Today there are many who believe in God, but there are few who practice the word of the truth. They just live as they please doing things that are evil. So, here we are going to look into the consequences that are brought upon those who do evil and what blessings that will be given to those who turn from their evil ways and walk in the truth.
- God who wants us to turn from our evil ways
Jeremiah 25:1-5 describes that the Word of God came upon Jeremiah the prophet and admonished the people of Judah to turn from their evil ways. In those days, the northern kingdom of Israel had already fallen to Assyria. Now God’s anger was about to come upon the southern kingdom of Judah, so Jeremiah felt so sorry with tears and proclaimed constantly that they should turn from their evil ways.
The thing God hated the most was ‘spiritual adultery’. Here, spiritual adultery refers to leaving God and worshipping idols made of stones or trees although they had been taught to believe and obey God alone (Jeremiah 3:8-10). Even though God told them that serving other gods and worshipping idols are sins (Exodus 20:3-5), they went against the will of God and took the opposite way to Him.
The people of Judah didn’t want to reveal God’s glory in their lives and they just committed many sins, which couldn’t please God. In the end, the Word of God came to Jeremiah and he kept pointing out their sins and telling them to turn from their ways for 23 years. However, they didn’t turn and rather tried to kill him (Jeremiah 38:4-6).
Today, people should turn from their wrong ways in their lives in family, school, workplace, and the like. In family, we have things to do as a member of a family. It can be ‘to serve one another’ or ‘do things that please each other’. But many people don’t do it themselves, but they repeatedly tell each other they should do it and frequently get angry.
If the husband in a family drinks alcohol with his coworkers every day and comes home under the influence of alcohol, his family members must be suffering because of it. The same applies to the relation between God and us. In this modern society, sin and evil are rampant and countless kinds of evil things are being done by people such as fraud, adultery, murder, assault, drug use, kidnapping, and human trafficking. Such things should not exist among people.
Then, do you think those who are believers in God do not do evils? Yes, they do. Even believers in the Lord commit many sins, big or small. Those sins are largely categorized into two: the deeds of the flesh that are committed in action and the things of the flesh desired in heart. The greater of the two is the deeds of the flesh. Galatians 5:19-21 reads, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Additionally, such sins as even God’s children easily commit include jealousy, envy, grumbling, judging and condemnation, hatred, adultery, and lying. Ceasing to pray is also one of the sins they easily commit. God said we must not commit the sin of ceasing to pray. In 1 Samuel 12:23, we are told to ‘pray without ceasing’ and ‘keep watching and praying.’
If we don’t turn from such evil ways, many kinds of pains, trials, tests, and afflictions will come to us. Moreover, if you keep doing evident deeds of the flesh such as immorality, sensuality, idolatry, strife, and carousing, you can’t reach salvation as Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death.”
- A lesson gained through the Pharaoh of Egypt
When the Israelites were under the bondage of Egypt, God answered their cry and sent Moses to them as a leader who would deliver them from the bondage. In other words, God planned to lead them out of Egypt and into Canaan Land flowing with milk and honey by setting up Moses as their leader.
So, Moses and Aaron went to the Pharaoh of Egypt and showed miracles of God to let him know that God had sent them to him (Exodus 7:9-10). But he didn’t listen to Moses, so God brought ten plagues on Egypt so that the Pharaoh could realize God’s Word and turn from his evil ways.
The first of the plagues turned all the water in Egypt to blood; the second was the plague of frogs; the third was gnats; the fourth was the swarming of insects; the fifth was a severe pestilence; the sixth was boils; the seventh was heavy hail; the eighth was locusts; the ninth was darkness; and the tenth was death of all the firstborns of Egypt.
It was not until Pharaoh saw the tenth plague happen that he allowed the Israelites to depart from Egypt. However, he even changed his mind quickly. God foreknew that Pharaoh would change his mind again, so He let the Israelites prepare everything so that they could depart quickly. Now all Egyptians also wanted them to leave Egypt promptly.
But now that the Israelites had actually left them, Pharaoh’s mind changed again and he chased after them on chariots. On the way he and his army with horses and chariots, ended up all dying in the midst of the Red Sea.
What should we realize through the Pharaoh? When we know the will of God and obey it, it will lead to a blessing. On the contrary, if we don’t, calamity will be brought upon us. If we turn from our ways quickly when God tells us to turn, our loss will be small. If we delay turning from our evil ways, we cannot but be faced with great loss to the extent that we delay. (Ref: Dr. Jaerock Lee’s book Life of Disobedience, Life of Obedience)
- Blessings when turning from evil ways
When we turn from our ways, we should turn from the bottom of our hearts. If we make up our minds, we should act in that decision until the end. Many worldly people change their resolution just three days after they make the resolution. But God’s children can keep their resolution if they pray and receive grace and strength from above because the Spirit dwells in them. But if you seem to turn from your evil ways but go back to the ways again, it can’t be said that you have turned from the ways.
In the Bible, although King David had committed sins before God he immediately turned from his sinful way shortly after he realized it. He committed adultery by laying with the wife of Uriah and conceived a plot that caused a righteous man, Uriah, to be killed (2 Samuel 11:2-27). But when Nathan came to him and pointed out his sin, he immediately repented (2 Samuel 12:1-23). He was forgiven by repenting, but a great affliction followed as the price of his sins. David passed through the affliction in a humble manner and became a great vessel to be a great king.
What about King Hezekiah? In 2 Kings it says that he became mortally ill. He did right in the sight of God, but he became more arrogant as time went by. Eventually, he heard God’s Word from Isaiah the prophet that he would die and no longer live. Hezekiah turned from his sin and thoroughly repented. Then, God extended his life span even 15 years and promised him to protect his city from the hand of the king of Assyria.
In the same way, if you sin against God, you must immediately turn from the way you are going. If you go to the west, though God told you to go to the east, you should completely turn around and go to the east. If you still go to the west from time to time, how can you say that you have turned from your evil way? When you keep what you decide to do without changing and practice it, God will give you His mercy and you can receive answers by His grace.
1 Thessalonians 5:22-23 reads, “Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” So, I hope you will turn from evil ways, cast away every form of evil, and act only in the truth. I pray that by doing so your spirit and soul and body will be preserved complete without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.