WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 17, 2021
TOPIC: ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE IS NOT EVIDENCE OF ABSENCE
BY T. O. BANSO
“He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13 New King James Version).
Not many people who are guilty go to court and plead guilty. Most times when they know they are guilty they still plead not guilty. Some people have said that’s the fault of their lawyers who assure them they can help them win their cases. In many cases, some guilty persons have been declared innocent based on the evidence before the court.
God is the perfect judge. One may do evil and go into hiding and nobody knows he is the perpetrator. However, God knows. The earthly judge may declare a guilty person innocent but that doesn’t mean that the person is free in the court of God. Everything doesn’t end here on earth. We may hide our sins, but nothing is hidden from God.
Hebrews 4:13 says there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. On Judgment Day, God will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts (1 Corinthians 4:5).
Obviously, you have committed some sins. You may even have gotten away with being punished by the human authorities. But don’t let that give you false confidence that you’re smart and you can continue to do that. Some people felt like that in the past but today they know better. The long arm of the law eventually caught up with them or their crimes were uncovered somehow. But punishment by the civil authorities is little compared to eternal punishment in hellfire. That’s why God has given room for repentance. Nevertheless, the opportunity will not last forever.
The Bible says in 1 John 1:8-10, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (New King James Version). Addressing the men of Athens who were worshipping the God they didn’t know, Paul said, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30 New King James Version).
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). As I have said, most guilty people don’t admit that before the court. They believe there is no evidence or enough evidence to find them guilty. I learnt Reverend William Wright said at a meeting in London in 1887, “Absence of evidence is not evidence.” A later maxim consistent with this says, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”
Truly there may not be any evidence before a court to convict an accused person or declare a defendant in a case guilty, that does mean there is no evidence before God. Therefore, nobody should be encouraged to continue to do evil or commit sin. We may escape human justice but we cannot escape the justice of God.
To escape justice, people could even desperately destroy the piece of evidence that could be used against them. It is not new. Such people could succeed and walk away freely but God the judge of all (Hebrews 12:23), will one day give His own judgment. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10-11 New King James Version). It is appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Each person shall give an account of himself to God (Romans 14:12). And the truth is this: He has all the evidence already.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. There is evidence though it may be absent before human beings who preside over your case, it is right before God. You may conceal, hide or destroy the evidence that proves you’re guilty but you can’t do that with God; it’s already in His possession.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Repent! Numbers 32:23 says your sin will find you out. Repent before it does, either on this earth or on Judgment Day. Some people erroneously believe that nobody saw them when they committed their sins or offences. I always say, “Don’t say nobody saw you; say you didn’t see anybody.” You can’t be too sure no human being saw you. Such people would be shocked one day when someone comes up as an eyewitness or comes up with the evidence the culprits thought did not exist. Every sin starts with a lie such as nobody will know or find out.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Some people feel that they have covered their tracks very well but they are exposed later. Moses did that too. But he was wrong. Exodus 2:12 says when Moses saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren, he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
Moses thought nobody knew he had killed an Egyptian and buried him in the sand. On the second day, two Hebrew men were fighting in Egypt and Moses tried to be a peacemaker. But the one who was wrong told Him, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” (Exodus 2:14 New King James Version). We don’t know how he got to know. Maybe the Hebrew he defended witnessed the murder or somebody else saw him.
Some commentators have justified Moses’ action but it was such a serious matter that Moses feared and said, “Surely this thing is known!” (Verse 14). As soon as Pharaoh heard about the murder, he sought to kill Moses and he fled to the land of Midian.
Referring to this incident, the book of Acts says, “But the man in the wrong pushed Moses aside and told him to mind his own business. ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?’ he asked. ‘Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?’ When Moses heard that, he fled the country and lived as a foreigner in the land of Midian, where his two sons were born” (Acts 7:27-28 New Living Translation).
Don’t try to cover up your sin; own up, repent and forsake your sin. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13 New King James Version).
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Repent! Cain probably thought nobody would have evidence that he killed his brother, Abel. He talked to him to let them go out to the field. The brother didn’t suspect any evil intention and he went with him. Cain rose up against his brother and killed him. He could have made it look like it was a wild animal that killed him as the brothers of Joseph did when they sold him to the slave merchants. But before he could cook up any story, God came up with the evidence against him.
