You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies; blood thirsty and deceitful men the LORD abhors.
But I by your great mercy will come into your house; in reverence will I bow down towards your holy temple. Lead me, LORD in your righteousness because of my enemies – make straight your way before me.
How well do you know God? That might seem an impertinent question or one asked to bolster the questioners sense of superior knowledge but please think about it again.
Clearly a lifetime is too short to be able to say ‘I know God in his entirety’ for he is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent but think about the question from a slightly different angle. Is my knowledge of God in step with his revelation of himself in the pages of scripture?
From the verses above we note that
God takes no pleasure in evil
The wicked cannot dwell with him
The arrogant cannot stand in his presence
He hates all who do wrong
He destroys those who tell lies
He abhors blood thirsty and deceitful men.
As I read these words I wonder if David had a clearer understanding of all the attributes of God than many of us do. Asked to name any attribute of God, I suspect the average answer from most people today would be “God is love.” Now that is gloriously true but it is not the whole picture and unless we paint the whole picture we sell people short in the most crucial of areas.
David, in penning this Psalm, knew what it was to have many who opposed him, the anointed King of God’s people, and he knew in his own life what it was to sin and do evil, so he was realistic about sin and God’s reaction to it. He thus had a hatred of sin and evil and knew that in this he was thinking like God.
But at the same time he knew what grace, mercy and love from God were all about – all three attributes spotlighted for their beauty when seen against the ‘way of the wicked’ Psalm 1 v.6
So he is able to say “I by your great mercy will come into your house; in reverence I will bow down towards your holy temple.” And then “Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies – make straight your way before me.”
We have a glorious gospel to proclaim but we will only do it with urgency when we understand how God sees sin, evil and those who delight in them.
Let’s be sure we have a full orbed understanding of our great God rather than a lopsided one however attractive the lopsided one may be.