Daily Devotional is a ministry of the Living Church.
View this email in your browser

Daily Devotional • May 12

Michael Smith
Resisting Evil
A Reading from Wisdom 16:15-17:1

15 To escape from thy hand is impossible;
16 for the ungodly, refusing to know thee,
were scourged by the strength of thy arm,
pursued by unusual rains and hail and relentless storms,
and utterly consumed by fire.
17 For—most incredible of all—in the water, which quenches all things,
the fire had still greater effect,
for the universe defends the righteous.
18 At one time the flame was restrained,
so that it might not consume the creatures sent against the ungodly,
but that seeing this they might know
that they were being pursued by the judgment of God;
19 and at another time even in the midst of water it burned more intensely than fire,
to destroy the crops of the unrighteous land.

20 Instead of these things thou didst give thy people food of angels,
and without their toil thou didst supply them from heaven with bread ready to eat,
providing every pleasure and suited to every taste.
21 For thy sustenance manifested thy sweetness toward thy children;
and the bread, ministering to the desire of the one who took it,
was changed to suit every one’s liking.
22 Snow and ice withstood fire without melting,
so that they might know that the crops of their enemies
were being destroyed by the fire that blazed in the hail
and flashed in the showers of rain;
23 whereas the fire, in order that the righteous might be fed,
even forgot its native power.

24 For creation, serving thee who hast made it,
exerts itself to punish the unrighteous,
and in kindness relaxes on behalf of those who trust in thee.
25 Therefore at that time also, changed into all forms,
it served thy all-nourishing bounty,
according to the desire of those who had need,
26 so that thy sons, whom thou didst love, O Lord, might learn
that it is not the production of crops that feeds man,
but that thy word preserves those who trust in thee.
27 For what was not destroyed by fire
was melted when simply warmed by a fleeting ray of the sun,
28 to make it known that one must rise before the sun to give thee thanks,
and must pray to thee at the dawning of the light;
29 for the hope of an ungrateful man will melt like wintry frost,
and flow away like waste water.

1 Great are thy judgments and hard to describe;
therefore uninstructed souls have gone astray.

The universe defends the righteous.

A few days before I wrote this devotional, evil opened fire, in the guise of a deranged gunman, in a shopping mall in Allen, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, leaving eight dead and seven wounded. These all-too-common events in schools, grocery stores, workplaces, and churches leave us with the unanswerable question about why bad things happen to good people. Does the universe really defend the righteous? I think part of our understanding is that until Christ returns, we must contend with evil in all its forms, traditionally understood as the world, the flesh, and the devil.

At baptism, we promise to “persevere in resisting evil,” and that we must (BCP 304). But what are we to do about these cases where the political world is so divided between those who advocate for gun control and those who say that mental health services are needed more?

As an inheritor of the Christian faith as expressed in Anglicanism, Episcopalians are more a “both/and” rather than “either/or” kind of people. I am going to support politicians who are both working for tougher background checks and the banning of assault weapons and those who support mental health services. 

What about you? I think the universe in part defends the righteous through us.

Michael G. Smith served as bishop of North Dakota for 15 years and is currently assists in the dioceses of Dallas and Albany. He is a Benedictine Oblate and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Ten wonderful grandchildren call him “Papa Mike.”

Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

The Diocese of Sunyani – The Church of the Province of West Africa
All Saints Church, Chevy Chase, Maryland
Subscribe to Daily Devotionals

Forward to a Friend

You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Our mailing address is:
The Living Church
P.O. Box 510705
Milwaukee, WI 53203

Add us to your address book

Copyright © 2023 The Living Church, All rights reserved.