When Evil Strikes

Title: When Evil Strikes

Bible Book: Psalms 140 : 1-13

Author: Franklin L. Kirksey

Subject: Evil; Repentance; Grace



When evil strikes we have a tendency to become disoriented, disillusioned, and discouraged. Dr. D. Stuart Briscoe states, “Evil has many faces, but only one goal—to thwart the purposes of God.”[1]

Dr. William Barclay (1907-1978) explains, “The Bible is never in any doubt that there is a power of evil in this world. The Bible is not a speculative book, and it does not discuss the origin of that power of evil, but it knows that it is there. Quite certainly this petition of the Lord's Prayer should be translated not, ‘Deliver us from evil,’ but, ‘Deliver us from the Evil One.’ [Matthew 6:13] The Bible does not think of evil as an abstract principle or force, but as an active, personal power in opposition to God. . . . Satan comes to stand for everything which is anti-man and anti-God. It is from that ruining power that Jesus teaches us to pray to be delivered. The origin of that power is not discussed; there are no speculations. As someone has put it: ‘If a man wakes up and finds his house on fire, he does not sit down in a chair and write or read a treatise on the origin of fires in private houses; he attempts to try to extinguish the fire and to save his house.’ So the Bible wastes no time in speculations about the origin of evil. It equips man to fight the battle against the evil which is unquestionably there.”[2]

Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) shares, “I have heard of a farmer, whose boy said to him, ‘Father, the cows are in the corn; however did they get there? Boy,’ he replied, ‘never mind how they got there; our work is to get them out as soon as we can.’ That is our main business also, to get the cows out of the corn; how they got there is a matter that can be thought of by-and-by when we have nothing else to do. The origin of evil is a point that puzzles a great many people; but I hope you will not worry your brain over that question; if you do, you will be very foolish. But if you are wise men, you will not trouble yourself so much about the origin of evil, as about how to conquer it, in yourself, and in others. Get the cows out of the corn, and then find out how they got in, if you can, by so doing, prevent their getting in again.”[3]

As a genuine believer when evil strikes I must remember three things:

I. When evil strikes I must remember the Lord permissively allows my situation.

We read in Psalm 140:1-5, “Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men; / Preserve me from violent men, / Who plan evil things in their hearts; / They continually gather together for war. They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; / The poison of asps is under their lips. Selah / Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; / Preserve me from violent men, / Who have purposed to make my steps stumble. The proud have hidden a snare for me, and cords; / They have spread a net by the wayside; / They have set traps for me. Selah”. These verses reveal yet another time David faces violence.

We see “evil”, “violent”, “wicked”, and “proud” men who are sharpening tongues, spreading nets, setting traps and hiding snares and cords for David.

While God is not the author of evil, He allows it to happen. Dr. R. C. H. Lenski (1864-1936), a favorite commentator of Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe, comments on Revelation 13:5 in part, “Human logic so often objects to this divine permissio. It simmers down to the ultimate question: ‘Why did God not annihilate Satan in the first place, stop his hellish work before it began?’ One answer is that God knows what he is doing whether we comprehend or not. The arrogance of the human mind which dares to take God to task must ever be crushed as arrogance. That is enough. When reverent minds contemplate God's permissio in regard to Satan, antichristianity, and evil in the world, they soon perceive something of the ways of God such as God's triumph in winning so many saints for his Tabernacle in the heaven, in letting evil ripen fully for its judgment, and most of all in understanding to a certain degree that satanism and evil are not something that is simply at once to be crushed by omnipotence but to be brought to judgment as God does this through his Son. What goes beyond this is beyond us. The very origin of evil, the fact that a good angel could become Satan, is utter mystery to all human thinking, and, therefore, also God's permissions are a mystery.”[4]

Sometimes evil comes to men directly from the evil one, as we read in Job 1:1-6, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.’ Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?’ So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!’ And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.’ So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.”

Later, we find another instance of the evil one shaking one of God’s saints in Luke 22:31-32, where we read, “And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.’”

Dr. D. Stuart Briscoe states, “For reasons we don’t understand, God allows Satan to engage in evil functions, but only under a tight divine control. Yet God makes everything, even evil serve his purpose, and he brings eternal good out of temporal evil.”[5]

When evil strikes I must remember the Lord permissively allows my situation.

II. When evil strikes I must remember the Lord conditionally accepts my supplication.

We read about the conditional element of prayer in Psalm 66:18-20, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, / The Lord will not hear. But certainly God has heard me; / He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, / Who has not turned away my prayer, / Nor His mercy from me!”

When evil strikes do not take matters into your own hands, take it to the Lord in prayer. That is exactly what David does. He cries out to the Lord, “deliver me . . . preserve me” and “keep me . . . preserve me” (Psalm 140:1, 4). From Psalm 140:6-11 we read, “I said to the Lord: ‘You are my God; / Hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord. O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, / You have covered my head in the day of battle. Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked; / Do not further his wicked scheme, / Lest they be exalted. Selah / ‘As for the head of those who surround me, / Let the evil of their lips cover them; / Let burning coals fall upon them; / Let them be cast into the fire, / Into deep pits, that they rise not up again. Let not a slanderer be established in the earth; / Let evil hunt the violent man to overthrow him.”

Please note the change in the focus of David’s prayer in Psalm 140:8, where we read, “Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked; / Do not further his wicked scheme, / Lest they be exalted. Selah”. In addition, we find the word “let” five times in Psalm 104:9-11, where David requests vengeance. Here we read, “‘As for the head of those who surround me, / Let the evil of their lips cover them; / Let burning coals fall upon them; / Let them be cast into the fire, / Into deep pits, that they rise not up again. Let not a slanderer be established in the earth; / Let evil hunt the violent man to overthrow him.”

