CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Divine Love and Hate, Part One

Nov 23, 2016

It never ceases to amaze me when I hear Christians giving God advice: telling him what he is allowed to do or say. They have put God in the dock and want him to fall in line with their fallen and finite standards and points of view. They are quite simply idolaters who have made God in their own image.

Along with this is how often I have heard believers misrepresent, mangle and manhandle God and his Word. How many times have I heard these rather biblically illiterate and theologically stunted Christians tell me that God would never do such and such, or the Bible never says this or that, or Jesus would never favour something, and so on?

It is shocking how people pass around their own personal opinions – and very wrong opinions at that – as gospel truth. The scariest bit is when I dare to challenge them and offer biblical passages which clearly rebut what they have just insisted on, yet they just dig in their heels and seek to make their case even more stridently. This happens far too often, and it is a real worry.

love-hate-1There would be plenty of examples of this. For example, I recently had someone insist that God NEVER would rejoice in the death of sinners. I reminded him that this is in fact quite wrong, and we have plenty of passages in which God and his people exult over, and delight in, the defeat of evil and the just judgment of God’s enemies.

A similar claim was made in an article someone had shared on the social media. The piece was by some guy I never heard of, but I took a quick look at it and I was not very impressed – depressed would be the right word for my reaction. The title of this article was: “50 GROUPS/INDIVIDUALS JESUS SAYS YOU CAN HATE”

After a few rather snarky remarks about those in the culture wars, etc., he offered his list of 50 items. It was of course fully blank, and one can presume he felt so very clever and wise in doing this. The trouble is, there was nothing clever nor wise about it.

Indeed, it is completely unbiblical. I expect pagans to massacre the Bible to push agendas – even well-intentioned agendas – but when those calling themselves Christian manage to so thoroughly deconstruct Scripture, then that is a very big concern indeed.

The simple truth is this: love and hate are both part of who God is. Jesus is fully God, so this is true of Jesus as well. And it is to be true of his people also. We are to both love and hate – biblically speaking that is. I have already spoken on this topic in various places, especially here:
billmuehlenberg.com/2010/05/26/love-and-hate-biblically-speaking/

I encourage you to read that article in addition to this one. Love may make the world go round, and love may be the only attribute most Christians know about when thinking about God, but it is time we provide the whole counsel of God here, as the Apostle Paul exemplified (Acts 20:27).

The full counsel of God means we will speak fully of the love of God and of the wrath of God, and never seek to separate them. They go together and they express who God in fact is. He is a holy, pure and just God, who is loving and merciful, but who never winks at sin and must always respond to evil.

On the issue of hate I have far more than 50 passages I have gathered together from Scripture – I have well over 100. And these passages quite clearly tell us certain truths:
-God hates certain things
-God hates certain people
-We are to hate certain things
-We are to hate certain people

Yes you read that right. But because we have been soaking in such a truncated, effeminate and worldly gospel, we likely have never heard that there is actually a place for hate. All we hear about is how God loves us just as we are, he only wants the best for us, and we can have our best life now.

We never hear about the wrath of God, God’s hatred of sin, and his just punishment of evil and evildoers. So let me offer just some of these passages for your inspection. There are more such texts than what I present here, but hopefully you will get the picture.

God hates certain things

-Deuteronomy 12:31 You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.
-Deuteronomy 16:21-22 Do not set up any wooden Asherah pole beside the altar you build to the LORD your God, and do not erect a sacred stone, for these the LORD your God hates.
-Psalm 7:11 God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day.
-Psalm 7:11 (KJV) God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
-Psalm 45:7 You [God] love righteousness and hate wickedness;
-Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
-Proverbs 11:1 The LORD detests dishonest scales,
but accurate weights find favor with him.
-Proverbs 12:22 The LORD detests lying lips,
but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
-Proverbs 15:8-9 The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him. The Lord detests the way of the wicked, but he loves those who pursue righteousness.
-Proverbs 15:26 The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but gracious words are pure in his sight.
-Isaiah 1:13-14 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.
-Isaiah 61:8 For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
-Amos 5:21 “I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies.”
-Amos 6:8 The Sovereign LORD has sworn by himself – the LORD God Almighty declares: “I abhor the pride of Jacob and detest his fortresses; I will deliver up the city and everything in it.”
-Zechariah 8:17 “Do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord.
-Malachi 2:16 “I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.
-Hebrews 1:9 You [Jesus] have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. (quoting Psalm 45:7)
-Revelation 2:6, 15-16 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate…Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

