“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!”
True or False?
I’ve referenced this quote hundreds of times. And a poll concluded that the quote is the most popular one of modern times. Americans wholeheartedly embrace it.
But what if I told you the quote is neither Scriptural, nor inspired. Truthfully, it promotes a very humanistic view of the world.
Yes, this famous quote is anti-biblical for a number of reasons.
So am I suggesting good men should do nothing?
OF COURSE NOT!
But I am saying that we too often accept as “gospel truth” what our traditions teach us, our parents pass down, or our culture inculcates.
In this case, there is pressure from the statement itself because no one wants to be a bad man, so to be a “good man” we must do something. Then, our traditions, our peers, or our echo-chambers, are all there to tell us what we must do.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s dissect what’s wrong with the quote from a biblical standpoint.
1️⃣ First, evil at times does triumph (temporarily), even at God’s command or order, for His greater purposes. (Hold on… read on.)
2️⃣ Second, at times good men are told, by God, to stand down, to do nothing, and to let evil triumph (momentarily). In fact, we are told that at times, fighting evil is akin to fighting against God. (Keep reading…)
3️⃣ Third, the quote implies that “nothing” equals not doing something. So it is a call to “action.” One must do something. But “not acting” is not the same as “not doing.”
Now let me reiterate, THIS IS NOT A CALL TO DO NOTHING. But it is a challenge to go to God’s Word to see what God has to say about evil, what He might be doing, and what our role is in responding to it. So let’s look at the three points above in greater detail.
1️⃣ First, when we suggest “evil triumphs” we have a very short sighted understanding of triumph. We fail to understand that our ways and thoughts are not God’s ways and thoughts. We ignore the truth that for God, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day (2 Peter 3:8). There is no ultimate triumphing of evil. There is only what God sovereignly allows, or causes, momentarily. I will share a story from the Old Testament in just a bit, but let’s look at the second point from above.
2️⃣ At times, good men are told, by God, to stand down and to do nothing, as in take no action. As a result, evil will triumph (momentarily). What??? You mean God allows, or causes , what we call evil and then He asks us to not act? Yep. He absolutely does as Scripture reveals. While we will never fully understand God’s thoughts or ways (He Himself tells us this) we can study what He does and begin to conclude How He acts, at times.
The Old Testament is replete with stories that give us a peek into who God is and how He acts. I’ll cite just one. The southern kingdom of Israel, called Judah, had regularly strayed from God, throughout its existence. As a result, God ultimately punished it by bringing a foreign power to conquer it and take its citizens into captivity. The following passages tells us what was going to happen, why it would happen, and what Judah’s response should be:
“Now Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him there, saying, “Why do you prophesy as you do? You say, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will capture it. Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape the Babylonians but will certainly be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and will speak with him face to face and see him with his own eyes. He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, where he will remain until I deal with him, declares the Lord. If you fight against the Babylonians, you will not succeed.’” Jeremiah 32:3-5
Continuing with this additional passage, the evil that was coming was described, and yet Judah was to not resist:
“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Therefore this is what the Lord says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who will capture it. The Babylonians who are attacking this city will come in and set it on fire; they will burn it down, along with the houses where the people aroused my anger by burning incense on the roofs to Baal and by pouring out drink offerings to other gods. “The people of Israel and Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth; indeed, the people of Israel have done nothing but arouse my anger with what their hands have made, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 32:27-30
So God tells His people that an evil power was going to triumph over them (which they brought on themselves). And they were told that if they fought against that power, they would not succeed. How does that reconcile with the famous quote above?
3️⃣ Our role is to listen to our Captain to determine what, if anything, we are to do. From Judah, we learn that there are times when TO ACT IS TO SIN. As Americans, this is a tough principle to accept. We are action oriented. So when God tells us to “be still” or to not act (do nothing), it goes against the grain of who we are as a people.
“Not acting” though is not the same as “not doing.” There is a time to act, and a time not to act. But there is one “do” that we should never cease from doing. It is the most powerful “doing” you can ever undertake, and it will guide and empower you when you are finally called to rise up and act. The do that is more important than any action is this: “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Our first, and overriding, response to evil should always be prayer. This is the greatest weapon any believer can have when faced with evil. Yet how often do we either forget, or we don’t really consider this as “doing?” When was the last time you or I sweat drops of blood, or just shed tears of anguish, for the evil we were confronting? Jesus did.
Evil is spiritual. Prayer is spiritual. The battle is always spiritual. So we must start, and finish, there: Prayer!
