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DOCTRINE QUESTION 111
What does it mean in Psalms 139:22 where David says, "I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies?"
Here is the context of the above verse. (Psalms 139:19-22), "Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies."
When you see who the "them" are, that he hates, it make the meaning of his hatred, holy and not evil. God hates sin with an holy hatred, so David is saying the same thing. Divine love and hate can co-exist. "God so loved the world..... yet" Psalms 5:5, "The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity." We are all workers of iniquity in some form.
God's love is an attitude of benevolence and good will toward sinners, and yet, He hates their sin and sinful ways with an holy hatred. There is always ill will in the hatred of man, but not so with God. He hates sin and sinners, but He has no ill will toward them. He loves them with a perfect love. The word for love in the Bible is not something emotional as we think, but an attitude of good will and action toward the object of that love. This is what David understands and says. I hate them (like God does) with a holy (no ill will toward them) perfect hatred. Even though they were enemies of God.
The message of the love of God to us, is not that God necessarily likes us, but that His attitude toward us is good will accompanied with His actions. He does not love in word and tongue, but in deed and truth. 1 John 3:18, My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
His love is expressed in, John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." His attitude is love toward us, His actions He gave His Son. What you do with Him will determine where you go in eternity. Heaven by trusting Him, hell if not.
All comments and questions to: Harold Smith
Updated July 2009, by Shelly Allen