Drawing the Line


“But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated Me without a cause.'”  John 15:25


Today, I learned about love and hate, obedience and honor, hate and undeserved favor, revulsion and community, self-hatred and transformation, self-motivation and godly obedience, and action versus disobedience.  I learned about this all because “[t]hey hated You without a cause.”  I learned or am learning this because Your Word must be fulfilled.  

It’s not just that they hated You without a cause, but this was all part of prophecy.  This was all in the plan.  It was no accident and it wasn’t a surprise to You.  

I wanted to see where in Your Law this was written.  So I looked back.  And both times it was in Psalms.  “Let not those rejoice over me who are wrongfully my foes, and let not those wink the eye who hate me without cause.”  (Psalm 35:19)  “More in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause; mighty are those who would destroy me, those who attack me with lies.  What I did not steal must I now restore?”  (Psalm 69:4)  If the part about being hated without a cause is prophetic, what of the part about what You stole needing to be restored?  Just wondering if that’s referring to our righteousness.  You didn’t steal it; we willfully gave it up, yet You must restore it.  Just wondering…

Well, they hated You without cause.  Since You referred back to the Old Testament writings, I can also gain understanding from the meaning behind the Hebrew words.  Strong’s refers to the Greek “miseo” for “hatred” as to detest (especially to persecute) and then says, “by extension to love less.”  And a lot of interpreters have found Your references to hate to be difficult to make agree with Scripture.  But I think the loving less part waters things down too much.  Maybe we just need to understand Your original meaning of “hate.”

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew words for “hate” and “detest” are related by the root word “sane.”  This is how Skip Moen shares the meaning of hate.  “To hate describes an emotional reaction of repulsion.  In this state, a person wishes only to keep distant from the offense or the offender.  Hate entails distance.  It is just the opposite of love which brings about the desire for closeness.  When the word is used in the Tanakh, it is often associated with idolatry, opposition, aversion and ill-will.  In this regard, the verb describes a reaction rather than a causative action.  Something or someone acts in such a way that we react with a strong emotional rejection.”  Now think of this.  “Esau have I hated.”  What if it’s not hate in the sense we think of it now.  What if it’s relating that Esau was emotionally detached from You, he loved other things, and really had an aversion to You and Your way, so he despised his birthright.  He had no desire for closeness.  Because he wanted no relationship with You, You could not have a relationship with him.

If we go back to David in the Psalms, his enemies were shunning him.  They were treating him like he was a leper and excluding him from any form of community with others.  They were avoiding him and rejecting him.  Skip goes on to say “[t]hat is the equivalent of wanting him to cease existing.  A man without relationships is no longer a man.”  And why does this hurt?  Why does David plea to God?  Why did You talk about it to Your disciples, to us, to me?  Because You are the God of unity.  Disunity hurts.  Disunity is not Your way.  You came to reconcile us, to reunify us, to make us one again, with each other and most importantly, with You.

Skip relates this back to us.  “Perhaps you’re feeling this same kind of hatred.  It’s not as if your previous friends and relations want you to die.  It’s that they no longer want you.  They find your views offensive.  Perhaps they are threatened by your commitments to David’s understanding of God.  They don’t acknowledge your practices.  They are scandalized by your presence.  They just want you to go away and leave them alone.  But, of course, this means separation, agony, brokenhearted affliction, especially for you since all you are trying to really do is bring about awakening and consolation.  Enemies don’t always carry swords.  Sometimes they carry Bibles.”

If someone is willfully rebelling against You, then Your message will be detestable to them.  So will Your messengers.  And You reject willfull rebelion.  You reject that attitude and that choice.  You rejected, You hated the hypocrisy of Esau which was evidenced by his previous actions.  There was a cause for Your hatred.  But the enemies of David had no cause.  And neither did or do Your enemies.

What about where You say if someone like me doesn’t “hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” ?(Luke 14:26  NASB)  What does it mean there?  Here’s Skip’s thoughts again, “Even if your closest family, even if you yourself, provide justification for not doing what I demand, what God demands, do not honor them.  Repel such suggestions.  Hate that alternative.  Do not let your present view of life prevent you from becoming a follower of the One who is greater than all these.”

So here’s Your enemies, rejecting You without a cause.  And even though this excludes You from relationship, even though You despise their reaction, how do You treat them?  You give Your life for them.  You died so You could restore them to You.  You suffered their punishment even though You weren’t the one that stole God’s glory, God’s rightful position in their hearts.  They stole it.  But You restored it.

