what to do with the bad guy

bad guy

Pop quiz. Of whom was the following stated?

For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

Who is the “you”? Okay, be honest, and leave a comment with your initial guess. Unless you’re a Bible trivia pro {or unless the villain graphic gave it away}, you probably just failed this quiz. I did.

When I think of people God raised up for a specific purpose, I think of people of noble character. Godly men and women.

When I think of people in whom God’s power might be seen, I think of people God has transformed.

When I think of people whom God chooses to use to proclaim his name in all the earth, I think of the “good guys.”

God chose Moses for a specific, significant task. And Noah, Joshua, Caleb, Gideon, and Abraham.

Joseph suffered through some trying experiences before he understood some of the purpose of God in his life.

Esther was selected for “such a time as this.”

God’s power was seen in the life of Daniel. And Job.

Ruth. Samuel. Isaiah. Rahab. David. Jonah. Paul. Stephen. The list goes on.

God likes to say stuff like, “I have chosen you and prepared you for something amazing. I’m going to use you so that people will see my power. Then people will know me, and I will be famous in all the earth.” God likes to say this to people.

And this time, he said it to Pharoah. Yes, Pharoah. The “let-my-people-go” Pharoah.

I don’t know about you, but I was working down the wrong list. I was expecting the answer to be a famous, Bible-days role model. The kind you choose when you play dress-up. The kind you talk about and sing about. Not that they’re perfect examples; I mean, David and Jonah made some pretty big mistakes.

But, Pharoah? This relentless tyrant of a man who just wouldn’t listen? It is difficult to find a trace of true repentance in that story. His heart remained rather hardened.

And that was all part of the plan. The plan of purpose and power and proclamation.

God doesn’t always think like we do when it comes to what to do with the bad guy.

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

Romans 9:14-18 {Exodus 9}

[image credit: wikipedia commons, journeyoftheword.com]

2 thoughts on “what to do with the bad guy

  1. Jeremiah 18:5-10
    5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
    6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
    7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;
    8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.
    9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;
    10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

    Our nation is clay. Will we be like Egypt?

    2 Timothy 2:20-21
    20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
    21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

    We as individuals are clay. Will we be like Pharaoh?

    As these verses show, God ordains goodness and mercy for those who repent but wrath and just punishment for those who do not. God has put forth His standard, and no-one can change it or escape from it. This is God’s sovereign will.

    Will we answer His call to repent or not? Many will not, but I for one would rather be on the good side of the sovereign will of God and be a good example of God’s power like those other examples you mentioned! As you have stated from Scripture though, either way we choose, God will show His power through us.


  2. That is such an interesting thing about Pharaoh, isn’t it? It reminds me of Psalms 76:10, Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee…

    Another thing that we might not expect humanly speaking is when God takes a horrible “bad guy” like Nebuchadnezzar and turns him into a God-fearing, peaceable king. Although he was really dreadful before his punishment, his testimony in Daniel 4 makes me believe he was “saved” in the Old Testament sense. Added to that, my dad discovered during a research project on another subject that the historic record of Nebuchadnezzar, for all his early warring, shows that later in his life there was very little to record about him. The most significant thing apparently was that he had made peace between two warring kings. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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