For not a god desiring wickedness are You,
No evil will sojourn by You.
The debauched take no stand in Your eyes,
You hate all the wrongdoers.
You destroy the pronouncer of lies,
A man of blood and deceit the LORD loathes.
God has opinions, strong opinions. That needs to be said vigorously into our neighborhoods and parking lots and jobsites. And God is (to use the completely inadequate and sterile word) MORAL. Which is to say, that God is (now this is better) RIGHTEOUS. His opinions are the right ones; those contrary to His are wrong.
Yesterday we said that there was a great simplicity to David’s method of prayer, and thus a great simplicity to his life: Petition and Wait. Petition early and wait for resolution.
But don’t hear that David’s prayer was necessarily simplistic and terse. He prayed out of an understanding of God’s opinions, and bolstered his petition with that knowledge. “God, You are like this…Therefore…” Or, “You’re not this god….Therefore…”
I said that God has opinions, strong opinions. I don’t need to direct your attention to “hate” and “loathe.”* But more: God acts and decrees according to His opinions. In other words, God’s opinions mean something. They aren’t just religious data points.
Behind David’s petition is the stern belief that God acts according to His character. And, that God’s character must have repercussions in the lives of all people. For instance, people are not just liars. They are liars in a universe created and judged by a God of truth.
In this prayer, maybe in all good petitioning, David is reminding God (there’s a poor phrase!) that he understands Him and that his petition is in line with God’s righteous judgments. In other words, in our prayers we’re not normally guessing that our petition is one that might interest God.
Bible Reading: Acts 17: 16-34
This was the text for my main message as we went around the country raising money to come to Boston! I still say that Paul’s big point, to 1st century Athenians and 21st century Bostonians is that God is not far from each one of us. This truth can be comforting, it can be intimidating, but it is always true!!
*Of course, we should mention the idea, without really understanding it, that God is able to simultaneously hate and love the same person. (Don’t try this at home)