You who love the LORD, hate evil! He protects the lives of his godly people and rescues them from the power of the wicked. - Psalm 97:10
During a close reelection campaign, a southern Senator visited a small town in the hinterland of his state. The issue demanding most attention in this lackluster election was . . . squirrel hunting. The people were deeply divided over the issue. Some believed they had the right to hunt the little animals; others thought the practice was barbaric and should be banned. So the Senator was asked to state his position on the issue. After careful thought, and probably after checking the polls, he replied, “Some of my friends are squirrel hunters, and some of my friends think squirrel hunting should be banned. If you look carefully at my record—and I’m running on my record, don’t forget—you’ll know that as a man of principle I stand firmly with my friends.”
The story may have value as a satire on modern politics but not as a prescription for living by principle! On matters of real significance, a man of principle cannot be in favor of one thing and its opposite at the same time! In fact, the extent to which a man shows his stand for something can often best be determined by the position he takes against the opposite.
The psalm writer gives us a great example. He wrote, “You who love the Lord, hate evil!” (Ps. 97:10). There are many ways in which a man shows his love for the Lord. He is instructed to love the Lord with heart, mind, soul, and strength (Deut. 6:5; Luke 10:27). Those are positive ways of loving the Lord. But love can be expressed negatively as well. By hating what God hates, we express love for who God is.
The psalmist says, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of [God’s] throne” (Ps. 97:2). Obviously, then, unrighteousness and injustice are contrary to his nature and are, accordingly, evil. The Lord “protects the lives of his godly people and rescues them from the power of the wicked” (97:10). So concern for the well-being of the godly and opposition to the wicked exercise of power are good and right, while the converse are evil.
Modern man can detect traces of unrighteousness and injustice in his own treatment of people, and he can see them in operation in the institutions of his culture. So he has plenty of opportunities to show that he hates unrighteousness and injustice. When a man sees the abuse of power and the oppression of the godly, he should be in the forefront of those who object and endeavor to rectify the situation. Loving God includes hating what he hates, and that means taking a stand against evil.
For Further Study: Psalm 97
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Men, Copyright ©2000 by Stuart Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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