For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man (Psalm 5:4-6).
There is a tension that exists within the Scriptures, and in the Psalms particularly, between the love of God and the wrath of God.
The Psalmist in multiple writings exalts God as our Savior, our protector, who loves his creation deeply. And this is true. God does love His creation. He does loves mankind.
But God also hates all evildoers.
The boastful (those consumed with pride).
The deceitful (liars).
The bloodthirsty (those who murder and seek to harm others in thought or deed).
Throughout Scripture, it is made abundantly clear that God hates sin. Not only that, he hates sinners—evildoers, as this psalm says.
So what’s the problem? We are all evildoers. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, says the Apostle Paul in Romans 3:23. Because of our first parents’ sin, because we do evil continually (see Genesis 6:5), we are God’s enemies by nature and by choice.
If this is true, how can God love us?
Because God shows us what it means to love our enemies (Matt. 5:44). “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” Paul tells us in Romans 5:8. Jesus came to die in our place, for our sins, so that we would no longer be God’s enemies, but that we would be His children.
Those who reject Christ, God also loves, but they will not dwell with Him. They will experience His just wrath because they are His enemies.Those in Christ God loves with a particular affection; they are his children.
How should I respond in light of this—the truth that without Christ’s atoning death on the cross, and his righteousness replacing my unrighteousness, I am God’s bitter enemy?
As with all things, repentance. Where am I being prideful? Where am I being deceitful? Where am I being bloodthirsty?
But that’s not all. David makes it clear that we are not only to repent, but also to rejoice. In light of that, I’ll end with his words:
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you cover him with favor as with a shield (Psalm 5:11-12).
For other entries in this series, please visit the Blogging the Psalms page.