Psalm 97:10 says it as succinctly as it can be said: “O you who love the Lord, hate evil!” This terse exhortation may come as a bit of a surprise to many Christians. “Hate” after all is something we modern followers of Jesus never want to be associated with. We prefer to be described as loving. And of course we should be. But to love what is good involves hating what is evil (Romans12:9; Amos 5:15). Especially when it comes to loving God. How can we say that we love a righteous and holy God while being passive about the things that nailed his Son to a cross? How can we draw near to have fellowship with a perfect and pure Lord and not disdain that which is perverse and impure? Yes, we need the psalmist’s curt rebuke, to hate what is evil, regardless of how unpopular it may be. And though God commands of us this uncomfortable emotion, he clearly prohibits any sinful expressions of hatred. “Be angry and do not sin” God’s word tells us (Ephesians 4:26). That may be hard, but indifference is not the solution. “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil” (Proverbs 8:13). This indignation may drive us to passionate prayer, ardent proclamation or even stern rebuke, but never apathy. So may our zeal for God and love for good be evident. May it rightly be said of us: “They love the Lord and hate evil” (Psalm 97:10)!
-- Pastor Mike
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Request My God Is True! with your donation this month.
At Focal Point, one of our defining goals in the teaching we strive to produce is accuracy. Every word of Scripture was inspired by God and demands our careful attention. But it isn’t enough to know each verse in context. The living Word of God must have practical implications for how we live and guide our responses to life’s circumstances—the joyous occasions and the heart-rending tragedies.
How do we respond, for instance, when we are confronted by our fears? When we hear the devastating news that it’s cancer? When we suffer through painful losses? When we find ourselves face-to-face with our own mortality? As a pastor for more than twenty-five years, I have walked with many people through difficult valleys. These are the moments when our faith is put to the test, and our theology either sustains us or goes out the window.
When you give a donation to Focal Point this month, I would like to send you a copy of a book that demonstrates the practical relevance of the Bible to our lives: My God is True: Lessons Learned Along Cancer’s Dark Road. As a 28-year-old newlywed and seminary student, Paul Wolfe was stunned by his diagnosis of cancer. This book chronicles his journey and the questions he wrestled with along the way.
Perhaps you are currently facing a situation that is challenging you to come to grips with the biblical truths you acknowledge in principle. I pray that when you experience uncertainty, doubt, or insecurities, you will remember the unchanging truth of God’s Word. He is faithful to provide strength for today and hope for tomorrow.