We’re only 5 Psalms in and a pattern is already starting to emerge.
Solzhenitsyn wrote that “the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.” So far, the Psalms we have read have only served to confirm this very insight. There is the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. Every man must choose between the two ways. We can scoff and reject or kiss the Son. Every man must choose what he does with the Son. In doing so, we make ourselves out as a people belonging to God or as enemies of God. Humanity is divided by where they stand in relation to God.
It is easy to think very little of this division. We all have non-Christian friends or relatives who are not opposed to our faith, and can be rather supportive to a good degree. This is a blessing we should thank God for – that those who are enemies of God are not our enemies. Yet there are undoubtedly many Christians across the world, today and in ages past, who are virulently and violently persecuted for their faith. They show us with certainty that there are those among the enemies of God who will also be our enemies.
There are three things to note from this Psalm.
First, God’s people will always have enemies. But let our enemies be our enemies because they are God’s enemies. Don’t make others out as enemies of God simply because they are our enemies. David describes his enemies (v.8) as those who have rebelled against God (v.10).
Second, it is a fearful thing to be an enemy of God. He hates all evildoers (v.5), he destroys those who speak lies (v.6), he will cast out rebels because of the abundance of their transgressions (v.10).
Third, the dividing line can be crossed. David was far from sinless. The story of Bathsheba is a tragic account of how sinful the human heart is. But he was spared from destruction. How can an evil man enter the presence of God (v.4)? He may do so through the abundance of God’s steadfast love (v.7). In the wake of recent books challenging the reality of hell and God’s wrath, it must be noted that this is not a sentimental, ‘grandfatherly’ love. It is a holy and righteous love that will not sweep sins under the rug and pretend they never existed. All our sins will be accounted for, and God’s justice will finally run its course.
The question is who that wrath falls upon. It can fall upon us, or it can fall upon Jesus, “whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness at the present time, because in his divine forebearance he had passed over former sins (Romans 3:25).” David was allowed to enter the house of God because in faith he looked forward to the day when Jesus would finally pay for his sins. Today, we can enter into the presence of God as we look back and believe that Jesus paid for our sins in full on the cross.
let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you cover him with favor as with a shield. (v.11-12)