kind! No more child abuse, no more bullying, no more of anything that kills and wounds those tender souls. Jesus told us we were to become as little children, which is Grace in Process, preparing us to enter God’s Kingdom.
Unfortunately, Eve and Adam chose evil, and that has caused pain ever since, pain experienced by an innumerable amount of people. For every person born on this planet called earth has been evil, caused pain, and has experienced pain because someone was evil. It’s a fact of life that if you were born on this planet, you have been evil. So have I.
There is only One who has not succumbed to evil, causing pain. Jesus took all the evil, everything thought, wished, desired, or committed, to the Cross. Jesus took all the pain of every human to that Cross as well.
Jesus understands what evil can do to someone, the incredible pain it can and does cause. Jesus in His ministry was constantly surrounded by those who had been pained by the spiritual leaders who chose evil over Grace.
There are stories in the Old and New Testament revealing those who rejected evil and embraced opportunities to relieve and heal pain in others. That is Grace embracing those who need to know they are loved. Everyone needs Grace with skin and bones. We need God’s Grace revealed, lived out in people around us. We must become willing for the Holy Spirit to live out in our lives, to “keep me from evil that I may not cause pain,” to make real God’s Grace in us. Grace is about transformation, recreation, renewal, about God putting on the finishing touches as He prepares us to spend Eternity with Him and all the others.
I think we could begin now, here, wherever we are, to experience eternity! I know it’s not very easy, not for me anyway. Life often gets in the way, evil leads me to cause too much pain, and I get bogged down in all the trivialities of life here. I need a reminder every day that I am not who I was, and tomorrow I will be different from who I am today. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, however, the One I will spend Eternity with is guaranteed! And God tells me I have today in Him, He has my past in Him, and He has my future in Him. So, I will try to live in today and each day as He keeps me from evil, so I will not cause anyone pain.
“…And God granted his request.” 1 Chronicles 4:10 King James Version