At the end of the day, all evil is only vanquished spiritually. This is not to say that we cannot, or should not take practical, physical steps to address evil. But when doing so, it should only be as we are directly commanded or called to do such. And we should never believe the other false parallel quote that states, “if it’s to be, it’s up to me.”
When evil is defeated, it’s always a God thing. We see this in another famous story in the Old Testament, involving a man named Gideon. God pared Gideon’s army down from 32,000 men to only 300. God then took that band of men, equipped them with lamps and trumpets, and told them to just blow their instruments and shout. No swords, slingshots, or physical weapons. Just men who trusted and obeyed God. And God told them why He used such an unconventional manner to defeat the evil in their midst:
“The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’” Judges 7:2
Sadly, men are prideful beings. We love to take credit for good. But if there is any good that occurs, or if evil is defeated, it is only God. First, middle and last. We might be a tool to achieve that defeat, or we might not.
But to boil down evil and why it occurs and “triumphs” to a simple humanistic explanation of “good men doing nothing” ignores all of the Bible and tempts you and me to act first, and pray or consider God last, if at all. This quote would have you believe that to do less, or different, makes you a “bad man” and insures the defeat of good, which means God (since God is good).
God cannot be defeated. Nor is His future dependent on your strength or action. What He desires is for you and me to be so close to Him, that when He commands us to be still, we hear Him. And when He commands us to shout, we shout!
But in the meantime, those who call Jesus their Savior should start with “Pray without ceasing.”
The government has been talking about fiscal responses and solutions to the nightmare the coronavirus pandemic is wreaking in our nation and world. Those responses include multi-trillion dollar price tags. Given the panic and hysteria that we see from across this nation, does anyone really know whether such responses will help, or just postpone the inevitable collapse of an economy that has been propped up, for too many decades, by destructive credit policies? Is it possible that the coronavirus is simply the proverbially, “straw that finally broke the camel’s back?”
A couple of weeks ago, in a knee-jerk response, the current administration offered a $1 trillion “mini solution” and the markets tanked as it was being announced. Then, a week ago, the President suggested the idea of stimulus checks of $1,000 to every American, with a price tag of approximately $1 trillion dollars. But Trump had no more gotten that idea out of his mouth, when others were suggesting that wasn’t enough. Now, that “measly” trillion dollars has ballooned to $3-4 trillion and the individual stimulus checks are several thousand dollars for most citizens. And if I were a betting man, I’d wager we still haven’t seen the upward limit of the free money that is going to be printed up and distributed to a populace in need.
There is no doubt that our families, neighbors and citizens are in need. Consider that 80% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and millions of our neighbors have now lost their jobs for an indefinite period of time because of the closure of their employers by our government. The ability for these unemployed families to even pay for toilet paper (if it were available), but more importantly bread, eggs and milk, is not just limited, but unlikely.
▪️Is Government Liable?
So, if the government, in its estimation, believes that shutting down businesses is the best course of action to protect lives, then it seems that government is liable for making the affected workers (and perhaps businesses) whole. Without debating the decision itself, I believe under any other circumstances, this would likely be the conclusion of any court were it to be adjudicated in front of a judge.
There has never been a scenario like this in our history, of which I’m aware. But the bigger issue is this. Even if the government is liable to the individuals it is harming by its efforts to protect lives, how does our government cover its liability? In an ordinary situation between two parties, if one party harms another, the offending party must make the offended party whole, OUT OF ITS OWN RESOUCES.
In this case, the government is the offending party (in an effort to save lives, which I happen to agree with). The unemployed citizens are the offended party. So what are the government’s resources? Resources equal assets. But one cannot ignore liabilities when discussing resources. In the case of our nation, not only do we have a current national debt of $23,000,000,000,000 (that’s trillion), but we have additional unfunded liabilities for things like Medicare, Medicaid, and such, that total over $150 Trillion in debt. We don’t have the ability to pay the $23 trillion in current debt, so do you think we can pay the $150 trillion that is coming due in the upcoming years?
So where are the trillions going to come from to cover these stimulus checks and bailouts that are forthcoming? Yes, I’ve read that some of the amounts extended by the Feds will be in the form of loans, but that begs the question. Where do all the trillions of dollars come from? The answer is they will come from the same unsound credit policies as the Feds have used for years to cover their previous trillion dollar deficits.
▪️Your Rich Uncle
Consider this though. If you were living lavishly for decades off of a credit card that had an unlimited credit line from your rich uncle, and your uncle finally stepped up and said, “No More!” what would that do to your lifestyle? Particularly, what would you do when the uncle demanded you pay the credit card balance, when you had no ability to do so? Can you say BANKRUPTCY?
