Why Does God Allow Evil and How Does He Use it For Good?

Have you ever gone through a season of suffering or watched a loved one suffer and wondered where God was or doubted God altogether? In this sermon from 1 Kings 22:1-53, Pastor Mark will end with a hopeful message on a sovereign God who ultimately overcomes evil and suffering.

Why does God allow evil, and how does He use it for good? (1 Kings 22:1-53)

Daily Diet evil/darkness – life, family, friends, government, culture, entertainment 

= Discouraging. Exhausting. = depression & mental health 

?“God is sovereign, powerful, and good. Evil exists and creatures bear moral responsibility for it. How can we reconcile character God w/reality of sin?” = = A. “the problem of evil”          B.  “theodicy”. 

  • 1 Kings 22 – painful report of evil/injustice/suffering against believers

#1. Safety and security are threatened  

1 Kings 22 For three years Syria and Israel continued without war. But in the third year Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. And the king of Israel said to his servants, “Do you know that Ramoth-gilead belongs to us, and we keep quiet and do not take it out of the hand of the king of Syria?” And he said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.”

  • ?WAR/TERROR – men dying, mothers lose sons, wives widowed, children orphaned 
  • Generations border wars – 3 yrs peace         = Feel Less Safe?

#2. False prophets report the news 

1 Kings 22 And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Inquire first for the word of the Lord.” Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall I go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.” But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not here another prophet of the Lord of whom we may inquire?” And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so.” Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, “Bring quickly Micaiah the son of Imlah.” 10 Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah were sitting on their thrones, arrayed in their robes, at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets were prophesying before them. 11 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made for himself horns of iron and said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘With these you shall push the Syrians until they are destroyed.’ ” 12 And all the prophets prophesied so and said, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and triumph; the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.” 13 And the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “Behold, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king. Let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.” 14 But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, what the Lord says to me, that I will speak.” 15 And when he had come to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we refrain?” And he answered him, “Go up and triumph; the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.” 16 But the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” 17 And he said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the Lord said, ‘These have no master; let each return to his home in peace.’ ” 18 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?”

  • 400 False Prophets vs 1 True Prophet. MONETIZED. =confusion/division among people 

True vs False Prophets Matt. 24:11 [Jesus] “many false prophets will arise & lead many astray”

  1. Moral vs Immoral Character 
  2. Happens vs Doesn’t Happen 
  3. Speak for God to politicians vs Speak for politicians to people (loyalty & truth) 
  4. Get prison vs get paid 

Micaiah = “Who is like the Lord”? – stood alone like Elijah 

#3. A lying spirit overtakes the media

1 Kings 22 19 And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left; 20 and the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. 21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ 22 And the Lord said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’ 23 Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has declared disaster for you.” 

24 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near and struck Micaiah on the cheek and said, “How did the Spirit of the Lord go from me to speak to you?” 25 And Micaiah said, “Behold, you shall see on that day when you go into an inner chamber to hide yourself.” 26 And the king of Israel said, “Seize Micaiah, and take him back to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king’s son, 27 and say, ‘Thus says the king, “Put this fellow in prison and feed him meager rations of bread and water, until I come in peace.” ’ ” 28 And Micaiah said, “If you return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me.” And he said, “Hear, all you peoples!”

 Satan rules in this world, God rules over Satan & this world (THIS STORY LIKE SATAN/JOB)

-Jn 12:31 the ruler of this world          -1 Jn 5:19 the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

-2 Cor 4:4 the god of this world          -Eph 2:2 [NLT] the world, obeying the devil   

Satan not = to God.  God good. Demons want lie. False proph. want demons/lies.= God allows


#4. Political leaders are weak cowards 

1 Kings 22 29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead. 30 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you wear your robes.” And the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle. 31 Now the king of Syria had commanded the thirty-two captains of his chariots, “Fight with neither small nor great, but only with the king of Israel.” 32 And when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “It is surely the king of Israel.” So they turned to fight against him. And Jehoshaphat cried out. 33 And when the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him. 34 But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. Therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.” 35 And the battle continued that day, and the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Syrians, until at evening he died. And the blood of the wound flowed into the bottom of the chariot. 36 And about sunset a cry went through the army, “Every man to his city, and every man to his country!” 37 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria. And they buried the king in Samaria. 38 And they washed the chariot by the pool of Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood, and the prostitutes washed themselves in it, according to the word of the Lord that he had spoken. 39 Now the rest of the acts of Ahab and all that he did, and the ivory house that he built and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 

  1. Syria’s battle plan – kill King Ahab “Fight…only with the king of Israel.”
  2. King Jehosophat – courage – wore royal robes into battle = no fear 
  3. King Ahab’s – coward 
  4. God’s sovereign plan – “a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate.”

