DayBreaks for 1/26/17: The Upright Heart
Psalm 97:10-12 (NLT) – You who love the LORD, hate evil! He protects the lives of his godly people and rescues them from the power of the wicked. Light shines on the godly, and joy on those who do right. May all who are godly be happy in the LORD and praise his holy name!
How I fear we have missed much of the wonder and blessing of the Psalms! Sure, there are the all-time favorites: Psalm 19, Psalm 90, Psalm 132, and of course, Psalm 23. But there is so much that we miss by rapidly reading the Psalms!
There is so much to consider in this Psalm. Verse 10 gives a command to those who love the Lord (notice, it isn’t just for those who say they love the Lord, but for those who really do love Him!), and it consists of two words: “hate evil.” Part of being faithful is to hate evil. I ask myself: how much do I hate evil, instead of dabble with it because I’m drawn to it like a moth to a flame? If I truly love the Lord, I am to hate evil – not because evil isn’t fun, but because of what evil does to God, others and myself. I may think that evil might be fun, but it isn’t – not really. In the final analysis, it is painful – and deadly.
God protects the lives of the godly, the faithful, and delivers them from the power of the wicked. This verse doesn’t say that we won’t still struggle, but it is He who protects and rescues us from the power of the wicked (Satan and humans!) It is not our own resolve, strength or determination that delivers us. My will power isn’t up to that task – and neither is yours. I can’t see all the stratagems of the wicked nor see all their plots. God can – and He alone has the ability to deliver us.
Verse 11 says that light and joy are shed on those who do right. The NIV says that they are shed on “the upright in heart.” What is an upright heart? Think of a glass of water. An upright glass is not tipped, slanted or crooked – it is straight up vertical! A crooked heart is one that wanders back and forth in allegiance and whose love waxes and wanes. A slanted heart may be too earthly – or too heavenly. Someone once said that we can be too earthly to be of any heavenly value, and to heavenly to be of any earthly good. Wise observation, if you ask me. But an upright – or “right side up” heart is directed to God.
But there’s more for us here. Verses 10-11 talk about what God does for the upright and godly. Then comes verse 12 with its instructions on our proper response: we are to not just be intellectually or emotionally grateful for what God has done, but we need to rejoice and praise His name. We need to take our response and faith beyond just hearing about His protection, deliverance, light and joy into taking actions of praise for those and all other things that come from His hand.
We, if we are godly (vs. 12), are to be happy in the Lord. And why shouldn’t we be – once we get our hearts and minds around verses 10-11!
Far too few who are Christians hate evil – we’re much more comfortable with loving good than hating evil. But we need to be outraged by it and hate what it does to God’s creation!
PRAYER: Almighty Father, may we truly love you with all our heart, mind, strength and soul. May we learn to hate evil as you hate evil. May we rest in the wonderful protection you give us, exulting in your deliverance! Fill us with light, joy and happiness that we may praise you forever!!! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.