God’s instructions through Moses have a common theme for the most part–to purge evil from among them. To me, that speaks volumes. God not only acknowledges evil, but he calls it out. His warnings were clear. We also know God created us with minds to make our own decisions. Even when God’s word in Scripture is clear, we often think we know better than God.
It happened in Bible times and it happens now. We have wisdom and truth available to us in God’s word, yet we still try to figure it out our own way. As an example, think of your childhood. Did you obey everything your parents told you? After all, we are to obey our parents according to God. I don’t think I was the only wild child that pushed the envelope, tested the boundaries, and tried doing things my way. Did I get into trouble? Sometimes. Did I learn that I wasn’t that smart, and that I should rely on the wisdom of others who had gone before me? Absolutely!
What does it look like when we purge evil from our lives? It starts with intention. Evil is like a weed. If left untended it will take over until it looks like it belongs there. I say that I as look out on the grass in our yard. If it wasn’t for the green weeds, we would have a very patchy yard of grass and dirt. If I don’t look too closely, I am not offended. When I walk in the yard and see the weeds infesting the grass, choking out the good, I feel bad for having neglected the yard.
So, too, our lives, when left untended can easily be overtaken by the evil around us. We won’t see it happening, but we can be sure that it is. Evil is sneaky. Evil can look good (like my green weeds) from a distance. But when we intentionally examine our hearts, our minds, and our lives, we will see it clearly. Only then can we pluck it out, eradicate it. We just need to know how.
When we focus on the truth in God’s word, listen for God’s leading during our quiet time, and follow the lead of other Christian believers, we can be confident we are being intentional in opening our own eyes to understanding. God didn’t intend for evil to have so much power. When it is not intentionally purged from our lives, evil will take over.
Did any of the examples in today’s reading speak to you? Knowing my backstory, I’m sure you thought that divorce would be the topic of my writing today. If I had to choose, what really jumped out at me was verse 7. “If anyone kidnaps a fellow Israelite and treats him as a slave or sells him, the kidnapper must die. In this way, you will purge the evil from among you.” The human trafficking crisis we have in the world today is certainly an evil I wish we could purge. The area we used to live in Iowa has been a hotbed for “recruitments” as I understand it. Young girls are targeted and told many things to believe they are special, loved, and going to be treated well. That isn’t the case. They will be sex slaves, bought and sold like a commodity.
I also remember traveling in the United States. I can’t remember which airport we were in, I’m thinking it was Las Vegas. There were big signs in the ladies’ restrooms to be on the lookout for signs of human trafficking, complete with a whole long list of situations to be aware of. The kidnappers need to be stopped. This is serious. It never ceases to amaze me how people can be so cruel, so heartless, so evil. They are weak in spirit, the perfect target for the evil one to take grasp of.
How can we make a difference? How can we purge evil? We can ask God to show us how.
Let’s pray … Lord, your heart must be breaking for all of the evil running rampant in our world today. Between corruption, inequality, greed, and abuse of power, we can’t help but tremble with fear. Lord, protect me. Show me how I can make a difference in this world. Use me and my voice to bring hope as I shine your light in the darkness. Light your path before me so I know the direction you are preparing. In Jesus’ name. Amen.