God enquired from him the whereabouts of his brother. I consider his answer to God rude. God asked the question not because He didn’t know the answer. “‘I don’t know!’ Cain retorted. ‘Am I supposed to keep track of him wherever he goes?’” (Genesis 4:9 New Living Translation). Did you see Cain’s rude answer? Instantly, Cain did not escape the judgment of God (verses 10-15). God always has all the evidence; He does ask for any. No lawyer will defend anyone before him! The lawyer will face Him for his own account. Repent before it’s too late.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. David should have repented of his sin of sexual immorality with Bathsheba, but he chose to engage in a cover-up by killing a principal witness, Uriah, the husband of the woman he impregnated. He killed a very loyal, dedicated, innocent officer. He didn’t escape God’s judgment for this sin although God forgave him.
David covered one sin with another sin! He covered adultery with murder! That was foolishness. Uriah might not be alive but God exposed David’s two sins through the prophet Nathan. God had the evidence which David thought he had destroyed! However, He immediately admitted his guilt. Nevertheless, he wasn’t free from the consequences of his actions. God pronounced His judgment on him (2 Samuel 12:7-13).
After Nathan had confronted David about his adultery, he was shattered. David is believed to have written Psalm 51 when Nathan came to confront him with his sin of adultery and murder. He said in verses 3-4, “For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight — That You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge” (New King James Version).
Confess your sins promptly. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Don’t be deceived. David said in Psalm 32:3-4, “When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat” (New Living Translation).
Another example we should consider is that of Ahab and Jezebel. Jezebel plotted the murder of Naboth so that her husband, King Ahab, could possess the vineyard which Naboth had refused to sell to him to use for his vegetable garden or exchange it for another vineyard. The law forbade Israelites from selling family inheritance except in extreme cases of poverty and it must be returned to the original owner in the year of release (Leviticus 25:23-28; Numbers 36:7-9).
Jezebel wrote letters in Ahab’s name, sealed them with his seal, and sent them to the elders and other leaders of the city where Naboth lived. She asked them to call the citizens together for fasting and prayer and give Naboth a place of honor. Then they should find two scoundrels who would accuse him of cursing God and the king. After which they take him out and stone him to death (1 Kings 21:8-10). Unfortunately, the elders and nobles of Naboth’s city did exactly that.
It appeared to be a neat job. Jezebel told her husband to take possession of Naboth’s vineyard because he was dead. The only obstacle had been removed. There is no record Ahab asked how he died. He went to take possession. He must have felt there was evidence against him possessing the vineyard. But God had the evidence.
1 Kings 21:17-19 says, “Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 18 “Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who lives in Samaria. There he is, in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone down to take possession of it. You shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD: ‘Have you murdered and also taken possession?’ And you shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD: ‘In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, dogs shall lick your blood, even yours’” (New King James Version). Ahab and his wife had been exposed. What they thought was a top-secret would become an open secret!
When Elijah met Ahab on Naboth’s vineyard, he didn’t know he was already in serious trouble and asked Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” (Verse 20 New King James Version). But by the time Elijah finished delivering God’s judgment to him, he became sober. He tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his body, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about mourning.
Because Ahab humbled himself before the LORD, He told him He would not bring the calamity on Ahab’s house in his days but in the days of his son. Ahab’s house didn’t escape the judgment of God, which was carried out by Jehu who even went beyond what God commanded him to do.
Repent of your sins today. You may escape human judgment but not God’s unless you repent. God is a perfect judge. Stop pretending. You may be righteous in your own eyes but your self-righteousness is like filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6).
These words of Jesus are still valid today: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:27-28 New King James Version). If you’ll come to Him today, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18).
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. God has all the evidence against everyone. Whoever comes to Him, He will by no means cast out (John 6:36b). Isaiah 55:7 says, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (New King James Version).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I confess my sins to You. No more cover-up. Forgive me, Lord. Holy Spirit, help me to live in accordance with the Word of God; empower me to live victoriously over sin. Father, touch the hearts of sinners who outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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