‘Praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people.’ Acts 2:47a
‘God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem’ (NIV translation 1984). When the peace between brothers is gone, we sometimes justify ourselves by declaring ourselves victims of evil powers. Yet here we read, that God sent an evil spirit, so that Abimelech’s crime would be punished. At first sight, it seems strange that God would send an evil spirit, but we so often read this in the Bible that we should better submit to this truth.
In the New Testament we can read something similar in Romans 1:28: ‘They did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.’
Abimelech did not reckon with God and he went a horrible way. The peace God had given for forty years when Gideon was judge, was over…
So often, an evil spirit is lording over people, who should have been brothers and sisters. Others try to bring the factions together, but to no good, on the contrary, the spirit is only stirred up! Insinuation and gossip run riot and the division makes powerless!
Through the history of the church of Jesus Christ, God has had to leave believers to an evil spirit, bringing hate and discord.
How long must God still wait for willingness on both sides, for each one personally, to bow down before Him so that He can give peace again?! Only then will the church truly be one, praising its Lord and bringing such peace that it will enjoy the favour of the whole world around it!