Fealty One-a-Day Friday    6/9/17

A life worthy

If only you would slay the wicked, O God!  Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!  They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.  Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord, and abhor those who rise up against you?  I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.  (Psalm 139:19-22)

Wow.  Right in the middle of this psalm celebrating the wonder of God’s love and care for me, I get called to a holy war.  What’s that about?  If you do a little study on this verse, you find that it echoes the ancient Near East covenant language between King and Vassal.  The vassal swears that any enemy of the king will be his enemy.

Are you impressed with my scholarliosity?  I love those study bible footnotes.

But God is a God of love, right?  Aren’t we supposed to love everyone?

Show me where it says that in the Bible.

Well, Jesus said, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”

Oh yeah, he did…huh.

I’ll admit—this is a toughie.  I’ll be happy to hear from any of you who have thoughts about this passage.  It seems to me that, in light of the gospel, we should be pretty careful about hating people.  There is plenty for us to hate—the ways of the world, the devil and his schemes, our own flesh—plenty that rises up against God.  People seem pretty far down the list.

I think this passage is not so much a call to war as a call to total allegiance.  You have a God who knows every thought you have ever entertained and loves you anyway.  He surrounds you, literally, with his love and protection.  Pledge your fealty to him again.  Go forth into your Wednesday as the sworn enemy of all that stands against him.

Serve the king who loves you, Beloved.

Happy Friday


Fealty One-a-Day Friday    6/9/17 — 1 Comment

  1. “To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’” -Romans 12:20 quoting Proverbs 25:21

    I think what you see in David is a loathing about being in the presence of those whose actions are against God, but the command to love is that whole love-as-verb thing. I think Romans 12:20 paints a good picture of unifying the two concepts.

    The concept of bondage to the devil I don’t think was revealed yet to David, so he is talking about men without that intermediate idea that they are in bondage to the true adversary, the true enemy.

    Anyone who takes up the Devil’s work is our enemy in the sense of their actions, but not our enemy in the sense that they do not know what they are doing for they are blind and in bondage.

    David’s psalm is ultimately expressing his feeling about the actions of those doing the Devil’s work. I think you can find other witnesses in other scriptures that show how David dealt with his enemies mercifully, whereas this one shows how their actions against God made him feel.

    In that sense it’s not out of place in the Psalm, for when we see just how good God is to us even from before our birth and how much care he has for us, then those who treat God as an enemy should cause us great distress and inner “rending of garments” because of how wrong they are and how false the narrative they have believed from the Devil.

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