Posts Tagged ‘Pride’

Risk and Reward

What and who God hates!? © Image created by Ross Cochrane

Psalm 5:4-6 – WHAT AND WHO GOD HATES!?

Psalm 5 gives great principles of how to pray when I am overwhelmed, but in the midst of it, we are confronted by what David says about what and who God hates. So far Psalm 5 encourages me to…

  1. EXPRESS MYSELF IN WORDS AND/OR EMOTIONS “… groaning.”
  2. RECOGNISE GOD’S AUTHORITY OVER MY LIFE “… my King”.
  3. BOLDLY ASK FOR GOD’S FAVOUR “Listen to my cry for help”.
  4. BE PERSISTENT IN PRAYER “Each morning…” 
  5. WAIT EXPECTANTLY FOR HIM TO ANSWER, rather than get discouraged.

And then I am encouraged to…

     6. SEE THINGS FROM GOD’S PERSPECTIVE

This next part of Psalm 5 is where I am confronted by WHAT GOD HATES AND WHO GOD HATES.  Firstly WHAT GOD HATES…

“O God, You take no pleasure in wickedness; You cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked” (Psalm 5:4 (NLT).

Habakkuk 1:13 (NLT) mirrors this when it says, “But You are pure and cannot stand the sight of evil.”  

So, if God hates evil, then those who follow Christ also hate evil. Those who love Him LOVE WHAT HE LOVES but they also HATE WHAT HE HATES. Psalm 97:10 says “You who love the Lord, hate evil!…” Romans 12:9 (NLT) says, “… Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.”

So far so good. But the following verses disturb our comfortable view about God.

If you are overwhelmed by the difficulties of life, this Psalm goes on to say,

     7. BE WILLING TO HUMBLE MYSELF BEFORE GOD

“Therefore, THE PROUD may not stand in Your presence,…” (Psalm 5:5 NLT).

Who is the PROUD person?

In the context of this passage, a “PROUD” person is someone who thinks they can disregard the authority of God in their lives and live their own way.

What does it mean that they will NOT STAND IN GOD’S PRESENCE? 

Standing in God’s presence speaks of RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.

When I ignore God, He will NOT FORCE me into relationship with Him, but the consequence is that I will not come to know Him or His purposes for my life. I will also face an eternity without Him.

The Bible speaks often of GOD’S LOVE FOR PEOPLE. 1 John 4:16 says “We know how much GOD LOVES US, and we have PUT OUR TRUST IN HIS LOVE. GOD IS LOVE, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.”

BUT IS THERE ANYONE THAT GOD HATES?

The answer is YES, and a sobering truth, when I am overwhelmed by life’s difficulties, is that Psalm 5 invites me to ….

     8. RECOGNISE THAT I AM ACCOUNTABLE TO GOD   

Psalm 5 gives us further insight into God’s character. These next verses are expressed very strongly. They talk about WHAT AND WHO GOD HATES. 

We know He hates things like DECEPTION AND IMMORALITY and MURDER but Psalm 5 goes further… 

In Psalm 5, King David talks about God’s HATRED of SOME PEOPLE… 

He says “… for You HATE all who DO EVIL. You will DESTROY those who TELL LIES. The Lord DETESTS MURDERERS AND DECEIVERS” Psalm 5:5-6 (NLT).

From deceivers to murderers is a big jump and God HATES THEM ALL!?

Now, remember that the person writing these verses is KING DAVID.

King David did some things God HATES. He COMMITTED ADULTERY with Bathsheba and then DECEIVED AND MURDERED her husband, Uriah the Hittite.

King David might as well be saying that God hates him. 

But then in the next breath, David talks about God’s LOVE. Psalm 5:7 (NLT) says “Because of Your UNFAILING LOVE, I can enter Your house;…” 

IF KING DAVID HAS DONE THE EVIL THINGS THAT HE SAYS GOD HATES, THEN HOW CAN HE TALK OF GOD’S UNFAILING LOVE FOR HIM?

Look down to Psalm 5:10 (NLT). It says “O God, DECLARE THEM GUILTY. Let them be CAUGHT IN THEIR OWN TRAPS. DRIVE THEM AWAY because of their MANY SINS, for they have REBELLED AGAINST YOU.” (Psalm 5:10 NLT)

That’s what happened to David! David was declared GUILTY by Nathan the Prophet. He was CAUGHT IN HIS OWN TRAP. He had REBELLED AGAINST GOD and almost driven away because of his many sins.

Romans 1:18 (NLT) says, “But God SHOWS HIS ANGER from heaven against ALL SINFUL, WICKED PEOPLE WHO SUPPRESS THE TRUTH BY THEIR WICKEDNESS.” 

The trouble is that the Bible says we are ALL SINFUL PEOPLE. Romans 3:23 (NLT) “For EVERYONE HAS SINNED; we ALL fall short of God’s glorious standard.”

IS EVERYONE HATED BY GOD? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS?

We all like to quote John 3:16, 18a (NLT) which says, “For this is how God LOVED THE WORLD: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life… There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. 

But what about the rest of John 3:18 (NLT), … But anyone who does not believe in Him has ALREADY BEEN JUDGED for not believing in God’s one and only Son.” 

HOW CAN DAVID TALK OF GOD’S LOVE FOR HIM? 

The only reason I can find is that David REPENTED OF HIS SIN AND GOD FORGAVE HIM. He also paid the heavy consequences of his actions (2 Samuel 12).

For us, God’s love and hatred are connected to the Cross. God found a way to love those He hates.

So we cannot look at Psalm 5 without seeing it through the eyes of the Cross.

