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“Depart from evil and do good…” Ps 34:14


hat is it that we do not understand about this?  Abraham understood it as he packed his bags to leave Ur of the Chaldees.  Moses understood it as he turned his back on Egypt with all the pleasures of sin that are but for a season.  Noah understood it as he built his famous ark and “by faith condemned the world.”  Depart!  This is the first half of holiness.   It seems today we are having difficulty understanding this simple, basic, and free advice from God.  Lot had a hard time with this as well.  Today there are lots of Lots.  It seems he was reluctant to leave Sodom.  God had to send his angels to actually escort him from the city. 

 “Depart from evil” is the first part of holiness. John put it this way: “Love not the world, neither the things in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”  1Jn. 215-17. 

 When those planes hit the towers of the World Trade Center thousands (those who survived the initial impact) immediately began to descend the stairs in an effort to evacuate the building.  Many heroic efforts were made to help the injured and wounded to escape.  For some unknown reason an announcement was made shortly after the exodus had begun that “everything was safe and secure” and that people should “return to their offices.”  Those who believed that, and returned to their work stations, were never seen again.  “Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity (2Tim. 2:19).

 Departing from evil is only half of holiness however.  We are enjoined also to do “good.”  That is what the Lord Jesus did (Acts 10:38).  God is good.

 This world (not the physical, but the moral and spiritual) is an evil and deadly place.  Physically and socially it can be beautiful, but spiritually speaking it is on fire and will collapse in one great pile of ruin.  It seems ludicrous, madness, and fanaticism to sound the alarm and tell people that an evil terrorist named Satan has crashed his misguided intentions into the towers of civilization to say nothing of the pentagon of the human heart, but it is so.  While we need not, nor can, run from the physical realities and responsibilities of the world (Jn. 17:15), we need to pack out bags for heaven.  As this Titanic sinks every saint must hurry to every cabin door and warn  of others that time is running out.  We must depart from the evil. 

There is no greater good than preaching the Good News of the Gospel.   There is no greater good or calling than pointing others to the only way out of the burning building or sinking ship.  “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”  Evil collided with good at a place called Mount Calvary.  It is there and only there that we can stand by faith and find the power to depart from evil and do good.