2 Kings 8-11, Psalm 103
In January 1989, Focus on the Family Founder Dr. James Dobson conducted the final, exclusive interview with convicted serial killer Ted Bundy. Ted Bundy admitted to raping and killing 36 young women in the 1970's, but many experts believe the true number was closer to 100. In the interview with Dr. Dobson, Bundy described himself as a basically normal person with good friends but admitted to a very destructive secret in his life. His addiction to pornography began with "soft core pornography" from grocery stores. His addiction moved on to hard core pornography then to pornography with a violent twist. Eventually no longer satisfied with what that brought him, he moved on to living it out in the brutal rapes and murders of many young women. Most people aren't born with a deep desire to do evil. But when the right mixture of events or exposures occur along with the sin nature being aroused, people are capable of all sorts of evil. A number of years ago, while rounding on my patients, one had on, I believe the Maury Povich Show. He was discussing a book with its author and taking a poll from the audience of what they were willing to do for one million dollars. The question that I saw that was asked was, would you be willing to anonymously kill someone that you did not know and knew that you would not be caught for one million dollars? To my surprise to laughs, etc. 50% responded, yes.
We see an interchange between Elisha and Hazael, the representative of King Ben-Hadad of Syria in 2 Kings 8:10-13 in response to Ben-Hadad's question of whether or not he would recover from his illness, "And Elisha said to him, "Go, say to him, 'You shall certainly recover.' However the Lord has shown me that he will really die." Then he set his countenance in a stare until he was ashamed; and the man of God wept. And Hazael said, "Why is my lord weeping?" He answered, "Because I know the evil that you will do to the children of Israel: Their strongholds you will set on fire, and their young men you will kill with the sword; and you will dash their children, and rip open their women with child." So Hazael said, "But what is your servant-a dog, that he should do this gross thing?" And Elisha answered, "The Lord has shown me that you will become king over Syria." Hazael proceeded to go home to King Ben-Hadad and murder him after telling him that he would recover. Hazael was shocked that he would do these cruel things and didn't believe it, but immediately after, proceeded to murder the king. May we also not miss the response of Elisha when confronted with this evil, he wept. Jesus, Jeremiah and Paul also wept when they saw the sorrow in the world caused by the sin of the people.
Many people when asked about whether or not they are heaven-bound not only state that that will be their destination because of their "good works" but also often make the comment that God knows their heart. This second comment might even be more scary than the first. We read in Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?" The Bible describes the events of "good people" who were capable of horrible things. We read of Joseph's brothers in Genesis 37, selling their brother into slavery; we read of David committing adultery and murder in 2 Samuel 11; we read of one of the twelve, Judas, betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver in the gospel accounts, and so much more. Whenever a "good" person falls people state that they didn't know that person was capable of such a thing. Our sin nature is real. The world's temptations are real as is Satan. There are no day's off in our walk with God. We are all capable of doing incomprehensible things. We read in 1 Peter 5:8, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." Our defense is not our good works, our inherent goodness, our heart, but our continual abiding in God, His Word, and reliance on His strength. All other defenses will eventually break down and fail. If we rest upon the Rock of Jesus we can withstand all of the attacks of the flesh, the world and of Satan.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: