By Ernest O'Neill

What is the Worst Evil in the World?

By Rev. Ernest O'Neill

We think we believe it and yet what is the worst evil in the world? Is the worst evil pain? Is the worst evil sickness? Is the worst evil poverty? Is the worst evil loneliness? Are those the evils that we really need to be delivered from?

Loved ones, there's an evil far worse than that and if you just look back to Exodus, I'll show you it. It's the verse we read last time, Exodus 16:1-3, and it's the start of that historical record.

Exodus 16:1-3, "They set out as the Israelites set out from Elim and all that congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin which is between Elim and Sinai on the 15th day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt and the whole congregation of the people of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness and said to them, "Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt when we sat by the fleshpots and ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger".

That's sin. That's the worst evil -- self-sufficiency. I know you all say, "We're different", but loved ones, we're just the same as those Israelites.

We'll settle even for limited happiness or limited security as long as it is under our control. We'd rather have the fleshpots and the slavery back in Egypt. We'd rather put up with those as long as they're under our control. But we hate to be driven beyond our own resources and that's why we dislike evil so much when it touches our lives. That's why we hate it.

We hate to be driven out beyond our own resources. We are miserable, petty, small-minded little creatures that want to be our own God. We want to have our own little universe and to be able to control it. So what if it's not the wonderful, magnificent experience that our Creator planned for us. "At least it's something that I can control. At least it means I don't have to depend on somebody else."

You know the reluctance that you felt when you first learned to float on water. You put yourself back and tried to lie back but you didn't want to get your feet off the bottom. And that's really typical of our whole lives. We don't like to be driven beyond ourselves.

We like to have things in our own control. Do you see that's the heart of sin? God's whole plan was that we would never live this life on our own. We would never live it on our own resources and never live it on our own power. His plan was that we would be forced to reach out beyond ourselves to Him. And that's how He uses evil.

He didn't create evil but He allows it to touch our lives because it drives us beyond our own resources, beyond our own abilities, and beyond our self-sufficiency. Really, we're all like the old man that was walking along the road with a great bundle of wood on his back. A passing farmer in a donkey-cart stopped and said, "Do you want a ride?" The old man said, "Yes, I'd be really grateful", and he got up on to the donkey-cart with the farmer.

After about a quarter of a mile, the farmer looked around and the old guy was sitting with the big bundle of wood on his knees. He said, "Why don't you put that wood down on the back of the cart and relax and rest?" The old guy said to the farmer, "Oh no, you and your donkey have been so good giving me a ride but I wouldn't ask you both to carry my wood as well." We know that this body came from God, and we know it's His spaceship we're riding on throughout the universe every day.