Oftentimes I pray a strophe or a part of a strophe of Psalm 119 before I begin Bible engagement. The morning of July 21, 2020, I prayed verses 161-163. Verse 163 stood out, and in the ESV it reads:
163 I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law.
Other translations read:
Psalm 119:163 (NCV) – 163 I hate and despise lies, but I love your teachings.
Psalm 119:163 (NET) – 163 I hate and despise deceit; I love your law.
Falsehood, lying and deceit generate strong reactions of “hate” and “abhor” from the Psalmist. The word “hate” as the sense of to dislike intensely or feel antipathy or aversion towards falsehood. See Logos 8 Exegetical Guide. The word “abhor” has the sense of to find repugnant or to find something abominable. As one commentator writes with respect to the use of “hate” and “abhor”:
A double expression for an inexpressible loathing. Falsehood in doctrine, in life, or in speech, falsehood in any form or shape, had become utterly detestable to the psalmist. He does not, however, alone refer to falsehood in conversation; he evidently intends perversity in faith and teaching. He set down all opposition to the God of truth as lying, and then he turned his whole soul against it in the intensest form of indignation.
PACKER, J. I. (1993). Introduction. In Psalms (p. 246). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
In complete contrast to “falsehood” is God’s Word. The Psalmist loves God’s Word because of the absolute truth in it. We cannot forget that truth and falsehood are diametrically opposed.
This verse applies to a 21st Century Christ-follower in a couple of ways.
First, the Christ-follower must “love” God’s Word. He or she must engage the Bible with intensity because the Bible teaches the holy way to live pleasing to God.
Second, the Christ-follower must unequivocally hate anything that is false, i.e., not consistent with the absolute truth in the Bible. Such hate must take the form of purging what is false from one’s life. It must also take the form of confronting in love that which is, as well as those who teach, falsehood in any form or fashion. As another commentator writes:
As hypocrisy is in the hearts of all men by nature, and as we are naturally prone to vanity and deceitfulness, we ought diligently to labour to purge our hearts, that the love of the law may reign in them. … Nor is abhorring superfluously added to hating, the design being to teach us that it is not enough to hate falsehood with a common hatred, but that God’s children must hate it with a deadly hatred.
Calvin, J., & Anderson, J. (2010). Commentary on the Book of Psalms (Vol. 5, pp. 39–40). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, unless God intervenes, your eternal destination is hell. But, your destiny can change. Today can be the day of your salvation. Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved.
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