As believers we know that people of the world will hate us. Their spirits cannot abide The Spirit who is in us. They do not recognize their own sin and so when we manifest righteousness which opposes sin they judge it as disgusting, bigoted, and hateful. Jesus warned us in John 15:18-21.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me”
It has always been true that the lost and especially those who considered themselves to be good people hated the children of God. David wrote many Psalms about the persecution his enemies flung at him. But through all that harassment and pursuit, he trusted The Lord. Verses 1-5 read,
“In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me!
2 Incline your ear to me;
rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me!
3 For you are my rock and my fortress;
and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me;
4 you take me out of the net they have hidden for me,
for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.”
What did David do in the face of his torment? He prayed, “Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily!” And he trusted that God would rescue him and that He would be his refuge. His enemies didn’t stop David from following The Lord. God led David to righteousness, to living as a man after His own heart so that He, The Lord would be glorified and the lost recognize Him and His greatness in David. And David in response said, “Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.” He entrusted his soul, his salvation to The Lord and recognized that it was God who saved him, not his goodness, his trying, or his works, but The Lord his Redeemer. Jesus at his greatest distress on the cross as He was about to die uttered those words, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” The Lord guards our spirit for us. He seals us with His Spirit and He holds onto our spirit in protective and jealous love for us. The enemy cannot take us, he cannot have us. Our enemies our persecutors may hound us and cause pain but they cannot take us out of God’s loving and strong shelter.
Verses 6-13 describe David’s persecution from his enemies.
“I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols,
but I trust in the Lord.
7 I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love,
because you have seen my affliction;
you have known the distress of my soul,
8 and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy;
you have set my feet in a broad place.
9 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eye is wasted from grief;
my soul and my body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my iniquity,
and my bones waste away.
11 Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach,
especially to my neighbors,
and an object of dread to my acquaintances;
those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I have been forgotten like one who is dead;
I have become like a broken vessel.
13 For I hear the whispering of many--
terror on every side!--
as they scheme together against me,
as they plot to take my life.”
David didn’t hate his adversaries with retribution, he hated them on behalf of God. He hated that they hated The Lord by worshipping idols, when they knew better. He hated that they were following a path to destruction as God hated that they were going to Hell instead of reveling in Him. David felt like he had no one among his neighbors or acquaintances, they all seemed to believe his enemies instead of recognizing God in him. It seemed he had no one on his side. But He knew that He had God. Verses 14-18 say,
“But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hand;
rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
16 Make your face shine on your servant;
save me in your steadfast love!
17 O Lord, let me not be put to shame,
for I call upon you;
let the wicked be put to shame;
let them go silently to Sheol.
18 Let the lying lips be mute,
which speak insolently against the righteous
in pride and contempt.”
We all have people who hate us if we follow Jesus, but we do not have to be concerned for ourselves. We can trust The Lord holds our hearts and spirits in His almighty hands. We can trust that God will avenge us and our enemies and the enemy will pay for their deeds unless they ask Jesus to save them. God is so wonderfully good, so awesomely great, and so tremendously sovereign. We don’t have to spend our time plotting against our enemy. We can rejoice in The Lord and delight in the blessings He gives us. Verses 19-22 read,
“Oh, how abundant is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you
and worked for those who take refuge in you,
in the sight of the children of mankind!
20 In the cover of your presence you hide them
from the plots of men;
you store them in your shelter
from the strife of tongues.
21 Blessed be the Lord,
for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
when I was in a besieged city.
22 I had said in my alarm,
“I am cut off from your sight.”
But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy
when I cried to you for help.”
We have nothing to fear from our adversaries. We have nothing to fear from Satan or his minions. We are free to love the Lord our God, our Vengeance, and our Refuge. The world will hate us if we follow Jesus filled with The Spirit. Don’t reciprocate the hate. Love God by loving the lost even when they try to hurt, maim, or kill you. Remember who God is and who you are. Love God by depending on Him, leaving vengeance to Him, and having faith that you are in His tender hands.
Verses 23-24 read,
“Love the Lord, all you his saints!
The Lord preserves the faithful
but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the Lord!”