by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Chapter 18 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Justice)

"And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee. Absalom said moreover Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the LORD, in Hebron." II Samuel 15:1-7

For 40 years Absalom spread his rebelliousness to the people one person at a time! For 40 years he undermined the authority of his own father, David!

This is a Biblical example of evil. We will see some characteristics that almost always accompany evil. I am not speaking of sin; I am speaking of evil! I am speaking of some type of conspiracy between people to hurt somebody else. The example is the sad story of a son, Absalom, and his father, David. There are twelve things that usually accompany evil.

1. Evil is usually committed by attractive people. II Samuel 14.25, "But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him." The Devil knows that if he is going to try to destroy people, he will need people with charisma to be used in that destruction.

2. Usually the evil is caused by hurt feelings from a long time ago. II Samuel 14:28, "So Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, and saw not the king's face."

Absalom's brother, Amnon, had raped his sister, Tamar, so Absalom plotted to have Amnon killed. For two years David would not allow Absalom to come before his throne. Forty-two years later, Absalom culminated his revolt against his father!

In almost every person trying to do evil, I can find something in the distant past for which they were offended. That is why it is important not to allow your hurt feelings to linger. Get it out immediately before it leads you to do evil.

3. Evil is usually a lifelong task. When David told Absalom that he could not come before his throne for two years, it festered in the heart of Absalom. For 40 years he went from person to person to spread his vicious lies concerning David. He did it one man at a time for 40 years, just like most bitter people do.

4. Evil usually begins with private conversations. So often the person who wants to injure someone else starts his campaign with one or two individuals. He may even make them feel that he is confiding in them.

5. Evil is usually against someone who helped to build the one who is telling the lies and spreading the tales. Absalom was the king's son. It was David who fed him, clothed him, trained him, loved him and educated him. Absalom got another man named Ahithophel on his side against David. Ahithophel had been a childhood friend of David. David had taken him from being a "nobody" to being his top advisor and a famous man in the land. Yet, Ahithophel turned on David the very man who had made him what he was! Even worse than that is the story of Mephibosheth, the crippled son of Jonathan and grandson of Saul. David sent his servant, Ziba, to Lo-debar to bring Mephibosheth back to the palace in honor of Saul and Jonathan. David adopted him as his own son, let him live in the palace, let him sit at the king's table and made him an heir of all that David had. Yet, Mephibosheth turned on David and conspired to do him evil!

Every pastor will tell you that the ones who turn on you are usually the ones for whom you have done the most. These evil ones will hurt you with people they would not have known without you. We have hired young men at Hyles-Anderson College who were not known outside of their own dormitory rooms. Eventually we have allowed them to speak in front of the nation at Pastors' School or Youth Conference and literally helped make the young men famous. Then they have tried to hurt us with the fame they would never have known without us. We lifted them up, so that they could kick us down!

6. It is usually against someone who has helped you in the past. Several years ago a man came to me who was experiencing serious financial problems. I helped him by making his car payment for five years; yet, that man turned on me. I could tell you story after story of people throughout my ministry whom I have helped, yet who have turned against me and who have tried to do evil to me. I am not bitter because it is what God has called me to do, but it has been that way throughout my ministry.

7. It is usually against a former hero. The very person who was the object of his admiration becomes the focal point of his evil intent.

8. Usually it is their evil that brought the conspirators of evil together. Their common cause is destruction. Wouldn't it be tragic to spend your life with a group of people with a common goal of doing nothing but destroying someone? I am thankful that the causes of my life and of those around me are to keep people from going to Hell, lift up the fallen, reclaim those who have fallen away and bring back those who have gone away!

II Samuel 15:12, "And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with A bsalom."

It was their common desire to do evil to David that brought Absalom and Ahithophel together.

9. They usually do it again. Folks are not evil because they do evil; they do evil because they are evil. When you get into the habit of doing evil, you will do it again and again. That is why it is important that you keep on doing good when someone does evil to you. The Devil would like nothing more than for you to join his crowd of evildoers. He wants you to start fighting back. You may have to defend yourself, but you can defend yourself without attacking somebody else. When evil comes your way, overcome the evil with more good!

When they do it again, they usually do it to each other! I have seen churches all over America where the pastor was attacked by some evildoers who caused the church to split. They start a new church, and within a few years, the very group that split off into another church had split again! Why? Because they are church splitters. They are evildoers!

10. Usually you will hear very little about them again. Ahithophel is not spoken of in the Bible again, nor is Mephibosheth. After Korah's rebellion he was not mentioned in the Bible anymore. Even after Barnabas left Paul, nothing he did was ever mentioned again.

You had better check and see what happened to the last batch before you ship out. In the history of Hyles-Anderson College we have had several people who were totally unknown before they came to work here. They left as nationally known people, but almost no one knows where they are now!

Before you sit down and listen to evildoers or become one yourself, you better check on what has happened to others before you. Look at what happened to Absalom. Absalom died by getting his hair caught in a tree.

11. They usually think they have outgrown their leader. A student comes to a college and sits at the feet of a great Christian leader who teaches him. He admires and respects that leader. He looks to him as a hero. Then that student gets to the place where he thinks he knows more than his teacher knows. What happened? The student failed to realize that while he was growing and learning, so was that teacher! That teacher still knows far more than the student!

I am never going to outgrow the people who got me where I am. Neither will you. You will never feel as lonely as you will feel that first night you go to bed after you have tried to destroy your leader. You will have lost a security that you will never understand until you lose it. Every person needs somebody to whom they look. If you stick with that person, you will go farther under him than you will ever go by yourself without him. You will become a greater person.

I know men who were once great "second men" in America and were known nationwide. They came to a point where they thought they had outgrown their leader and even did evil to their leader. They have gone out thinking they were going to build a great ministry, but have totally disappeared from the scene!

Many years ago I decided never to betray those who have made me what I am. I never betrayed my mother. I never betrayed my pastor. I never betrayed those who helped to put me where I am!

12. It is usually those who have built nothing on their own. So often a person thinks that if he tears down someone else, it will make him taller. However, that never works! So the person who has built nothing on his own now tries to tear down what another has successfully built.

You will not have a full, rich life by doing evil to people. You will have a full, rich life only by doing good. I could list the names of godly, good, soul-winning men who were viciously attacked and then rendered evil for evil. It destroyed their ministry. It is hard not to do. However if you will just keep on doing good, the evildoers will not cause you to lose the blessings of God by also becoming an evildoer.

There is no way you can live above sin, but you can live above evil. In the Lord's prayer, it does not say, "deliver us from sin," but from "evil." You cannot be delivered from sin, but you can be delivered from evil!


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