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A Hard Passage: The unloving and unlovely

Psalm 139:19-22

Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!

O men of blood, depart from me!

They speak against you with malicious intent;

your enemies take your name in vain.

Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD?

And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?

I hate them with complete hatred;

I count them my enemies.

The wicked are unloving and unlovely. These are hard words for us to hear. last week we didn’t

visit these. But they are part of the psalm, they have divine purpose. Let’s look at them. Ours

is a culture of professed tolerance/acceptance/affirmation—-of sin, lest we be ‘cancelled’. Just

look around and sadly you know it is true. And it beats down and boxes in the believer, the

one who truly loves and wants God’s ways to triumph. So, I muse, can we, dare we, pray this

prayer?—- Put the shoe on the other foot: am I too scared in some sense to own that I should

be incensed and offended (for the Lord’s sake) at blatant unrighteousness around me? And by

the tenor of my life do I live in such a manner as to, by my very existence, stand as an obstacle

to those promoting sinful ways and perversion of true justice? How active am I willing to be in

opposing evil? Will I suffer the cancellation or worse?

Reread these verses. They are a plea from one who knows God’s ways of right and wrong, and

is offended and threatened by those who stand in opposition to God. He calls on the Lord to

act and gives full vent to personal anger at God’s enemies. He invites God’s action not his own.

Jesus too saw unrighteousness in high places and nonviolently opposed injustice and

perversion of God’s laws and those who promoted it. One example below:

Mark 3:1-6. A Man with a Withered Hand

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they

watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might

accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said

to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?”

But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their

hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out,

and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with

the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

Maybe this part of the Psalm didn’t seem to fit “Holy week”. But we were nevertheless

reminded how Jesus’s life in opposition to entrenched power and perversion of God’s ways led

to His crucifixion. We were also graced to see afresh God’s power, over death and for

deliverance of all who will turn to Him, for forgiveness and deliverance from sin.

How then are we to respond? I offer that we hate the sin yet give space to love the sinner

praying that he turn. But if he does not our personal hatred will be the least the sinner has to

worry about, we are simply aligning our will with God’s ultimate judgment for the unrepentant.

But for those we protect from harm and those we influence to repent we serve as ‘little


David Boyd March 27, 2024

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