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Trying To Defeat Evil 083111
Today’s verses from Matthew tell the story of Jesus driving demons from a blind and mute demoniac. Jesus is accused of being a demon also, until he asserts that a demon cannot drive out a demon, since a house divided against itself cannot stand. Only good, and the spirit of God can drive out evil.
As we approach the anniversary of September 11, 2001 we might ask ‘How do we drive this evil from our lives and from the world?’ From the book of Matthew we might answer that only by imitating Christ’s goodness and holiness can we drive out evil.
We must love our enemies, treat their wounds, and insure they know of Christ’s love for all humanity.
Pray for peace.
1Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry; give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.
2From you let my vindication come; let your eyes see the right.
3If you try my heart, if you visit me by night, if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me; my mouth does not transgress.
4As for what others do, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent.
5My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped.
6I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me, hear my words.
7Wondrously show your steadfast love, O savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.
8Guard me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,
9from the wicked who despoil me, my deadly enemies who surround me.
10They close their hearts to pity; with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
11They track me down; now they surround me; they set their eyes to cast me to the ground.
12They are like a lion eager to tear, like a young lion lurking in ambush.
13Rise up, O Lord, confront them, overthrow them! By your sword deliver my life from the wicked,
14from mortals—by your hand, O Lord— from mortals whose portion in life is in this world. May their bellies be filled with what you have stored up for them; may their children have more than enough; may they leave something over to their little ones.
15As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.
5Thus says the Lord: Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from the Lord. 6They shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when relief comes. They shall live in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. 7Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. 8They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit. 9The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse— who can understand it? 10I the Lord test the mind and search the heart, to give to all according to their ways, according to the fruit of their doings. 11Like the partridge hatching what it did not lay, so are all who amass wealth unjustly; in mid-life it will leave them, and at their end they will prove to be fools.
12O glorious throne, exalted from the beginning, shrine of our sanctuary! 13O hope of Israel! O Lord! All who forsake you shall be put to shame; those who turn away from you shall be recorded in the underworld, for they have forsaken the fountain of living water, the Lord. 14Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved; for you are my praise. 15See how they say to me, “Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come!” 16But I have not run away from being a shepherd in your service, nor have I desired the fatal day. You know what came from my lips; it was before your face. 17Do not become a terror to me; you are my refuge in the day of disaster; 18Let my persecutors be shamed, but do not let me be shamed; let them be dismayed, but do not let me be dismayed; bring on them the day of disaster; destroy them with double destruction!
22Then they brought to him a demoniac who was blind and mute; and he cured him, so that the one who had been mute could speak and see. 23All the crowds were amazed and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” 24But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, that this fellow casts out the demons.” 25He knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. 26If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? 27If I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 28But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. 29Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property, without first tying up the strong man? Then indeed the house can be plundered. 30Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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