     9. UNDERSTAND THAT WITHOUT CHRIST, WE ARE ALL ENEMIES OF GOD, AND WE ALL NEED GOD’S FORGIVENESS

Romans 5:6-21 (NLT) says that before we started following Christ we were ALL SINNERS AND ENEMIES OF GOD.

It says, “God showed HIS GREAT LOVE for us by sending Christ to die for us WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, He will certainly SAVE US from GOD’S CONDEMNATION. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of His Son WHILE WE WERE STILL HIS ENEMIES we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us FRIENDS OF GOD….”

So, here’s what I have discovered so far about Psalm 5 and what and who God hates.

  • The Bible says that ALL PEOPLE HAVE SINNED
  • It also says GOD HATES SINFUL PEOPLE.
  • WE WERE ALL ENEMIES OF GOD
  • God takes no pleasure in us being His ENEMIES because of our sin.
  • God wants to express His LOVE to us, not His HATRED.
  • God sent Christ into the world to SAVE HIS ENEMIES – US so that we could be recipients of His LOVE.
  • Christ tells His disciples to LOVE YOUR ENEMIES just as He did.
  • Christ PAID THE PENALTY for our sins and when we trust in what He has done for us, we are NO LONGER GOD’S ENEMIES but FRIENDS OF GOD and recipients of His LOVE.

2 Peter 3:9 (NLT) says, “The Lord … does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants EVERYONE TO REPENT.” 

David is able to pray confidently, Because of Your unfailing love, I can enter Your house; I will worship at Your Temple with deepest awe” (Psalm 5:7 NLT).

With Christ in my life, my response to God’s unfailing love is worship with a deep sense of awe and expectation. God loves me and I know that I can stand confidently in His presence. His invitation extends to all who trust in Him.

When I say, “God loves the sinner but not the sin”, it is a little too simplistic. He hates us being His enemies and sent Christ to restore a broken and deadly relationship.

For followers of Christ, the invitation of Psalm 5 is to enter into God’s presence in prayer,  and we can do so because of His unfailing love. That environment of God’s unfailing love invites us to find our destiny. That environment of God’s unfailing love enables us to stand firm in the battles of life.

Pastor Ross

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Matthew 16:1-12 – GIVE ME A SIGN! 

"Wrinkled faces I have met" Photo drawing by author Ross Cochrane June 9, 2013

“Wrinkled faces I have met”
Photo drawing by author Ross Cochrane June 9, 2013

“You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times!” (Matthew 16:3 NLT).

Dusk in the park at Autumn; cold fingers on my face as the night air begins to envelop the earth; fallen leaves forming a carpet of colours muffling the sound of footfall. A fleeting feeling of abandonment fills my senses as bare branches, frozen against the sky become etchings of wrinkled faces that I have known. Wrapped up to insulate myself from the Autumn air, I am still exposed to it’s beauty and in this temporary reprieve from Winter’s harsh indifference, I am once again reminded of the seasons of my life.

GIVE ME A SIGN!

“Give me a sign!” I want a clear sign to show me the way ahead when all I find are faded footprints that beckon me to follow; half-hints of hope to convince my recalcitrant doubts about the future and persuade my flickering faith to persist. At times I turn away even though the path is cleared of Autumn leaves and debris from a storm. Summer shines it’s light but I am blinded by it’s truth and I insist on another path, well travelled; the path I know that leads in circles round the park; the path of Pharisees and Sadducees; of reason and religious leaven; of blind indifference to miracles and to the sign of Jonah. “Lord, give me a sign!” … and then You lead me past the Cross and to the empty tomb, past my fears and to the upper room, past my pride to prostrate fall in fear and love before Your throne. And there before the glassy sea in worship You renew the calls of spring in me. In chords divine Your voice like rivers flowing from my heart says “Be My sign”

(Ross Cochrane June 2013)

United only in opposing Christ, they come. The Pharisees challenge Jesus to produce a supernatural sign of their own choosing. The Sadducees, who do not believe in signs and supernatural events agree in their desire to silence Jesus; to discredit Him by asking for a sign, especially if He fails to do as they demand. Matthew Henry says “It is great hypocrisy, when we slight the signs of God’s ordaining, to seek for signs of our own devising.” Jesus paints this demand in winter colours; Spiritual adultery! Unfaithfulness to God! “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah” (Matthew 16:4 NLT). Then Jesus leaves and if I persist in asking for my own sign, I too will remain blind and left behind amidst His miracles; the footprints left in Jesus’ wake.

Jonah the prophet preached to Nineveh, an evil and adulterous city and they repented (Jonah 3:5-10). Extraordinary! Changed lives! Is the repentance of thousands of people the sign of the prophet Jonah as Jesus brings healing and understanding to their lives? He leaves the Pharisees and Sadducees wondering about Jonah, but in no doubt that He has associated them personally with an “evil and adulterous generation”. 

What greater signs can God give than the signs of lives changed radically forever. No excuse for unbelief. What right do I have to come to Jesus and demand signs of my own choosing, instead of discerning the signs God has chosen to give. His remarkable, outstanding, astonishing, brilliant, miraculous signs! No not the sunset or the seasons but Christ alive in me! Jesus is God’s sign. My changed life is God’s sign to a fallen world. 

The ultimate sign has been given when Jesus died for my sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead. Like Jonah, He spent three days and nights in the grave. Romans 1:4 (MSG and NLT) says “His unique identity as Son of God was shown by the Spirit when Jesus was raised from the dead, by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 10:9 (NLT) says “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” 

Pastor Ross

If this message has been like a sign and helped in pointing you towards Christ, please pass it forward to others who need to discern the signs Jesus speaks of.