A Bible Study for Our Darkening Times

Resisting Evil & Trusting God''


"...the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. ... But he who does the Truth comes to the Light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."  John 3:19-21

"Walk as children of light... finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them...." Ephesians 5:8-12

1. a. The popular German weekly Der Spiegel, has a cover picture of a sick Uncle Sam titled, "The American Patient: The decline of a Great Nation." Would you agree with that view of America? If so, what is the main reason for that decline? 

          "...when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them... when your heart is lifted up and you forget the Lord your God. ... you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’... Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods... you shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the Lord your God."  (Deuteronomy 8:12-14, 17, 19-20)

    b. What additional reasons do you see?

2. How would you compare America's current decline with Israel's repeated slide into moral and spiritual depravity?  Does this Old Testament warning apply to us today? Why?

"...it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.... that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. ...Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds.... The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face....

      "The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow....

      “But... if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God... all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.... The Lord will send on you cursing, confusion, and rebuke in all that you set your hand to do... because of the wickedness of your doings in which you have forsaken Me.... The Lord will change the rain of your land to powder and dust...

      "The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies.... The Lord will strike you... with tumors, with the scab, and with the itch....  A nation whom you have not known shall eat the fruit of your land and the produce of your labor, and you shall be only oppressed and crushed....

      "The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail....

     "Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you....

     "If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book [remember, the Levitical laws were fulfilled in Christ, but the moral law is as relevant now as then], that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, THE LORD YOUR GOD, then the Lord will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues.... And it shall be, that just as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good and multiply you, so the Lord will ... bring you to nothing..." (Deuteronomy 28:1-63)

3. Most Christians would agree that America has been blessed by God. In return, what does He ask of us? How can we meet His requirements?

"...everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required." (Luke 12:48)

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled." (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

4. In Hebrews 12:6, we read: "For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”  Why should we be grateful for His chosen disciplines for each of us?  How do they prepare us for the challenges ahead?

"But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah." (2 Chronicles 32:25-26)

5. In contrast, how does God deal with those who deny Him and refuse to accept His loving corrections?

"'Be very desolate,' says the Lord. 'For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water."
(Jeremiah 2:12-13).

"Because I have called and you refused,
I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded...
When your  terror comes like a storm,
And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
Then they will call on me, but I will not answer...
Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
They would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke.
Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way
(Proverbs 1:24-31)

6. Who is the ultimate ruler of America? How does that fact encourage you?

"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!" 
(Palm 46:10)

"...where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 5:20-21)

My "Rock" and my Refuge

7. Take turns reading these Scriptures and sharing the encouragement each one brings.

"I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my Rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies."
(Psalm 18:1-3)

"Bow down Your ear to me, deliver me speedily;
Be my Rock of refuge, a fortress of defense to save me.
For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake,
Lead me and guide me."
(Psalm 31:2-3)

"My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation....
The Rock of my strength and my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us." (
Psalm 62:5-8)

8. Our Lord has prepared for us a place in His eternal and glorious Kingdom. (We might think of this world as our training ground.) How does that encourage you?

"I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us..." (Romans 8:16-18)

"If then you were raised with Christ [believers share in His redemptive death and resurrection], seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." (Colossians 3:1-4)

9. Today, we who belong to Him face challenges similar to those faced by the early disciples who stood with Jesus in the pagan atmosphere of Caesarea Philippi. Jesus is with us, and He prepares us (as He did His disciples) for the spiritual war ahead. We may not stand face to face with the man-made idols of the occult, but that timeless evil which has been hidden in our times is rapidly rising to surface.

   a. How does today's fascination with evil and contemporary idols effect those who love and cling to them?

   b. How can we share the living Word of our King with those who are blinded to His saving Truth?

   c. Why is it essential that we depend on God -- our Rock and our Refuge, our Hope and our Strength -- as we stand against the evils of our culture?

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled." (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

10. Why are so few churches willing and ready to take a stand and confront today's increasingly corrupt culture?

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent." (Revelation 3:15-20)

11. How has this lukewarmness damaged the church and its influence, its reputation, its outreach?

12. What can you doing personally to challenge this spiritual apathy and outright evil in name of Jesus?

"Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
      "Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
       "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints...."
(Ephesians 6:10-18) 

For more insights into God's wonderful Armor, see The Armor of God and A Wardrobe from the King and The Invisible War

Our alternative website, which offers much encouragement, is www.shepherd.to