Well, it happened again – but this time in Japan. A would-be car-jacker, Ushio Sato, saw a ripe plumb-of-a-car in the early morning hours of Monday, September 25. He decided to try and steal it and – to his delight – the driver’s door was unlocked.
Reaping and Sowing
But what looked like an “easy picking” turned very bad. The car was an unmarked patrol vehicle, loaded with four policemen. After Sato gasped in horror, he did an abrupt about-face and ran for his life. Unfortunately for the 23-year-old car thief, the police were in far better shape than he was. They easily overtook, tackled, and arrested him.
The news is filled with stories about bad people who bite off a whole lot more than they can chew. Such stories are also found in the Bible. For instance, there’s the story of one of the darkest periods in Israel’s history, when the Philistine army defeated Israel in battle and then captured the sacred Ark of the Covenant (1 Samuel 4-6). It seemed like a terrible defeat for God.
Evil’s Embarrassment-God’s Glory
The Philistines first paraded the Ark before their people and then presented it as a gift to their god Dagon in his temple. Bad idea. The next morning the statue of Dagon was flat on his face before the Ark of the LORD. But they chalked it up as a mere coincidence and simply stood Dagon back on his feet again. Another bad idea. For the next day Dagon had fallen before the Ark of God again, only this time he was broken to bits.
And it wasn’t only Dagon who had his ups and downs. The whole city of Ashdod was afflicted with plagues, with people suffering sickness and death. They demanded that the Ark be sent to another Philistine city, first to Gath, then to Ekron. The results were the same in those cities.
Wherever the Ark was taken as a prize, its population suffered terribly – until they finally gave up and sent the Ark back to its rightful place – the land of Israel. They realized that they had bitten off far more than they could chew when they tried to tangle with God.
God is Undefeated
Fortunately for the Philistines, they wised up quickly – unlike another “thief” in the Bible who tried to steal from God. The Philistines reminded themselves of Pharaoh and how he had refused to let go of God’s people, Israel (1 Samuel 6:6). As a result of Pharaoh’s hard-heartedness and refusal to release God’s people, Egypt was devastated. And Israel escaped Egypt all the same – only greatly enriched by Egypt’s treasures.
This story has been repeated a thousand-fold. Again and again we read in the Scripture, or see in our own experience, that Evil’s victory is only a shallow and temporary one.
The good and great purposes of God will always prevail in the end.
Certainly there will be those times when our faith is challenged, when it appears as though evil has prevailed. There are even those troubling biblical passages in which the righteous are said to be “overcome” by Satan and his “beasts” (Daniel 7:21, 25; Revelation 11:7; 13:7, 15). But this only refers to the physical death and martyrdom of the righteous – which from heaven and eternity’s point of view is their ultimate triumph over evil (Revelation 15:2).
The Scripture speaks emphatically, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them” (Revelation 14:13). “Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His godly ones” (Psalm 116:15). However a believer in Jesus dies, his or her death means everlasting deliverance from this world of corruption, evil, and pain.
They are forever out of Satan’s reach and forever in God’s embrace.
All storms, sickness, and pain are forever behind them and every tear is dried from their eyes (Revelation 21:3-7). And even while we dwell here below, Paul the apostle declared, “In all these things (tribulation, persecution, famine, sickness, demonic attacks, and death) we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
Almighty and merciful Father, I thank and praise You that nothing can separate me from the love of Christ. And even if evil touches me and those I love, the love of Christ will cause all things to work together for my good and Your glory. Turn all my curses, dear Father, into blessings and make me triumphant through Jesus Christ. Amen.