In this case, the “rich uncle” for America has been the exceptional privilege America has profited off of as the world’s reserve currency. Other nations and investors have extended credit to us for decades because we were perceived to be a better risk than any other option out there. But more and more, our stellar credit status has been dropping. And again, if I were a betting man, I would wager that this vast Ponzi scheme that our Federal government has been engaged in for years, with the help of both political parties, is about to come to an end.
Am I a doomsday prophet? No. I’ve been writing about this coming collapse for years. And it’s not because I have the mental wherewithal to figure it all out, but rather because there are people much smarter than me who have been warning of this for decades as well. But no one is listening.
▪️Where is the Hope?
But you may ask, “so if there’s no fiscal solution, where is the Hope?”
Well, while I don’t believe there is a permanent solution to the fiscal nightmare we are now living through, I do believe there is Hope for each of us individually. But it will require each of us to think outside the box; to consider options we haven’t considered before; to prepare for what could happen. And if, by some providential move, we are granted another brief period of reprieve from the inevitable coming economic collapse, we should not be lulled into believing that our genius leaders have saved the day. When a doctor causes a fatal wound, but he then puts a bandage on the hemorrhaging gash he caused, you wouldn’t then sit back and start enjoying your “bon-bons” believing that the negligent doctor saved the day, would you? You also wouldn’t congratulate the doctor on a job well done.
▪️What to do?
So what should you and I do? In a minute I’ll share what my first step would be. But here are a few suggestions:
I would prioritize the welfare of my family and loved ones, and then my neighbors, if possible. If you could rewind your life 30-45 days, knowing what you know now, what would you have done then to prepare for where we are today? Likewise, if you took a few minutes to consider where things might be in 30-90 days, if things not only don’t get better, but rather they get exponentially worse, what would you wish then that you would have done today?
In other words “Prepare.” The old “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” should guide your steps.
Nearly a decade ago a group of my friends and I began meeting over the course of a year or so to “Prep” for the possibility of an economic collapse. We put together checklists and discussed steps we should all take in the event that something like we are seeing actually occurred. At the time many would have suggested we were alarmists or worse. But those meetings were extremely helpful in preparing us for what did finally occur these last few weeks. (See the three hyperlinks above for the documents we prepared then.)
Now I don’t share this to suggest that all the items on my checklists in 2011 and 2012 were addressed. I wish I had some more toilet paper perhaps! But the “ounce of prevention” philosophy is one I can encourage you to consider as well. If you’re stuck at home, you now have time to consider what you would do for your family to prepare for what could occur in the future.
Our nation’s fiscal situation has not improved in the last 8 years. In fact, it has gotten exponentially worse. And that was before another several trillion dollars is being borrowed, printed, or created out of thin air, by the big spenders in Washington. So, if the coronavirus is in fact the straw that’s finally exposing our fiscal foolishness as a nation, what could that next straw be? I don’t know. But I also don’t want to be unprepared.
▪️Our Ultimate Hope
So I mentioned I’d share what my first step would be and here it is. I would turn my heart and mind to God during this dire crisis. The greatest threat to you and me today isn’t the COVID-19 virus. Rather, it’s the universal virus that we all share, one that entices us to replace God our Creator, with our own false gods. The gods of wealth, sports, entertainment, politics, pleasure, career, business, travel, or whatever else might be in the forefront of your life and mine. It’s a universal temptation to elevate something temporal, that does not satisfy, in place of the One who is eternal, and completely satisfies.
God is speaking through this crisis. In fact, I would suggest this is God’s crisis. Throughout the Bible we see that it is God that brings both “calamity and good” and “He controls the course of world events.” He does so to get our attention, to disrupt our lives, in order to turn our hearts back to Him. We are a proud people and an even prouder nation. But God resists the proud and even humiliates them. But He also elevates the humble. Could there be any greater example of God humiliating a proud nation and even world than what is happening now as all those “gods” we worshipped are crumbling before us?
So, if there is one silver lining in all this, it is that we all have time to turn back to Him. We have time to open His Word. We have time to fall on our knees. And as we do, we will begin to hear what it is God is speaking to us individually, so that we can repent and turn to Him. As we do, we will find the Hope and Encouragement that is so desperately needed “for such a time as this.”
💡“God controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.” Daniel 2:21
💡“Who can command things to happen without the Lord’s permission? Does not the Most High send both calamity and good? Then why should we, mere humans, complain when we are punished for our sins? Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the Lord.” Lamentations 3:37-40
The book of Daniel in the Bible contains many examples of how a follower of God should comport himself in the midst of a culture or nation that is at odds with God’s values. Here are a few lessons we can learn.
