The LORD loves those who hate evil; He keeps His loyal servants safe and rescues them from the power of the wicked.
~Psalm 97:10, REB
The key to a victorious life is to love God and hate evil.
It amazes me in my daily bible reading; how often I come across the same subject in different parts of the bible. Yesterday morning I was reading Psalm of 97 and then I turned to the Lamentations of Jeremiah and saw a connection. Lamentations is Jeremiah’s journal of what he saw and heard during the days of the siege and the fall of Jerusalem. Jerusalem had failed to love God and hate evil: matter of fact, they got it backwards–they loved evil and hated God. This is not a formula for success. What caught my attention in Lamentations one was the contrast: Jerusalem had been filled with people, now it was desolate. There had been rejoicing within her walls, now there was nothing but sorrow. They had known freedom but now they were slaves to the Babylonians. They had enjoyed peace and prosperity but now were restless and starving. The splendor and glory were gone and to make matter worse, Israel’s neighbors, mostly kinfolk, were rejoicing at her downfall. Israel was without a single ally: no one came to their rescue and no one gave them aid or comfort.
Of course, Jeremiah is honest, he said the LORD has made us suffer because of our sins. He said, “Our sins were like a yoke on our necks, the weight became so great, we could not stand.” It is an age old truth: sin will take us down. Small or great, it does not matter, sin will take us down. It is a burden too heavy for mortals to bare. Jeremiah confessed, “The LORD abandoned us to our sin.” The Jews were rebellious and God gave them over to their rebellious hearts. They refused to let God rule so He turned them over to a ruthless and pagan master.
Jerusalem did not have to fall. The Jews did not have to be enslaved by the Babylonians. The people did not have to suffer the misery of defeat and desolation: they brought it all on themselves. Jeremiah and Baruch knew God was righteous and that Jerusalem deserved the punishment but they were the exception to the rule. Most of the Jews blamed God and still do. They saw themselves as victims of oppression and still do. All this happened 2,600 years ago and their attitude, as a whole, has not changed.
It amazes me: People can lose their jobs, marriage, family, friends and their self-respect and still they blame others instead of recognizing the truth that their own sin is the problem, not God and certainly not others. It’s like the woman who ask me to perform her 7th and final wedding ceremony. I told her I would do it under one condition: that she confess her failure in the previous six. She got angry with me. She said, “I was not at fault, I just can’t find the right man.” If you’ve been married six times, you might want to do a little introspection. Stop blaming everyone else and get honest with God and others. You will never make any progress until you take responsibility for your sins and stop blaming others.
It is been an incredible last week of August for those of us in North Alabama: we have had great weather this week–first the rain and then the cooler temps. I really enjoyed the cool mornings. I know we will have some more hot weather but this was a refreshing break–THANK YOU JESUS!
The traffic in Hartselle was brutal last night as we tried to get to Brewer: they have got to do something about those horrible lights. First of all, they don’t need two: one would be enough and they should make left turns illegal. Plus the 36 green light should be on twice as much as old 31. People are avoiding downtown because of this problem. I’m not a rocket scientist but I can tell you that traffic is getting worse everyday and Hartselle needs to get out of the stone age and do something progressive for a change.