Blood Prophecy (1 Ki 21:19) – A. Dogs lick up B. ?Male Prostitutes wash = counterfeit Jesus 

#5. The government is hopelessly corrupt  

1 Kings 22 40 So Ahab slept with his fathers, and Ahaziah his son reigned in his place.

-North Kingdom ruled 5 generations, 6th just as evil = LIFE TERM. New people. Same demons 

#6. Believing leaders are not fully committed to God  

1 Kings 22 41 Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel. 42 Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. 43 He walked in all the way of Asa his father. He did not turn aside from it, doing what was right in the sight of the Lord. Yet the high places were not taken away, and the people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places. 44 Jehoshaphat also made peace with the king of Israel. 

45 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he showed, and how he warred, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 46 And from the land he exterminated the remnant of the male cult prostitutes who remained in the days of his father Asa.

1.    Northern Kingdom ruled by Ahaziah = completely evil

2.    Southern Kingdom ruled by Jehoshaphat = more godly but compromised. 

“exterminated the remnant of the male cult prostitutes” 

  • “the high places were not taken away, & the people still sacrificed & made offerings on the high places” = SOFT WOKE (lukewarm – e.g. death penalty vs abortion) 

#7. Cultural decay spreads everywhere   

2 Kings 8:16–18, 26-27 16 In the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab, king of Israel, when Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, began to reign. 17 He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. 18 And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. …26 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah; she was a granddaughter of Omri king of Israel. 27 He also walked in the way of the house of Ahab and did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, as the house of Ahab had done, for he was son-in-law to the house of Ahab.

  • Intermarriage for peace 
  • Athaliah had the Jezebel spirit & brought worship Baal/Asherah & sexual sin to South

= Athaliah – Jezebel’s daughter, controlled nation sons 1 yr reign king (2 K. 8:27-28). Son died battle, all male heirs killed ruled 6 yrs (2 Kings 11:1-3), only woman to rule

Generational iniquity A. Athaliah stronger B. North/South Control/Tolerance sex/$/power

-Like a crime ridden city that spreads to the suburban & rural areas overtaking a nation 

#8. Complete impossible division

1 Kings 22 47 There was no king in Edom; a deputy was king. 48 Jehoshaphat made ships of Tarshish to go to Ophir for gold, but they did not go, for the ships were wrecked at Ezion-geber. 49 Then Ahaziah the son of Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “Let my servants go with your servants in the ships,” but Jehoshaphat was not willing. 50 And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father, and Jehoram his son reigned in his place.

  1. Division between nations
  2. Division within the 2 nations  =GOOD vs EVIL 

#9. Nothing changes…

1 Kings 22 51 Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned two years over Israel. 52 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and walked in the way of his father and in the way of his mother and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. 53 He served Baal and worshiped him and provoked the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger in every way that his father had done. = walking in circles 


  1. Because of the Fall, unless you fight gravity decline, decay, and death are certain 
  2. Our political and cultural options are often really bad vs not as bad 
  3. Behind cultural decline are demonic forces 
  4. Government is a cancer to the church  
  5. Church and political governance rises and falls with leadership 
  6. Getting the next generation to marry godly people is a life & death issue for believers 
  7. God sees and knows everyone and everything on earth 

The Problem of Evil 

If God is all powerful, all knowing, and all good why is there suffering and evil? 

1.    There is no God – Atheism 

2.    God is not all powerful – Finite Godism 

3.    God is not all knowing – Evolutionary Godism, Open Theism

4.    God is not all good – Pantheism, Panentheism

5.    There is no suffering and evil – subjectivism, Buddhism  

6.    God is not done yet so live by faith, not sight – Christianity 

The Sovereignty of God 

  1. God is only good and does not ordain evil 
  2. God allows evil (active vs permissive will) 
  3. People and demons who do evil are morally responsible
  4. God uses evil for good 
  5. God overcomes evil (God’s good is bigger than your bad) 

Principle: Romans 8:28 we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Genesis 50:20-21 you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear

Acts 2:23 Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

  • Who has known the mind of the Lord? 
  • His ways/thoughts higher than ours 
  • Secret things
  • Mystery of His will 

Close Band UP 

  1. Prayer & Praise up 
  2. Plan Down 

July -summer kids/students/Wed date/classes; swimsuits Xmas, ; Aug Jude; Sept. 7th bday/park/midweek expansion; Oct 4th service, election, holidays

Photo of author

Mark Driscoll

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