Why Does Evil Succeed?

SERIES: Jesus and The Disinherited

SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR OCTOBER 28–NOVEMBER 3, 2020

Aim: After students have studied this lesson they should see the responsibility of taking action because evil succeeds when good people do nothing!  Christians have a responsibility to vote and to select someone who is for EVERYONE and not for self!

INTRODUCTION:

When Edward Everett Hale was Chaplain of the Senate, someone asked him, “do you pray for the senators, Dr. Hale?”  He replied – “no, I look at the senators and then I pray for the country!” 

Never before in the history of our country, our time, has it been more important for the country to pray BEFORE an election!  Never before in the history of our country, our time, has it been more important for the country to just PRAY before, during and after this election! 

Life is full of choices and the decision you make decides your destiny.  We, as children of God, must learn to make wise choices. 

Background:

There was a son of Gideon, the judge of Israel, named Abimelech who was born through the concubine of Gideon. This fact that he was not among the 70 sons of Gideon who were the offspring of Gideon’s wife blocked his desire for rulership. He realized that if any of the 70 sons remained alive, he had no chance of becoming a ruler. He got support from the Shechemites, the people of his mother, and killed the 70 sons of Gideon on one stone (Judges 9:5). However, Jotham, the youngest one, escaped. Now, Abimelech was crowned the king by the Shechemites. When Jotham heard about this, he put forward the parable.

The trees decide to have a king over them. This decision itself was an unwise one since trees need no king over them.

Note: Judges 9:8-15 is the first parable in the Bible, and it concerns politics.

Judges 9:8-15 ESV

8     The trees once went out to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’

9     But the olive tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my abundance, by which gods and men are honored, and go hold sway over the trees?’

10   And the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and reign over us.’

11   But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit and go hold sway over the trees?’

12   And the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us.’

13   But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my wine that cheers God and men and go hold sway over the trees?’

14   Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us.’

15   And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If in good faith you are anointing me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade, but if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’

  • Many nations change leadership with bullets.
  • Americans are blessed to changes leaders with ballots.

Judges 9:1-7 ESV

1     Now Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother’s relatives and said to them and to the whole clan of his mother’s family,

2     “Say in the ears of all the leaders of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Jerubbaal rule over you, or that one rule over you?’ Remember also that I am your bone and your flesh.”

3     And his mother’s relatives spoke all these words on his behalf in the ears of all the leaders of Shechem, and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is our brother.”

4     And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal-berith with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, who followed him.

5     And he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid himself.

6     And all the leaders of Shechem came together, and all Beth-millo, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar at Shechem. 

7     When it was told to Jotham, he went and stood on top of Mount Gerizim and cried aloud

The Trees’ Election

  • The Olive Tree                   Productively honoring
    • The Fig Tree                      Productively sweetening
    • The Grape Vine               Productively cheering
    • The Bramble                     Unproductively shady

Lessons from the Parable of the Trees’ Election

How does a Christian determine who to select?

  1. Is the person earnestly Christian or became a Christian for political expediency?
  2. Understand that being “Born Again” is not enough.In present-day America, candidates seem eager to tell us they are “born again” rather than show us they are.Political cycles often begin with ghost-written books appearing on Christian bookstore shelves.A candidate may have a deep personal faith and clean personal morality, and still make decisions at a societal level that do harm to the poor and oppressed.
  3. The Necessity of IntegrityIntegrity means “whole” or completeCharacter is “who you are when nobody is watching”.Holders of political office are subject to many temptations:MoneySexPowerHas the candidate already shown certain vulnerabilities when it comes to accountability?

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time!”

Maya Angelou

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

Abraham Lincoln

  • If we ever aspire to do away with corruption, we must elect leaders with good character
  • Which version of Christianity have they embraced?
  • Uniting or Polarizing?
  • Addressing the concerns of the poor or the concerns of the rich?
  • How a society treats its most vulnerable is a tremendously important!
  • Advocate for the voiceless or catering to the powerful?
  • Engaging social justice or passive on social justice?
  • Are they intellectually and morally qualified for the demands of the office?

Isaiah 44:28 (CEV)I am also the one who says, “Cyrus will lead my people and obey my orders. Jerusalem and the temple will be rebuilt.”

  • Christians and all good people must be engaged in civic responsibilities
  • The outcome was not the bramble’s fault!
  • When good people don’t step up, evil people will!

Proverbs 29:18 ESV – Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.

  • We need to aware of what the candidates vision is.
  • The candidate needs to be able to articulate the vision; a positive vision
  • It needs to be a positive vision that the most vulnerable in society (the boys, girls, old men and women, homeless and the list goes on) are thriving.
  • Christian Principles for Selecting a Candidate
  • Reject Self-Centered Politics
  • Reject candidates that promote divisive politics, securing votes by setting groups against each other
  • Example: In Post 9/11 America, fear has been a driving political force
  • Fear of Islam
  • Fear of Immigration
  • Fear of job loss
  • Fear-driven politics creates a culture of paranoia
  • The Christian response: Fearlessly believe that we can create a better and more peaceful world.
  • America in the 1960s – A lively vision of a world without
  • Poverty
  • War
  • Injustice
  • America since the 1970s – A culture of self-centeredness
  • “Me” Decades
  • Evaluate a candidate not by what they promise to do for me as an individual but rather, what can you do to offer every American opportunities for:
  • Education
  • Safety
  • A clean environment
  • Healthcare
  • Social Justice

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

? Edmund Burke

Vote and let your voice be heard!

  VOICE                                                                                VOICE

  OF                                     Changed to                                  OF

  THE                                                                                       THE

  Entitled                                                                          EXPLOITED

PRAYER PRINCIPLE:                     Ask God for guidance in every aspect of your life especially when it comes to those who would effect change in the lives of those not as fortunate as you.

SOCIAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLE:       Encourage others to cast a ballot that would effect change in their life.

EVANGELISM PRINCIPLE:            Share with others how Christ elected himself to die in our place so that we would have the rite to eternal life.

STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE:            Giving helps foster change; be persistent and consistent in your giving.

DISCIPLESHIP PRINCIPLE:            After the election is over and it appears that your vote didn’t matter, take the next step by holding the elected accountable for what they have promised they would do. Make your voice heard at the ballot box and on the voice box; pester them as much as they pestered you pre-election.

NEXT WEEK’S TITLE:         Do You See Me?

SERIES:  Jesus and the Disinherited

NEXT WEEK’S READING ASSIGNMENT:        Job 4:7-8; Luke 18:9-14; James 2:1-9; Luke 14:12-14; Romans 2:11; Colossians 3:25; Ephesians 6:9; Acts 10:34-35; Proverbs 22:2; Luke 4:18; Isaiah 61:1

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