“Deliver us from evil” is part of the Lord’s Prayer. It’s something Jesus told us we should pray for regularly, so it’s obviously God’s will for us. Yet it’s astounding how many Christians think it is some kind of spiritual exercise in becoming a “living sacrifice” to daily expose oneself to evil—as long as the evil is your spouse.
In other words, if you didn’t experience the misfortune of unknowingly saying “I do” to an evil person, then it’s okay for you to be delivered from evil. If you married into it? Sorry, Charlie, but there’s no deliverance from evil for you or your kids. Why? Because “God hates divorce.” Never mind that the verse doesn’t actually say that. Never mind that He also hates violence and lying lips and incest. There’s forgiveness for murder. But divorce? God forbid. And if an abuse victim wants to get remarried and have a normal, healthy father to help her raise her small children—that makes her an adulterer to boot. Scholars have written entire books on this subject *link, *link *link, but it’s so much easier to believe in snappy, pious sounding phrases taken in bits from the Bible than to actually study this. Sound bites are good for hit and runs. Plus they make us feel good about ourselves. Ooooooo, I’m getting revved up.
Case in point: the marriage relationship of Saeed and Naghmeh which is now in the news due to Naghmeh’s public confession of her husband’s abuse. I’m not going to reiterate all the details here, but if you don’t already know what is going on (or who these people are!) you can read more about it HERE, and HERE, and HERE and HERE.
I wasn’t planning to bring that discussion to this blog, but here we are in the middle of Proverbs chapter two, and lo and behold—there it is. Deliver us from evil. Of course that whole thing immediately popped into my mind. If this is on God’s heart, shouldn’t it be on ours?
For the LORD gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
guarding the paths of justice
and watching over the way of his saints.
Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good path;
for wisdom will come into your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
discretion will watch over you,
understanding will guard you,
delivering you from the way of evil,
from men of perverted speech,
who forsake the paths of uprightness
to walk in the ways of darkness,
who rejoice in doing evil
and delight in the perverseness of evil,
men whose paths are crooked,
and who are devious in their ways.
(Proverbs 2:6-15 ESV)
This section starts off by talking about how God generously gives wisdom and knowledge and understanding to us. We learned in Proverbs chapter one that He doesn’t hide it from us. He is a shield to those who walk in integrity. A shield protects, shelters, covers, and guards. A person who walks in integrity is principled, honest, sincere, and honorable.
Are they perfect? Because they sound perfect, and maybe God only gives wisdom to the Perfect Ones?
Perfect Ones don’t exist. The fact is, God protects and guards decent, honorable, truth-telling, straightforward people who don’t play games with God, others, or themselves. Anybody can be this kind of person. A not-perfect person, but a decent kind of person. I think most people understand what I’m saying here.
God guards the paths of justice. Fairness. Rightness. Truth. Equality. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28) God guards these paths because He values these things. If God values these things, God’s people will also value these things. They will not throw women and children to the dogs in the name of an institution. They will not do it.
Then it says discretion will watch over you; understanding will guard you. Discretion is prudence, responsibility, maturity, carefulness, deliberation, precaution, presence of mind, watchfulness, shrewdness, and discernment. Understanding is competence, intelligence, resourcefulness, capability, and skill.
He goes on to say that these things (discretion and understanding) will deliver you from the way of evil. Do you see how the person of character who has developed these qualities would be much safer, having avoided evil, than, say, a person who is irresponsible, immature, careless, ignorant, lazy, and so forth?
Next he talks about the kind of men who are evil. The kind of men we can and should and WILL avoid—and the kind of men we will help rescue others from—when we are people of discretion and understanding. These men:
- Have perverted speech. It’s corrupt, misused, deceptive, abnormal, tainted, twisted, impaired, confused, contorted, critical, and negative.
- Don’t walk in the paths of right-doing, but rather walk in the paths of darkness. Their lifestyle is dark, perverted, mean, hateful, deceptive, and polluted. I believe men who pretend to be one thing in public (a godly pastor who has suffered for the Lord) and live another thing in private (physically, emotionally, and verbally abusing your wife) is the pinnacle of evil. God says Satan poses as an angel of light. He is the father of lies. To pretend to be a man of God and to do such evil and then threaten one’s wife if she exposes you is reprehensible. And to defend such a man at the expense of an innocent woman is just as disgusting.
- Rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil. They are triumphant to see the suffering of innocent people. It literally gives them pleasure. A sexual molester gets off on making others suffer. Oh, but those women have to stay married to their abusive husbands. They signed a paper in the sight of God and man, by George. “It is their privilege to suffer for Christ” so says those who aren’t suffering overly much. Seriously? Is Christ honored when evil men have their way with the women and children they “own.”
- Walk crooked paths and have devious ways. They are warped and twisted personalities. They are sneaky. Shady. Insincere. Sly. Scheming. Shifty. Treacherous game players. Calculating. Evasive. Double dealing. When abusive men make public statements that sound sweet and humble and all godly-like while at the same time accusing their wives of lying to the public, they perfectly illustrate a crooked and devious way. Abusive men do not come out and announce themselves. They hide behind soft, woolly sheep eyes. This is not rocket science, folks.
Our Father, Who art in heaven, deliver Naghmeh—deliver all the Naghmeh’s on the face of this planet—from evil. In the Name of Jesus Christ we ask for this and know that One Day You will bring truth and justice in like a flood.