Remember David writes in Psalm 11:5-6, “The Lord tests the righteous, / But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain coals; / Fire and brimstone and a burning wind / Shall be the portion of their cup.”

Moses records the Lord’s word in Deuteronomy 32:35-36, “Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; / Their foot shall slip in due time; / For the day of their calamity is at hand, / And the things to come hasten upon them.’ / ‘For the Lord will judge His people
And have compassion on His servants, / When He sees that their power is gone, / And there is no one remaining, bond or free.”

Please note David requests what God promises to do. He is not asking for something out of God’s will. According to God, David was “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22). David prays in Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart / Be acceptable in Your sight, / O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” From the biblical record we learn that David did not indulge in a spirit of personal revenge (1 Sam. 24:1-7; 26:5). Therefore, it is possible to request God’s vengeance without being vengeful or vindictive. Paul the apostle demonstrates a request for vengeance without being vengeful in 2 Timothy 4:14-15 where he recounts, “Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words.”

Paul the apostle writes, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:17-21).

From Genesis 50:19-21 we read, “Joseph said to them [his brothers who sold him to Midianite traders who sold him to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials], ‘Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.”

Our primary purpose should be to see people come to know the Lord and to love Him. We should want others to receive the mercy and grace we have received from the Lord.

From Isaiah 1:24 we read, “Therefore the Lord says, / The Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, ‘Ah, I will rid Myself of My adversaries, / And take vengeance on My enemies.”

Rest assured the Lord will take vengeance on the devil. John writes in Revelation 20:10, “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

The Lord will take vengeance on all who follow the devil in opposing God’s purpose and remain unrepentant and unbelieving. In Revelation 21:8 we read, “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Someone said, “People on earth hate to hear the word REPENT, but those in hell wish they could hear it one more time!”

From Hebrews 10:30-31 we read, “For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

We read of the widow’s repeated request in Jesus’ parable in Luke 18:3, “Avenge me of my adversary” or “Get justice for me from my adversary”. She requested deliverance from injustice. From Luke 18:7-8 we read, “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

From 1 John 5:14-15 we read, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

When evil strikes I must remember the Lord conditionally accepts my supplication.

III. When evil strikes I must remember the Lord ultimately assures my salvation.

David writes in Psalm 140:12-13, “I know that the Lord will maintain / The cause of the afflicted, / And justice for the poor. Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your name; / The upright shall dwell in Your presence.” In the face of such violence David demonstrates valiance.

David was “a mighty man of valor”, for we read about David’s “mighty men” in 2 Samuel 23:1-22 and 1 Chronicles 11:10-47. If the Angel of the Lord would call Gideon “a mighty man of valor” (Judges 6:12) certainly David would warrant that designation. We read of David in 1 Chronicles 22:8, “You . . . have made great wars. . .”

David did not have a “victim mentality”; he knew that he would be victorious! He writes in Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd; / I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; / He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; / He leads me in the paths of righteousness / For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, / I will fear no evil; / For You are with me; / Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; / You anoint my head with oil; / My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me / All the days of my life; / And I will dwell in the house of the Lord / Forever.”

Dr. George Duffield, Jr. (1818-1888) exhorts in his great hymn,

“Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross;

Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss.

From victory unto victory His army shall He lead,

Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the solemn watchword hear;
If while ye sleep He suffers, away with shame and fear;
Where’er ye meet with evil, within you or without,
Charge for the God of battles, and put the foe to rout.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the trumpet call obey;
Forth to the mighty conflict, in this His glorious day.
Ye that are brave now serve Him against unnumbered foes;
Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in His strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the Gospel armor, each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, each soldier to his post,
Close up the broken column, and shout through all the host:
Make good the loss so heavy, in those that still remain,
And prove to all around you that death itself is gain.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song.
To those who vanquish evil a crown of life shall be;
They with the King of Glory shall reign eternally.”[6]

We look forward to complete deliverance from evil for eternity. Paul the apostle writes in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” Paul writes in Romans 8:28-30, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

Paul writes in Romans 5:1-5, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

May we sing with Frances Jane “Fanny” Crosby (1820-1915); also known by her married name Frances van Alstyne, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, / Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.”[7]

When evil strikes I must remember the Lord ultimately assures my salvation.


When evil strikes I must remember the Lord permissively allows my situation; when evil strikes I must remember the Lord conditionally accepts my supplication; and

when evil strikes I must remember the Lord ultimately assures my salvation.

Remember these things when evil strikes.


[1]Stuart Briscoe, The One Year Book of Devotions for Men (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2000), p. 318

[2]William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, Chapters 1-10, The Daily Study Bible Series , (Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1956), pp. 224-230

[3]Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “The Sorrowful Man’s Question” Sermon Notes, (Job 3:23), Preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, 10/8/1882

[4]R.C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John's Revelation (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943, 1963), p. 396

[5]D. Stuart Briscoe, The One Year Book of Devotions for Men (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2000), p. 323

[6]George Duffield, Jr., “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus”, (1858), Available from: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/s/t/standufj.htm Accessed 09/14/12

[7]Fanny Crosby, “Blessed Assurance”, (1873), Available from: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/b/l/e/blesseda.htm Accessed: 09/13/12

By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on Amazon.com and WORDsearchbible.com


http://www.webspawner.com/users/franklinlkirksey / [email protected] / (251) 626-6210

© September 16, 2012 All Rights Reserved

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