April 30, 2014 • By Ed Wrather
Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. - Isaiah 1:16c-17 NKJV.
Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. - James 4:17 NKJV.
For he who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. - 1 Peter 3:10-12 NKJV.
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. - Galatians 6:9 NKJV.
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. - Acts 10:38 NKJV.
In 2001, I wrote a devotional about a woman causing a traffic jam because she was threatening to jump off of a bridge (Over the Edge 08.30.01). Many people yelled ugly things at the woman because of the delay including telling her to go ahead and jump. Sadly, the woman did jump and it was last reported: “She is alive in critical condition with chest and abdominal injuries at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.” Since I don’t know the woman’s name I have not heard about what has happened in her life since.
This week we have a more encouraging story with Jill Hewitt in Milwaukee keeping a man from jumping off a highway overpass. Jill saw a man on an overpass who appeared to be preparing to jump. She held onto the man while another person called for help. The man kept repeating “I want to die. I want to die.” Hewitt said, “I told him I wouldn’t let him go. God meant for you not to take your own life.” Jill shared with the man some of the struggles that she had faced in her own life. (WTMJ; UPI; New York Daily News 04.29.14)
Doing good and not evil definitely appears to be God’s will for His children. Of course, that is God’s nature. God is holy. In Revelation 4:8 we are told, “The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!’” While Jesus was walking upon this earth He gave us an example. Jesus who “went about doing good.” “Doing good” and not evil, is the example we have been given by Jesus. Seems simple enough, if we want to follow Jesus, we are to do the same.
In Isaiah we are told, “Cease to do evil, learn to do good.” One of the best ways to learn is by doing. To learn to do good, we should begin to practice doing good in whatever way that we have the opportunity. There is an obvious spiritual benefit to doing good, and not evil. Here it is from 1 Peter 3, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” If we want our prayers to be answered we must cease from evil and go about doing good just as Jesus did. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want the “face of the Lord” to be “against” me!