“Let God Rise Up”

Sometimes it seems to us that evil abounds in this world and that nobody does anything about it.

Where do we find God in this?  Does God sit idly back, enjoying the goodness of heaven while doing nothing about the evils in this world?

Martin Luther King, Jr. once remarked, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.  He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

Where does this leave God?  Is God passively accepting evil in our world?  Is God as guilty for the evil in our world as are those who perpetrate it?

Psalm 68 lifts up a prayer for God to take a stand against evil.  In the opening verses, the psalmist prays, “Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered; let those wo hate him flee before him.  As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before the fire, let the wicked perish before God.  But let the righteous be joyful; let them exult before God; let them be jubilant with joy.”

Verse 30 prays, “Trample under foot those who lust after tribute; scatter the people who delight in war.”

Psalm 68 does not only pray for God’s justice, it also assures us that God is working in our world for the good and against the evil.  Verses 5-6 announce, “Father of orphans and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.  God gives the desolate a home to live in; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious live in a parched land.”

Verse 21 adds, “But God will shatter the heads of his enemies, the hairy crown of those who walk in their guilty ways.”

Psalm 68 enables us to keep in mind a vital truth about God: God gets angry over the damage that evil brings on people. 

About such anger, David Seamands writes, “‘But,’ someone continues to protest, ‘I don’t understand this anger of God business—it scares me.’  Maybe it will help if we ask, What is the alternative to the anger of God?  The alternative is not a God of love, because…love and anger are two sides of the same coin, and you can’t have one without the other.  The alternative to anger is apathy, which would mean an apathetic God who is morally neutral and indifferent to the outcome of the battle between good and evil.  That would make him a God who sits on the moral fence of the world and says, ‘I don’t care what happens to them.  Let them sin if they want to, that’s their business.  I’m not going to interfere in their lives.’  So whenever the biblical picture of a holy God who gets angry about sin seems old-fashioned and frightening, try to imagine something a whole lot scarier—an apathetic  God who doesn’t care.  Imagine what it would be like to live in a world like ours if God were personally indifferent and morally neutral.  That would be a terrifying nightmare.

“It is the reality of a holy God who is irreconcilably opposed to all sin that makes life tolerable in a world like ours.  For this means that God cares enough to get angry when we sin, because He cares enough to want the very best for us.  It means, too, that we know which side God is on—He has declared Himself on the side of right and righteousness.  That’s comforting—not scary!” (Freedom from the Performance Trap, p. 76-77)

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