Theme: Hating Wrong, Loving Good
In this week’s lessons, this portion of Psalm 119 shows that there are absolutes by which believers must live, which are contrary to what the world puts forth.
Scripture: Psalm 119:113-128
The last two verses of this section repeat a point we saw in verse 113, namely, hatred of what is wrong contrasted with a love of what is good. As these verses put it,
Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold,
and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.
We live in days when it is hard for people, even alleged Christians, to accept such a statement. Our age is being described as postmodernity, a time in history when all things are regarded as true in the Hegelian sense, that is, that they may be true for you or me or for now, but not that they have any binding validity for others or for all times, and in which nothing is to be considered false. Since there are no absolutes, there is nothing we can call “not true.” To call it “not true” is an inexcusable power play on our part. All ways of life must be equally valid and the only thing that is absolutely wrong is to say that the path taken by someone else is wrong. It is absolutely intolerable to hate it. The time is probably coming when Christians holding to absolute standards will be considered criminals.
But Christians do hold to absolutes, and must hold them. For we know that we cannot love God and Satan, too. We cannot hold to God’s standards without separating from the contrary standards of the world. We cannot love the right path without hating the wrong ones. Jesus put it this way: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Money” (Matt. 4:24).
Are you willing to hate what God hates? If not, you will never learn truly to love God, and you will certainly never walk in the way that brings true blessing. If you are hesitating, may I encourage you to read the first psalm in the Psalter once again. It contrasts the way of the wicked with the way of the godly. The former “walk in the counsel of the wicked,” “stand in the way of sinners,” and “sit in the seat of mockers” (v. 1). By contrast, the godly “delight…in the law of the LORD” and meditate on it “day and night” (v. 2), as a result of which, they are like well-nourished trees which yield good fruit in their season (v. 3). The psalm ends by observing,
For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish (v. 6).
Why is it hard for us to hate the wrong path? How can we recover that deep sense of right and wrong?
What does it mean to have no absolutes? To what absolutes do Christians adhere?
How did Jesus explain the inherent conflict for the Christian living in a secular world?
Reflection: Are you willing to hate what God hates? Read Psalm 1 and ask God to direct your path.
Key Point: Are you willing to hate what God hates? If not, you will never learn truly to love God, and you will certainly never walk in the way that brings true blessing.
For Further Study: The book of Psalms is filled with practical advice for how we as Christians are to walk in obedience to the Lord. If you would like to have a copy of James Boice’s three-volume paperback set, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is offering it for 25% off the regular price.