“Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.” Isaiah 59:14-15
You would agree we live in a dangerous world; and, if you listen to our text from Isaiah, you live dangerously when you live righteously. You become actual prey for those who are evil by living righteously before those who have a proclivity, wittingly or unwittingly, to practice evil. Such is not a small crowd. In fact, they often appear to us to be a considerable majority; though no one knows the detailed salvation nature of the world’s population. The Lord alone knows those who are His and those who will eventually come to Him, (though like Paul, they are enemies until genuine conversion), and He knows those men and women who are certifiable enlistees of Satan’s army.
As Isaiah says elsewhere, these are they who call evil good, and good evil. They turn the world exasperatingly upside down. They cause you to almost lose your mind as they do not discern what is truly good, and they cling to what is truly evil with their strained explanation of how “good” evil is, like slaughtering infants in the womb and harvesting their brains and other body parts. Cheating, lying, and stealing are the normal behavior of men and women who do not love righteousness, even as it means throwing you or others under the bus or stabbing you in the back. It celebrates wrongdoing like cheering the shooting of congressmen because they are conservative, or laughing vigorously at the “joke” of assassinating an elected President.
The horrific human carnage of ISIS and militant jihadists is fully justified in their own mind to achieve an Islamic Caliphate to kill as many “infidels” as possible; to savage as many people as one can out of angry revenge for some perceived offending action; to steal what is not theirs and do harm to others out of pure “entertainment” of the moment; to take other lives in one’s hands by texting, drugging, or drinking while driving a heavy metal, lethal weapon at high speed. “Rules are made to be broken” is their driven theme.
Such destruction and loss of life can strike anywhere at any time. It can and has reached many others and may well reach you. How do you as a Christian, trusting in God, live in such an environment? By doing exactly that – trusting in God moment by moment and leaving your life in His hands. He will always act, protect, and allow what is best for His child. You cannot live in any other way, seeking on your own to perfectly protect yourself and your family from evil in this world when this fallen world is exactly that – filled with snares and traps to do you harm.
You live dangerously by living righteously. Will you actually turn from righteous living so as not to be the prey of evil doers? Such is never an option for the true Christian. Rather, hunger for righteousness. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for those who persecute you. It may make you prey, but He who is in you is stronger than he who is in the world. No one can thwart God’s will. If His will is for you to exit this life for heaven, nothing can stay the hand of anyone, illness, or malady which seeks your life. Conversely, no one can snatch your life away if He protects you. Live in this regard, not fearing or scared, not looking over your shoulder wondering if the shoe is going to drop, but trusting God to keep you in His arms in a dangerous world.
“And though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us, we will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us. The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him; his rage we can endure, for lo! his doom is sure. One little word shall fell him.”
(3rd verse of Martin Luther’s hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” 1528)
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