Of course there’s the familiar story of the three young Hebrew men, who were also government officials. When they were commanded to bow to a statue of the king, they refused to do so, even though it would result in a fiery furnace, from which they were miraculously rescued.
Speak Truth Always
And then there’s the story of Daniel who, as one of the highest government officials in the land, was asked to interpret a dream for the king. Recall that Nebuchadnezzar’s dream revealed the king’s haughty and prideful spirit and predicted his downfall. Although there was tremendous risk on the part of Daniel in rebuking the king, Daniel did not falter in speaking truth to power, and Daniel challenged King Nebuchadnezzar to change his ways (which the king ignored).
God’s Laws Trump Man’s
Several years later, various government officials sought to persecute Daniel, who reported directly to the king. Daniel was equivalent to the Prime Minister of the nation. The only way these scoundrels could achieve Daniel’s demise was to attack his religion directly. Note what they concluded:
“Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.” (Daniel6:5)
And so they made sure that laws were passed that would be in direct violation to the religious values by which they knew Daniel lived. Sound familiar?
So they outlawed prayer, to any god except the king.
But notice how Daniel responded:
“But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.” Daniel 6:10
Daniel not only ignored the law, but he did so publicly, with his window open so that there would be no doubt about whom Daniel would obey. You’ll recall that the rest of this story involved a lions den, God’s miraculous deliverance, the defeat and death of Daniel’s adversaries, and a proclamation from the king affirming Daniel’s God as the one true living and eternal God.
So, you may say, “Yeah, I know all those stories but what do they have to do with me?”
And I say, “A lot!”
The book of Daniel is not just full of a lot of cute bed time stories. Rather it is a book with deep, powerful truths, with principles that apply to the very era in which we a living.
Our culture and government is no longer friendly to Biblical values. In fact, whether it’s a school board, or a city, state or federal government, or agency, the antagonism and animosity towards Christians and the values taught by Jesus are under vicious attack… and it will only grow worse.
If you are a government official or employee who claims to follow Jesus, you have been or will be called to make a choice, when man’s laws and regulations conflict with God’s laws and values. (Remember Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue marriage licenses?)
But most of you are private citizens so you may say, “I’m exempt” from having to make such a choice. But don’t be deceived. Your day is coming… or is already here.
If you own a business, and attempt to abide by biblical values, there is a bullseye on you and your business. (Remember the cake maker, photographer and florist who were singled out and attacked for their Biblical beliefs?)
If you’re not a business owner, you have been (or will be) confronted with a myriad of choices, whether it’s your kids’ education, how your tax dollars are used, your selection of political candidates that may not affirm biblical values, and a host of other choices. (Remember the coach who was recently attacked for his decision to pray with his team?)
But first, will you and I even recognize it when we are confronted with these choices? And secondly, will we cave under pressure, or will we follow the examples from Daniel?
In the final moments of the life of Joshua, we see this great warrior for God and hero of our faith presenting his nation and fellow citizens with this choice:
“But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua24:15
Who will you and I choose? The god of our culture or our government? Or the God of the Ages, whose values and truths never change?
Earlier this week I returned from a two week trip to Nepal with a team of five guys. Our adventure flew us from Atlanta to Doha, Qatar and on to Kathmandu, Nepal. I’ve been to quite a few countries over the years, and oftentimes my travels have taken me to a number of places with very low standards of living. But as soon as we ventured from Tribuhaven International Airport into the streets of Kathmandu, I knew that I was in for an experience like none other.
While cell phones were everywhere, basic standards of living, like flushing toilets, potable water, dependable electricity, paved roads, and even something as ordinary as hot water in hotels were rare in Kathmandu, even more so in the mountains, where we were headed the following day.
The next morning, we boarded a short flight from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar, a very small town sitting alongside the Arun River. Out the left side of the plane, as we flew east, rose the Himalayan Mountain Range, with its crown jewel, Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world at 29,029 feet. In fact, eight of the ten tallest mountains in the world reside in Nepal.
The following days would test our bodies and psyche as we departed Tumlingtar. With backpacks on our shoulders, we headed for a canoe ride across the Arun River, a jeep ride we’ll never forget over some of the dustiest, deeply rutted roads imaginable, and many miles of hiking up mountains and through tiny little villages in some of the remotest parts of Nepal. Everywhere we went over the next several days we were met with continuous stares, acknowledging the fact that in some of these little villages, no American had ever been seen.