God hates certain people

-Leviticus 20:23 You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them.
-Leviticus 26:30 I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars and pile your dead bodies on the lifeless forms of your idols, and I will abhor you.
-Deuteronomy 18:12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD; because of these same detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you.
-Deuteronomy 25:16 For the Lord your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly.
-Psalm 5:4-6 For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong; you destroy those who tell lies. The bloodthirsty and deceitful you, LORD, detest.
-Psalm 11:5 The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.
-Psalm 59:8 But you laugh at them, LORD;
you scoff at all those nations.
-Proverbs 3:32-33 For the LORD detests the perverse
but takes the upright into his confidence.
The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.
-Proverbs 16:5 The LORD detests all the proud of heart.
Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.
-Jeremiah 12:8 My inheritance has become to me like a lion in the forest. She roars at me; therefore I hate her.
-Hosea 9:15 Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal,
I hated them there.
Because of their sinful deeds,
I will drive them out of my house.
I will no longer love them;
all their leaders are rebellious.
-Malachi 1:2-3 “I have loved you,” says the LORD. “But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’ “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.”
-Romans 9:13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
-Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.”
-Titus 1:16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

We are to hate certain things

-Exodus 18:21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.
-Deuteronomy 7:26 Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Utterly abhor and detest it, for it is set apart for destruction.
-Psalm 31:6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols; I trust in the LORD.
-Psalm 97:10 Let those who love the LORD hate evil
-Psalm 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
-Psalm 119:104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.
-Psalm 119:163 I hate and abhor falsehood but I love your law.
-Proverbs 8:13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
-Proverbs 13:5 The righteous hate what is false,
but the wicked make themselves a stench
and bring shame on themselves.
-Proverbs 29:27 The righteous detest the dishonest;
-Ecclesiates 3:8 A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
-Amos 5:15 Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts.
-Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
-Jude 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
-Revelation 2:6, 15-16 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate…Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

We are to hate certain people?

-2 Chronicles 19:2 Jehu the seer, the son of Hanani, went out to meet him and said to the king, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this, the wrath of the Lord is on you.
-Psalm 15:1-4 LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;
whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;
who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the LORD;
-Psalm 26:5 I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked.
-Psalm 31:6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols; as for me, I trust in the Lord.
-Psalm 119:113 I hate double-minded men, but I love your law.
-Psalm 119:158 I look on the faithless with loathing,
for they do not obey your word.
-Psalm 139:21-22 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
-Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
-Titus 1:16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

In Part Two of this article I will offer thoughts on how all this plays itself out in biblical theology and in the life of the believer.

Part Two of this article is found here: billmuehlenberg.com/2016/11/23/divine-love-hate-part-two/ 

50 Groups/Individuals Jesus Says You Can Hate

[2286 words]

4 Responses to Divine Love and Hate, Part One

  • Hi Bill, I sincerely thank you for all the research & effort that you’ve put into publishing this article. It is indeed a blight on our Christian community “who should know better” , that it became necessary for you to research and publish this article (and the one that is to follow). We are expected to proclaim THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD. The closing chapter of Revelation clearly spells out the consequences of doing OTHERWISE ! I personally have to keep working at it on a daily basis. There are many times that I fail and fall, but with the help of The Holy Spirit, I pick myself up, dust myself off and keep going. As you have so rightly pointed out in this article, Our God is not Someone to be trifled with. Great teaching Bill, and again, I’m so sorry that it was found necessary for you to publish this article. I look forward to how you tie it all together in the second instalment. Many blessings and kind regards, Kelvin.

  • Thanks Kelvin. The writer to the Hebrews lamented the fact that we have to keep going over basic Christian teachings:

    “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” Hebrews 5:12

    And Part Two is already up: billmuehlenberg.com/2016/11/23/divine-love-hate-part-two/

  • A good and timely article. Relevantly, I prayed Psalm 139:19-22 almost daily during the US presidential campaign in relation to one HRC. And I know, via Jeremiah 30:23, that he answered my prayer and similar prayers of so many other Christians

  • Which is why the opposite of love is selfishness. God hates a bunch of things, but He is never selfish.

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