Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The mark of evil

You, LORD, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked,
who freely strut about when what is vile is honored by the human race.
- Psalm 12:7-8

I came across this verse in my reading Sunday. It falls at the end of a Psalm where the writer is praying about his frustration with the wickedness he sees around him. What struck me about the verse was this:

It is call for YHWH to protect the needy. Like so much of the Scriptures, it emphasizes the importance of being on the side of the poor and the oppressed, while calling on God to protect them. But then, who do they need the protection from?

The wicked. And who are the wicked?

According to this passage and others like Romans 1:32, the wicked are those who honor what is vile. The mark of wickedness is a lack of understanding of what is good and what is evil. When a person or world system gets mixed up and can't recognize the difference, that's when there's real trouble.

There are so many issues today where God's standard for good and evil is being replaced by the logic of man. When it comes to those things, I think Psalm 12 would give us this warning: Be absolutely sure that you are not honoring what is vile. That you are not calling evil good and vice versa.

Feed the poor. Proclaim the good news to the lost. Love the unloveable. Love your enemy. These are all marks of good.


Ignore the fact that the lost have something to be rescued from. Ignore that repentance is necessary. Treat all points of view as equally valid. I would be careful there. Because the mark of evil - honoring wheat is vile - is lurking.

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