As we traveled throughout Nepal over the near two weeks we were there, the word “thanksgiving” came to mind over and over. As I compared my life back in the United States with that of the Nepalis, I couldn’t help but thank God for His providential blessings. Whether it was our standard of living, the liberties our Constitution affirms to us, or the spiritual truths that were a part of our nation’s DNA, the American experiment is something we all too often take for granted.
Americans like to acknowledge our many blessings annually on the 3rd Thursday of November with turkey, dressing, pumpkin pie and football. But truthfully, as we look around the world, we should celebrate Thanksgiving this very day, for our blessings are too numerous to count. Whether one lives in a penthouse overlooking Manhattan, in a suburban middle class neighborhood, or subsidized housing in an inner city, each one of us is part of an elite body of citizens, even with our diverse socioeconomic levels. As “Americans” we are all afforded unlimited opportunities and the freedoms to pursue them. But lest we become puffed up, we should remember that the status we enjoy has been bestowed on us by a merciful and loving God, and that there is nothing inherent in us that would merit such blessings.
As we think of the many nations of the world, we should remember that God established the times and boundaries of each nation (Acts 17:26), and He also blesses those nations who affirm Him as their God (Psalm 33:12). But as I was abroad these last couple of weeks, I came across this verse in Psalm 9:17 — “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” There is no doubt in my mind that America is rapidly forgetting God, and the division, turmoil, instability, and even violence we are seeing across our land suggests that we are beginning to reap the consequences of such forgetfulness.
There is really only one solution to restoring our Republic. And it begins with thanksgiving and humility. I pray that we will all begin to reassess our relationship to Almighty God, and as we do, also count our many blessings. And let’s make everyday a day of thanksgiving.
I recently purchased a DJI Mavic Pro drone, a state-of-the-art technological wonder. It’s a unique compact drone, designed so that the arms can be folded down and transported with ease, but still possessing some of the most highly sophisticated features available. I was able to take the drone on the trip to Nepal and captured many incredible aerial views. Below are just a few of the videos that will give you just a little sampling of our team’s experience. I trust you enjoy them.
On November 8, 2016 America entered a new era. The Trump era. And while there are many “firsts” with the election of President Donald J. Trump, there is one in particular that poses a significant challenge for our nation.
Donald Trump is the wealthiest individual ever elected President. In fact, Trump’s reported net worth of somewhere between $4-10 Billion is up to 100 times the size of the next wealthiest President during the last 100 years, John F. Kennedy.
But his wealth is not the real challenge. Rather, the nature of his wealth is what poses a monumental security challenge for our nation. Consider that Trump’s wealth is predominately comprised of a high profile real estate portfolio. From the five star, elite Trump Hotels, located around the country and in several foreign countries (including Islamic ones), to his corporate office complexes and skyscrapers, these properties could offer a high profile target for some of America’s worst enemies.
During the campaign, Trump repeatedly singled out ISIS and other terrorist enterprises, making it clear that he would use the full force of the US military to defeat them. “I’m going to bomb the s*** out of them… and knock the hell out of them,” Trump promised.
Following the election, ISIS cheered the results, flooding Twitter with taunts, jeers and threats:
“Don’t try to hide, Donald. The mujahideen are ready.”
“Trump’s win of the American presidency will bring hostility of Muslims against America as a result of his reckless actions…”
The clear intent of ISIS all along has been to draw the world’s lone superpower into a head to head confrontation. This leading terrorist enterprise believes that drawing the US into a war will assist them in their recruiting efforts, while appealing to Allah to assist them in defeating the Great Satan.
So is a showdown coming?
If Trump is to be believed, he will be taking the fight to ISIS. But if ISIS is to be taken seriously, they are likely strategizing on ways to inflict maximum harm and devastation in unconventional but media rich ways, as they have often done in the past. Clearly they cannot take on the US military directly. So what could their targets be? Can we make some informed observations based on the previous methods ISIS has deployed? I believe so. And because of this, I see a dangerous threat to Trump and his related properties, and those individuals who might work at or visit them.
Obviously, Trump will be surrounded by the world’s finest detail, our US Secret Service professionals. And no doubt they are already preparing for every kind of threat and developing active contingency plans. But there’s one thing we should have learned by now, following hundreds of terrorist attacks around the world and many right here on our homeland. Protecting not only our billionaire President but also his expansive network of high profile assets, in a post 9/11 world, presents a new and unprecedented challenge for our nation.
This is just one more reason to offer up prayer for Donald Trump, his family, his team, and the entire Trump empire.
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. I Peter 2:1-2