Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for He guards the lives of His faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
I always love to read the Psalms and bask in the spiritual emotion David delivers through His inspired meditations. As these verses from the Psalms come to us, I encourage you to read the entire and not just the verse or two presented. I pulled the immediate context around the verse today to share both its wisdom and encouragement with you:
Psalm 97:9-12 (NIV)
9 For you, Lord, are the Most-High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.
10 Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for He guards the lives of His faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light is sown on the righteous (Cf. Psalm 112:4) and joy on the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous, and praise His holy name.
Here, David affirms the supremacy of a single Holy Being … Yahweh … who is the Most-High God. His Being and power are infinitely above anything that could even be entitled a little god. David wanted the people to know and to understand WHO they worship and the purpose for which He is to be exalted. God is ultimately beyond our comprehension; and yet, He wants us to know Him and to love Him with the light that we have been given through His Spirit and His Word.
Love is the defining term of the relationship we are to embrace with our Most-High God. And there are qualities to love that we would do well to examine. We are commanded by God to love Him, to walk in obedience to Him, and to keep His commandments, decrees, and laws. (Cf. Deuteronomy 30:16) Thus, to demonstrate love for God, we are to be obedient. David exhorts that those who love the Lord will hate evil. Thus, to demonstrate love for God, we must abhor anything that is against what is good – as God has defined and revealed goodness through His Spirit and His Word. And love for God is manifested through faithfulness. What we profess to God must align with what we do for God. The Apostle John made these very same points:
1 John 2:5 (NIV)
4 Whoever says, “I know Him,” but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him: 6 Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.
1 John 4:7-8 (NIV)
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 5:2-3 (NIV)
2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out His commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome….
Paul wrote in Romans 13:10, “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the Law.” Love hates evil in any form! This is what we need to understand. And those who love the Lord are protected by God – for He guards the lives of His faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Faithful ones are those who love God and love others as He has commanded. Further, we cannot walk in darkness and practice evil because “light is sown on the righteous.” (See Also Psalm 112:4) I love how that is phrased: “light is sown”. The light and wisdom of God is place in the soil of our hearts … it is sown and watered by the Holy Spirit … to indwell us and to grow and to bear the fruit of righteousness in our lives. And likewise, the joy of this experience is embedded within us! This is why the righteous … those who love the Lord and hate evil … are able to rejoice in the Lord and to worship Him. It stems from the deep love of God for us so that our response can be none other than love itself … a love expressed by worship in Spirit and in Truth … and demonstrated through love for one another.
I hope that you will find something here that speaks to your heart … to either challenge you, encourage you, or both.