Ask anyone what good is. Then ask them what wicked is. Just about everyone will have a response. While responses to those questions may vary, the amazing thing is that nearly everyone can agree that good and wicked both exist. Not many people could tell you where the ideas come from or how we form our own opinions of what they are, but they exist nonetheless.
Does it really matter what we believe is good and what we believe is wicked? Does it matter if we all agree or disagree? Yes, it does.
But first, let’s take a look at Webster’s 1828 definitions of good and wicked:
GOOD: Having moral qualities best adapted to its design and use, or the qualities which God’s law required; virtuous, pious, religious; applied to persons, and opposed to bad, vitious, wicked, evil.
WICKED: Evil in principle or practice; deviating from the divine law; addicted to vice; sinful; immoral.
To know what wicked is, we simply have to know what it isn’t. It isn’t good. The more we know what good is, the more we are able to recognise wicked.
Who cares? Why do we need to know the difference? Didn’t God tell Adam and Eve to stay away from the tree of knowledge of good and evil? If Adam and Eve didn’t need to know, why do we?
Well, because Adam and Eve didn’t stay away from that tree. Before they ate the forbidden fruit, evil didn’t exist to them. They only knew good. They only knew God. As soon as they disobeyed God’s command and ate that fruit, evil entered their world. Now they knew the difference. We need to know the difference, too.
Oh, the joys of those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with scoffers.
Psalm 1:1 (NLT)
There are joys to be had in avoiding the wicked. What else?
But they delight in doing everything the Lord wants;
day and night they think about his law.
Psalm 1:2 (NLT)
Why would anyone want to do everything someone else wants? Remember that God is good. He only wants good things for us. Why wouldn’t we want to do what He wants?
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season without fail.
Their leaves never wither,
and in all they do, they prosper.
Psalm 1:3 (NLT)
Now we get to the good part. The more we meditate on God’s Word, the more we understand who He is and the more we understand what good is. When we understand what good is, we recognise what wicked is. Then we can stay away from the wicked. When we stay away from wicked people and things, we become fruitful and prosperous.
Does this all make sense now? Know good. Stay away from wicked. Prosper.
Daily Bible reading: Psalm 1-3, Acts 16:1-15