That I May Discern Between Good and Evil

The New Testament says the events in the Old Testament serve as examples for people today. Therefore, we should be very cautious of modern preachers who dismiss and criticize the Old Testament, saying it’s been done away with because of Christ (who declares that He did “not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets … but to fulfill them” [Matthew 5:17]) and is now irrelevant.

One of the things we would be wise to consider is the tendency of the people of old to dismiss God’s instructions and trying to combine idolatrous practices with the worship of God. And when tragedy occurred, there was the impulse to trust in the wisdom of men rather than turning and inquiring of God.

Today, do we not see the same tendencies? In many churches, crazy things are happening. People are assuming it’s of God simply because it’s “miraculous,” despite the fact such manifestations are not recorded in the Scriptures as being from God (e.g., “gold dust,” convulsions, etc.). There has also been an increase in persons in churches promoting Eastern mysticism and New Age occultism, such as enneagrams, yoga, and goddess worship. We must not dismiss the fact that the New Testament explicitly warns us that the time will come when “some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1)

Also consider the ancient’s tendency to put their trust in the wisdom of men, instead of inquiring of the Lord, when tragedies and famines occurred. Isaiah writes, “The people did not turn to him who struck them, nor inquire of the LORD of hosts” (9:13). In other words, while the Lord was disciplining the people and trying to get their attention, the people only dug their heels and refused to repent of their wickedness. Come hell or high water, they would figure out a way to get out of their mess. This never played out well for them. This will never play out well for us either.

Are we not seeing these tendencies of the sinful human heart being played out all around us, even in churches? We would do well to sincerely follow young King Solomon’s prayer request when his reign began. “I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in…. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9).

How has the church become so entangled with politics and thinking our leaders can get us out of the mess we’re in? How have Christians become so trusting of their hear that they disregard the warnings of the Scriptures? May we become a humble people who acknowledge our desperate need of God’s bestowing His wisdom and help. If we continue to trust in our own wisdom and experiences, this will not play out well for us. Many might curse my “negativity,” but what do the Scriptures say? Oh, that God would grant us an understanding, that we may discern between good and evil.

Somebody Needs Your Prayers 

Somebody needs your prayers,

   Family, friends, and strangers;

Life’s full of hurts and wounds, 

   And so many hidden dangers.

Someone needs encouragement,

   Another needs a loving embrace;

Someone needs guidance and direction,

   So many are lost and need God’s grace.

Life’s full of disappointments,

   And so many burdens and cares;

Lift your voice and heart to God,

   ‘Cause somebody needs your prayers.

~ G. P.

Ours is a hurting, confounded, wounded, broken-hearted world. While some will be afflicted more than others, none of us is immune. All around us there are hurting people—our homes, schools, workplaces, businesses, and churches.

Each day we pass by persons who are weighed down by loneliness, grief, consequences, fears, and depression. All around are people who appear to have it all together but many are facing parental, marital, and financial problems. Others are hounded by physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual issues. Others are facing rejection and betrayals. Some are battling various addictions or disorders. Sadly, whether we understand or not, many lose hope and grow so tired of the hurting they take their own lives.

We are not called to fix everyone’s problems, and we certainly can’t heal everyone’s pain—but we can, and should, pray. Pray that they may turn to the Lord for His help and guidance. Pray that He will infuse into them His grace, mercy, comfort, and wisdom. Most importantly, that they may know Him, through His Son Jesus Christ. For what is all the healing and blessings of this world if one’s soul is not healed and redeemed?

Let us beware of three common pitfalls: 1) Apathy, indifference. 2) To speak truth apart from love. And 3) To love apart from truth. Too often, we pass others by without any thought or consideration of what they might be going through, oblivious to telltale signs they might be displaying. Sometimes we can hammer persons with truth while withholding any compassion and grace. Still, we sometimes make the mistake of cradling persons while minimizing the behaviors and attitudes which led them to painful situations they find themselves in. There are so many dynamics. We need wisdom. But something we can do, even when we lack love, truth, and wisdom is pray. For God is not lacking in any of these. 

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son, full of grace and truth. ~ John 1:14

But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. ~ John 2:24-25

We don’t always know what to do, but we’re always to pray. Oswald Chambers wisely observes, “We pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but Jesus wants us to pray before we do anything at all.” Today, be open to the Holy Spirit, and know that there are many who need your prayers.