An Evil Device
Ezekiel 38:10
Thus said the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into your mind…

We have been taught by the Divine Master, Christ, that it is from within that human conduct takes its origin. It is the heart which is the source alike of good and of evil The tree bears fruit, whether sound and wholesome and palatable, or harsh and useless; the living well, the fountain, sends forth streams, whether sweet and cheering, or bitter and polluted. So the thoughts, intents, and devices of the heart find their expression in the words which reach men's ears and in the deeds which draw men's eyes. God, who knew the inmost nature of men, as well as their individual and political acts, revealed the secret spring of the malicious efforts of the foes of Israel, saying, "It shall come to pass in that day, that things shall come into thy mind, and that thou shalt devise an evil device."

I. PASSIONS PROMPTS THE EVIL DEVICE. There is in all men's nature a principle assuming various forms - impulse, propensity, passion. If there were no such principle, we cannot see how human life could go forward. It is the spring, the motive power, of the machine. It is not implanted within us in order that it may be eradicated, but in order that it may be governed, directed, controlled. In itself it is not bad. But passions become bad when misdirected and uncontrolled by reason and conscience.

II. CHOICE ADOPTS IT. Anger, lust, or some other passion prompts to a certain course of action. The mischief is wrought when the man, in the exercise of choice, accepts as the motive of his action, and identifies himself with, a passion, the indulgence of which works evil, preferring such a principle of action to a higher and better one. The device thus adopted by the enemies of Israel was a device of selfish passion, only to be indulged at the expense of justice and good feeling.

III. SINFUL HABIT NOURISHES IT. It is not a single feeling, a single purpose, which usually accounts for a man's, a nation's, evil ways. The mischief, when isolated, might be checked. But it is too often fostered and thus encouraged, complicated, and multiplied, as the mind broods upon it. A mere fancy becomes, when encouraged, a desire; a desire, when encouraged, becomes a settled purpose.

IV. SINFUL ACTIVITY EXECUTES IT. The desire does not long remain such; it tends to its satisfaction. The device is a means to an end, and achieves itself. God's mercies are permitted, in some cases and to some extent, to "bring wicked devices to pass." For wise purposes, the Ruler of all suffers men not only to think evil thoughts, but to accomplish evil deeds.

V. GOD CAN AND OFTEN DOES FRUSTRATE IT. The oft-quoted proverb is a true one, "Man proposes, God disposes." The All-wise has his own plans, the Almighty has his own means; and the wisdom and the power of men, measured against the Divine resources, will surely be brought to nothing. "Hitherto shalt thou go, and no further; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed." There is no occasion for the people of Christ to be dismayed or overmuch distressed when evil devices enter into the minds of their adversaries. All is known to their Divine Friend and Protector, who is abundantly able to defend and to deliver his own. "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness," their wisdom is seen to be but folly. "In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength;" "The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." The enemy may devise; but he will not be suffered to execute his devices. - T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:

WEB: Thus says the Lord Yahweh: It shall happen in that day, that things shall come into your mind, and you shall devise an evil device:

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