Deceived vs. Wicked
Several months ago, I heard a soft voice say: “Do not defend the wicked. On the day that I bring down ones whom the Church has thought pure, if you defend the judged, you will be contending against Me.”
In the months since, I have allowed myself to be challenged, even stretched, as I sought scriptural understanding. This is my understanding, and I believe that it is a right-now word for the Church: Saul of Tarsus was deceived; Jezebel was wicked. The thief who asked to be with Jesus when He came into His Kingdom had been deceived; the thief who continued mocking and jeering Jesus was wicked. Rahab was deceived; Delilah was wicked.
Saul of Tarsus (who became the Apostle Paul), the thief whom Jesus said would be with Him in the kingdom, and the prostitute Rahab (who is a part of Jesus’ earthly ancestry) were all changed for the better through their encounters with God. They are no longer counted among the wicked. Today the Church must recognize the difference between the wicked and the deceived, because our collective lack of understanding has given Satan access to our families, the Church, and the nations that he should never have had.
I believe that if we continue in our collective ignorance about the distinction God makes between the two, many will unnecessarily remain among those ignorantly contending against God. Where wickedness is concerned, scriptural revelations abound as regards God’s heart and intent. It was the pervasive, unrepentant, and unrelenting wickedness of the people of Noah’s day that brought about the flood: The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5 ESV) — with “every” meaning all, and “continually” meaning nonstop. At that time, only Noah was found to be righteous and was granted a way of escape for himself and his family. The wicked were all destroyed, because they had refused God’s love and warnings. Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out (Proverbs 24:19–20 ESV) is another example of the unhappy outcome for the wicked.
Like Paul, Rahab and the repentant thief, we too were once counted among the deceived before our redemption. In our self-deception, we participated in what God considers wicked. We were the wandering, prodigal children of Abba — prodigals for whom others interceded — but God! At a pivotal time in our lives, when confronted about our wicked ways, we said yes to Him in our valley of decision. He had graciously already gifted us the perfect atonement. The wicked, however, are those who have continually rebuffed God’s voice or whose intent was never truly for the good; they may have been playing church, or perhaps they’ve been using God’s name as a commodity and a cover while every intent and thought of their heart was wicked. For them — as for the faithful — what has been sown shall soon be reaped. And for those of us watching as their recompense comes upon them, the wrong response would be to defend them against God. We witness examples of such a mistaken defense when congregations shield pro-infanticide pastors, or when church leaders known to have misused their authority and their access to abuse women and children are protected from exposure and from righteous justice. This is tainted fruit masquerading as grace. Though not spoken correctly concerning Job’s walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Elihu’s wisdom nonetheless rings true: “Mighty God! Far beyond our reach! Unsurpassable in power and justice! It’s unthinkable that he’d treat anyone unfairly. So bow to him in deep reverence, one and all! If you’re wise, you’ll most certainly worship Him” (Job 37:23–24 MSG).
There is still time for some of the wicked to experience a radical, life-giving encounter with God. Pray with me that many will. Also, prepare to be ones who remain faithful throughout the shaking and judgment in His house, and let us not become like those who complain or contend against God’s faithfulness to do all He has promised. Let’s ask God to reveal if any man, woman, or organization has replaced Him as their first love — the one for whom we ought to forsake all others. Ask Him to prepare our hearts to trust His love and justice. He will comfort us when people we may have respected and still love are exposed for having chosen their own way. And finally, let us together trust Him to put a song of praise in our hearts through it all.
How are you praying for the wicked and the deceived? Share your thoughts and prayers below.
Mavourene Robinson is a homeschool mom, an author, and an intercessor. A former human resources professional, she began full-time ministry in 2014. Mavourene is a lifelong learner about the intersections of faith with international relations and domestic policy, and she is active in intercession for family, government, education, and religion. Photo Credit: Paul Wong on Unsplash.
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