Dennis Prager, in his commentary on Exodus, wrote about the few in this world’s history that can be truly called evil. In writing this, he wrote from the perspective of a moral society. But he made an interesting point that, I think, needs some additional attention. He said for evil to take root, you need three things to occur:
1) Ordinary people allow themselves to be taught, indoctrinated;
2) Those same ordinary people to benefit from the evil work promoted on the people (what he had in mind here was the central government legalizing stealing, for instance, and the recipients of those stolen goods going to others of the state), and,
3) A lack of courage existing within. These are some powerful thoughts and, perhaps, some additional points can be added to it. I want to give attention to the word courage. Courage defined means the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous (Merriam Webster online).
I suggest there is something else that needs to be added to this definition, that is, one must have a moral compass that is firmly anchored. Two women in Exodus 1 have their names written down for all to see their courage. Their names are Shiphrah and Puah. They resisted the king of Egypt’s decree to kill the male children that came from the womb. They did this because “the midwives feared God” (1:17). Without God as the moral foundation, a courageous stand is not as firm. People can have moral courage without the Lord, but the moral courage they have anchored in something other than the Lord is a false hope, and a false hope that ends in personal disaster.
The Holy Spirit, in 2 Corinthians 13:5, said regarding each Christian, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (ESV) Take inventory; what is the moral force within you that generates your thinking, speaking, and taking a stand. Is it of God? How do you know, and can you defend it when another asks you about it (cf. 1 Pet. 3:15)? It’s easy to say, “I will not deny you, even if I have to die with you!” (remember Peter?), but it’s another thing when you are put to the test and your knees wobble. Wobbly knees are not an indication of a lack of courage, but an illustration of the difficulty of taking a stand when you must stand firm against the “god of this world” and the influences wielded. Courage is not, simply, the ability to stand up to exterior forces of evil, it is also the strength to stand up to and against our own moral and spiritual failings. How courageous are you? Ron Thomas, Sunrush church of Christ, Chillicothe, OH