So, “sana,” “hatred” is all about opposing God.  And whether I look at it in Greek or in Hebrew, it always stands in opposition to love.  But I don’t want to miss this truth–the enemy is divinely appointed.  “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.” ( Proverbs 25:21-22  NASB)  You, Jesus, had prophetically, pre-appointed, divinely appointed enemies.  And we have our own divinely appointed enemies.  It’s all about Your sovereignty.  Because “an encounter with an enemy is an opportunity to express the covenant contained within [Your} grace.  It is a chance to demonstrate undeserved favor, the same undeserved favor we received from [Your] hand simply because [You love] us.”  You’ve given us a personal, perfect, enemy on purpose to respond like You and glorify You.  

This whole search yesterday and today, led me to this quote, ” “He who loves his life as if it were his best friend loses it.” (based on John 12:25)  Isn’t that what Esau did?  Isn’t that what Your enemies did?  Isn’t that what I can be in danger of doing?  I can despise and reject You and love my own life, my own ways more.  Don’t let me do that, Lord.  I would die.  But the sad thing is, if I got to that point, I probably wouldn’t even realize how dead I was, unless I started searching for You again.

There’s another Scriptural word for hatred in the Old Testament.  It’s “qut” and means “to despise, to feel revulsion toward something or someone or to abhor.”   This is the way Job felt about his condition.  This is the way I ought to feel about my sin.  God, via Ezekiel told us “Without hatred for the former things – and for the legacy of those former things – there won’t be much reason to praise either.”  The righteous abhor wickedness.  What about me?  Why?  “The sight of men deliberately rejecting God’s ways should cause us enormous grief, first, because we love God and know that it grieves Him, and second, because we were once on that side of the fence and we know the pointlessness that accompanies such rejection.”  Rebellion and treason against You, the Creator, are like “monsters in the mirror.”  God doesn’t take them lightly and neither should I.  The only acceptable response is repentance.

Matthew 5:43 says, “it has been said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, but hate your enemy.'”  But that’s the problem.  It was said, but it wasn’t written.  This wasn’t God’s interpretation.  God’s Word, Your Word, has always been based in Your character, the character of God.  When we express Your character, we fulfill Scripture.  Loving those who reject us isn’t a “reasonable” thing to do.  Self-protection and retaliation are the natural responses.  God calls us to self-denial and abandoned trust in Him.  Is God drawing the line in the sand or am I?  Is my response motivated by the Lord, or myself?  Am I avoiding contact because the Lord has separated us for a while or have I separated us?  Did I stand up because I was justifying myself or did the Lord stand me up to extol His righteousness and love?

What happens when I rebel?  What happens when I want my way and not Your way?  It’s not just me that suffers.  My children suffer.  Their children suffer.  Because I leave behind a legacy of disobience, rebelion, and rejection.  I leave behind a trail of brokenness characterized by lack of unity, lack of relationship with the One who matters most.  Hating begets hate.  Separation begets more and deeper separation.  Am I willing to pay that price and cost others that price?

They hated You without a cause.  In Hebrew it’s the word “chinnam” for “cause.”  It means “gratis”, devoid of cost, reason or advantage.  They rejected Your presence willingly.  They rejected You generously, freely, without being forced to, on their own, and adamantly.  They rejected You against all reason or advantage, to their own harm.  They didn’t count the cost.  It was like they followed empty, blank minds.  It didnt make sense.  And it still doesn’t make sense today.  Esau rejected a permanent relationship and unity with the God of the universe for what?  Temporary pleasure?  For a bowl of stew?  Really?  Are you serious?!!!!  Yeah, well, is there anything in my life that is so ridiculous?  Maybe I need to examine my own heart and actions.  

Lord, I want Your fellowship more than anything else.  Don’t let me find pleasure in anything other than You and what You find pleasure in.  Let me despise what You despise and cling to what You cling to because I love and adore You so much.  May I always be desperate in need for You and Your fellowship.  Once I was rebelious too.  I was a hater.  Sin put us all in that category.  In my own stupidity I lived for myself.  But You, even when I despised You willingly, died for me.  You suffered for what was my crime so You could bring me back into unity with You.  So, now that I have rejected my self and run to You, give me the power to treat my enemies as You treated me.  Because Your enemies, see me as their enemies.  And it’s all divinely appointed.  So, teach me to respond rightly in You.   You draw the line and I will follow and obey in love.  

















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