In an era when war, terrorism, and outright genocide has swept the Middle East – and is now sweeping over Ukraine – leaving death and destruction as far as the eye can see, it is easy to become discouraged.
One evil man after another rises to rob, kill and destroy.
Christians, Jews and Muslims are being slaughtered.
World leaders talk, talk, talk at the United Nations, but so often it feels as if the wicked are flourishing while good men and women do little or nothing.
For nearly a decade, for example, Osama bin Laden – the mastermind of the worst terrorist attack in the history of the United States, killing nearly 3,000 souls – escaped justice.
Despite the best efforts of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Mossad and the world’s leading intelligence agencies, no one could find bin Laden.
He was a ghost – invisible and untouched – and mocking the families and friends and loved ones and governments of those he had murdered in cold blood.
It was easy in those years to cry out with the Psalmist, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:1-2)
Likewise, all over the world – from Moscow to Tehran to Beijing and Pyongyang – we see ruthless, pitiless men crushing, enslaving and murdering the innocent without remorse, and seemingly without end.
In an age when darkness is falling and evil is rising and strong, wise, courageous and righteous leaders are in short supply, it is easy to grow discouraged.
But the Bible teaches us to take heart.
To fear not.
To have hope.
To trust that the Lord God Almighty is the righteous Judge who will make all things right and bring every wicked man to justice.
What’s more, the Bible teaches us that if we wholly and completely trust in Him and in His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, we can experience true “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:6) in this life, no matter how dangerous and dark and chaotic the world becomes around us.
And that we will also experience eternal salvation and peace and “joy unspeakable and full of glory” in the next life (I Peter 1:7-9), in heaven, with God Himself all those who are “born again” (see John chapter 3) through repentance and faith in Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the dead.
Though many of the “wise men” of our age say that evil is not real, the Bible teaches us that evil is real and it will spread and expand in the “last days” of history.
The Bible teaches us that there is an Enemy of our bodies and souls that God describes as a “thief.”
But the Bible also makes clear there is a Hero who comes to save and rescue us from that cruel thief.
As Jesus declared in John 10:10, “the thief comes to rob, kill, and destroy, but I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
That is very good news in a world replete with such bad news.
On page after page in the Holy Scriptures, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, God also teaches us that while the wicked seem to prosper for a time, that we need not doubt that He will bring them to a fitting end.
And, in His sovereign timing, God will bring all sin and evil and sadness to an end, and usher true believers in the Messiah into a new world, indeed, into a New Jerusalem.
Consider just a few examples:
- “[T]he Lord of hosts will have a day of reckoning against everyone who is proud and lofty, and against everyone who is lifted up, that he may be abased….The pride of man will be humbled and the loftiness of man will be abased; and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.” (Isaiah 2:12)
- “God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day. If a man does not repent, He will sharpen His sword; He has bent His bow and made it ready. He also has prepared for Himself deadly weapons; He makes His arrows fiery shafts.” (Psalm 7:11-12)
- “Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will whither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart….Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land. Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; and you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.” (Psalm 37:1-3, 8-10)
- “Vengeance is Mine, and retribution,” says the Lord. “In due time their foot will slip; for the day of their calamity is near, and the impending things are hastening upon them.” (Deuteronomy 32:35)
- “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,’” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)
- “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12)
- “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:1-5)
In such dark times, let such words bring us hope.
Let them calm and gladden our hearts.
The following men once terrorized us, yet today they are no more.
- May 2, 2011 – Osama bin Laden, the Saudi founder and spiritual leader and chief strategist and spokesman for al Qaeda, was shot and killed by U.S. special forces on a nighttime raid on his secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, at the age of 54
- July 31, 2022 – Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian co-founder of al Qaeda and its chief strategist after the death of bin Laden, was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, at the age of 71.
- June 7, 2006 – Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian founder of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI, which later morphed into ISIS), was killed by a U.S. airstrike in Iraq at the age of 39.
- January 3, 2020 – Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian terror mastermind and head of Iran’s elite Quds Force terrorist organization (part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC), was killed by a U.S. airstrike at the age of 62.
- October 27, 2019 – Abu Baker al-Baghdadi, the Syrian head of the genocidal Islamic State caliphate (a.k.a., ISIS and ISIL), was killed in a raid by U.S. Special Forces at the age of 48.
There are other men today – from Russian President Vladimir Putin to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to the leaders of Communist China and North Korea – who are hellbent on robbing, killing and destroying.
But they, too, shall come to a fitting end and meet their Judge.
Our job is not to fear that justice won’t be done.
Our job is to make sure that we show love, mercy and great kindness in the name of Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit to all those who are suffering from their cruelty.
Is such a task easy?
But let us be found faithful, so that when we see our Messiah face to face one day we will hear from His lips, “Well done, My good and faithful servant; you were faithful in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your Master.” (Matthew 25:23)