SermonSometimes Evil Seems Overwhelming
An all-creatures Bible Message

Sometimes Evil Seems Overwhelming
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
23 June 2019
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

1 Kings 19:1-15
Psalm 42:1-11
Galatians 3:23-29

Sometimes evil seems overwhelming, but no matter how bad it may seem at the time, the power of God is always greater, and with the Holy Spirit indwelling us, we have the power to overcome every evil thing that comes our way.
 
However this doesnít mean that we cannot be harmed by evil, or even lose our lives, for history has shown us that believers have lost their lives to evil, including the Lord, Jesus Christ; the major difference being that we face the evil head on through faith that even if we die, we shall be with the Lord forever and ever.
 
But evil doesnít just come upon us humans, even though millions of humans suffer and die every year at the hands of evil, the animals also suffer and die by the billions every year, and even our fellow Christians eat their bodies, which is really giving into evil and letting it overwhelm them, for by partaking in the evil they make themselves a part of the evil.
 
We never have to give into evil, even though sometimes evil seems overwhelming, for the Lord is with us to give us power to overcome it.
 
In 1 Kings 19:1-15, we are told the story about how even in the life of the prophet Elijah, sometimes evil seems overwhelming, which we believe is presented to us in the Bible so that we can better understand those feelings, and not give into them.

1. Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.

The prophet Elijah had just faced four hundred fifty prophets of Baal, seemingly without any fear, and prevailed over them.

2. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time."

Jezebel had just threatened a prophet of God, but at the same time she placed a curse upon herself.

3. And he [Elijah] was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

Why would Elijah fear one evil woman immediately after he had defeated the 450 prophets of Baal?
 
The answer is the subject of todayís discussionÖsometimes evil seems overwhelming.

4. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, "It is enough; now, O LORD, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers."

Letís think about something; if fear left Elijah at the state of wanting God to take his life, why didnít he just stand up to Jezebel?
 
While we are pondering this question, let us not forget that the Bible teaches us that perfect love casts out fear, so why didnít Elijah, a prophet of God, use this heavenly love to cast out the fear he was feeling?
 
Because fear can be debilitating, and also is very tiring and depressing, which seems to be the state that Elijah was in.

5. And he lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, "Arise, eat."
 
6. Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again.
 
7. And the angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, "Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you."

This clearly teaches us that God fully understands when we have these kinds of feelings of depression, but that doesnít mean that we are to remain in such a state of depression, for like Elijah, we are to be the servants of God, and we all need to respond to is His call to duty.

8. So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.

This kind of strength only comes from heaven, and we strongly believe that God gives us this kind of strength to do His heavenly will, such as helping to free Godís creation from its present corruption, a corruption that causes millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year all around the world.

9. Then he came there to a cave, and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
 
10. And he said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, torn down Thine altars and killed Thy prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."

Notice the way that Elijah has allowed, yes allowed, fear to come into his life, even though he is zealous for the Lord.
 
This is why we need to always hang on to Godís perfect love, and make it part of our very being, for this is the love that casts out fear.

11. So He said, "Go forth, and stand on the mountain before the LORD." And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
 
12. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing.
 
13. And it came about when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

Notice the way the Lord keeps asking Elijah the same question, which we believe He is doing to get Elijah to start thinking differently, and become more focused on the love and ways of the Lord and not the evil that is upon this earth.

14. Then he said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, torn down Thine altars and killed Thy prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."

But Elijah is still fixated upon worldly problems, so the Lord gives him a task to do for Him, which will get his mind off of his assumed problems.

15. And the LORD said to him, "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram;
NASB

As we have seen here, sometimes evil becomes overwhelming, even for a person like the prophet Elijah, and the same things can happen to us, which is why we constantly need to strengthen ourselves in the Lord and His heavenly will.
 
This is the kind of struggle we see with the psalmist in Psalm 42:1-11Ö

1. As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for Thee, O God.

The psalmist begins by talking about how much he loves and seeks God, which is what a lot of believers have, including Elijah, but as we saw with Elijah, evil can still creep in.

2. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
When shall I come and appear before God?

It sure sounds like the psalmist is questioning when he is going to die and appear before God, which is a strong indicator of his faith.

3. My tears have been my food day and night,
While they say to me all day long, "Where is your God?"
 
4. These things I remember, and I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.

But then something had changed; the psalmist seems to be depressed about something that is affecting his life; is this a case where sometimes evil seems overwhelming?

5. Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him
For the help of His presence.

But the psalmist was still hanging on to God even though he was still in a depressed state of being, which is something that we all need to learn how to do.

6. O my God, my soul is in despair within me;
Therefore I remember Thee from the land of the Jordan,
And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.

Like the psalmist here, we have to keep our focus upon the things of God, and it doesnít matter what, as long as it is something we can keep before our spiritual eyes.

7. Deep calls to deep at the sound of Thy waterfalls;
All Thy breakers and Thy waves have rolled over me.

However, this is where the forces of evil seem to take over, as we have seen with some animal rights activists who are in a state where sometimes evil becomes overwhelming.
 
If not caught in time, this can lead to burnout.
 
Sometimes people cannot bring themselves to face evil head on and challenge it, such as when the say they canít watch graphic animal rights videos.
 
And there are others who say, ďDonít show me that; I donít want to know;Ē but what they are really saying is that they already know the truth and donít want to know any more, but more often such people are still contributing to the exploitation and suffering of animals so they develop an indifference to their suffering and try to excuse it away.
 
However, we can never hide the truth from God, for God always sees the intent of the heart.

8. The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime;
And His song will be with me in the night,
A prayer to the God of my life.

This is true, but at the same time we know that we must also be willing to face evil head-on, if we have any chance of defeating it in our own lives and in the world around us.

9. I will say to God my rock, "Why hast Thou forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?"

Even Jesus said this from the cross, but God never forsook Him, and He never forsakes any of us.
 
When we mourn because of the forces of evil around us, and focus too strongly upon them without standing up to them and fighting against them, this is when sometimes evil seems overwhelming.

10. As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me,
While they say to me all day long, "Where is your God?"
 
11. Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?

Sometimes evil seems overwhelming as this psalmist seems to be saying, but at the same time he knows that he needs to hold fast to God and fully trust in Him.

Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance, and my God.
NASB

In Galatians 3:23-29, we get some of our answers to how we can prevent those times when sometimes evil seems overwhelming.

23. But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.

And more often people are kept in custody or bondage to the traditions of their fellow human beings, including many of their religious leaders, and we need to learn to recognize those situations that deviate from the things that Jesus taught us.

24. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.

Not directly, but indirectly, because the Law, as presented to us by many clergy, all too often opposes the peaceful teachings of Jesus, which should move us away from them to the heavenly will of God; such a case would be when it comes to the raising, killing, and eating of animals and their by-products.

25. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

The tutor being the Law.

26. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
 
27. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

So, if we stand in this faith, we wonít fall into the traps of the devil and find that evil never becomes overwhelming.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

No one is more important that anyone else; we are all the same in the eyes of God.
 
The only thing that separates us is our sin.

29. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
NASB

We are not the offspring of Satan or his minion.
 
It is only when we allow ourselves to think like them that sometimes evil seems overwhelming, which it should never be.
 
We are to be the children of God who live in His heavenly will.
 
Evil has no control over us other than what we allow.
 
We can stand firm in the Lord and overcome the forces of evil in the world around us, and we need to help others do the same things.
 
We can.
 
Amen?
 
Amen.

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