Why does boasting evil flourish? What is God going to do about the evil in this world?

It's easy to feel defeated when we see wickedness in the world. How can a loving God allow such evil to prevail? What must the righteous keep in mind to combat the anger and rage at wickedness?

Man, not God, is the chargeable cause and author of evil in the world.

Exposure to evil is unavoidable. The recent attacks on Christians in Sri Lanka remind us that we are never far removed from evil. The movie event Unplanned reminds of the atrocities that are being committed daily against unborn babies in this world. Such evil has always been with us. 1 Samuel 21-22 reports unthinkable evil in David's day: the senseless slaughter of 85 priests who wore the ephod along with their wives and children by wicked Doeg the Edomite. The killing spree did not end there, but included the whole town of Nob: men, women, and children along with cattle, donkeys and sheep. All this happened merely for unbridled selfish advancement! The heading of Psalm 52 indicates this historic evil event was the backdrop of its writing. In this Psalm, David imparts invaluable lessons as we come face to face with pure evil. In this Psalm he sings that humanity, not God, is the chargeable cause and author of evil in the world.

David exposes the source of evil (Psalm 52:1-4).

David turns on its head the natural tendency for man to interrogate God for the allowance of evil in this universe. Instead he interrogates the true source of evil, mankind! Evil is the product of men, in contrast to the product of God. Man boasts in his evil deeds. God, in contrast, is loyal in his lovingkindness. His lovingkindness endures all day long! As such, it is not tied to the actions and deeds of men. God’s lovingkindness is not a response but a settled disposition to all of mankind. The cross itself proclaims to the world that God loves them as a settled disposition, even though they are sinners!

Evil is served by the tongue of man (Psalm 52:2, James 3:1-12). Evil resides in the very affections of man (Psalm 52:3-4). Mankind has a desperate sin problem that resides in our very affections. We love evil in our sin nature! Moral corruption follows on the heels of total depravity (Romans 1:21-25).

David exposes the true source of evil. The question from David’s lips is not how a loving God can allow such evil, but rather how a man created in God’s image can perpetrate such active evil. David exposes the reality that man is not fundamentally good. His tongue and affections are corrupt. We sin because we are sinners.

David delineates God’s punishment of evil (Psalm 52:5-7).

God’s punishment for evil will be final (verse 5). David understands the primary significance of the fact that man’s life is but a vapor; it appears for a while and then is gone (James 4:14). This has two implications for the presence of evil. First, the evil of any man has a fatal limitation: it exists only while he/she is alive. Thank God that there is no immortality to evil influence! Secondly, there are no second chances in the afterlife. Once torn from the land of the living, what is left is “forever.” In that place called forever, the evil are being broken down by no one less than God Himself. The afterlife is no a passive place for God. He is active!

God’s punishment on evil is instructive (verse 6) for the righteous and for the evil. God’s punishment on evil is just (verse 7). Evil is expressed fundamentally in man’s will. Evil desires are well-developed and intentional. Evil disembowels the worship of God.

David exemplifies God’s intention for the righteous in the face of evil (Psalm 52:8-9).

Who are the righteous? They are those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. The righteous are those who recognize that evil in the world is not God’s doing but man's, and that they in fact have evil in their own hearts that needs God’s forgiveness. This is the settled disposition of those who look to the cross where God poured out his wrath on Jesus for all the evil in the world and in people. The cross is the ultimate reality that teaches a simple, clear lesson: although there is unbridled evil in the world and in your heart and mine, God still loves us! He sent his Son Jesus to live a perfect life and die a death of infinite merit so He can forgive your sin and mine.

Once we have put our trust and faith in Jesus, how can we know for sure that God knows us as righteous? David was assured of His righteous standing. He loved God’s house; he trusted in God’s lovingkindness; he was thankful for God’s sovereignty; and he was patiently willing to wait just like all the other godly ones on God’s good character.

God is not the chargeable cause and author of evil in this world; we are! God in his lovingkindness is patient, willing that none should perish but that all should come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior (2 Peter 3:9). There are times, however, when God does punish evil; and He will do so comprehensively, as the cup of His wrath is filling up. The punctuated times He judges evil in our lifetimes are to serve as warnings to evil men to forsake their evil and turn to Jesus. For the righteous, evil serves as a time to teach us to patiently wait just like all the other godly ones on God’s good character and continue the mission of seeking disciples of Jesus Christ.