Please read Psalm 5.
Two attributes of God that are made abundantly clear throughout the Scriptures are His justice and His holiness. It is to these two attributes that David appeals in verses 4-6 of this Psalm, and then again in verses 9-10. We will address both of these passages today, so you may want to reread them now.
David sums up verses 4-6 with his opening statement in verse 4: “you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness.” That’s actually quite an understatement! Not only does God not take pleasure in wickedness, but, as David will later say, He hates evil. God is so holy that evil cannot dwell with Him, nor can it stand in His sight. God is so just that He hates all workers of iniquity and will destroy all liars; He abhors the murderer and the liar.
This is part of God’s character. Many modern readers are taken aback by the reality that God could hate anybody, but it is true. God is absolutely perfect, and His holiness demands perfection. Since none of us are perfect, none of us can stand before a holy God—we all need a substitute to stand in our place and bear His fierce wrath against our sin.
Thank God for Jesus Christ dying in my place on the cross! God is so good, loving, merciful, and gracious that He would send His Son in my place. But God is also holy, just, righteous, and perfect in demanding that the punishment for my wicked sin be paid. When I look at the cross, I am reminded that I serve a holy God and my sin was truly evil—it’s wages were a horrible death.
At the same time that we praise Jesus Christ for serving as our substitute, we praise the Father that He is a holy, righteous judge. There are truly evil people in the world that do truly wicked things, and God will not let them get away with their crimes. He will punish the wicked in accordance with His holiness and justice. It is to that part of God’s nature that David is appealing in verses 9-10.
David describes his enemies as those who lie, deceive, destroy, and bring others to harm. He begs God to pronounce them as guilty and punish them for their wickedness—not because of how they have treated David, but because “they have rebelled against You.” All sin is a crime against God, and, when David’s enemies commit heinous sin, he begs God to punish them for their crime against Him.
We can certainly relate to this emotion: when an innocent young woman is raped, we beg God to punish her rapist; when a dictator commits horrible atrocities against his people, we beg God to remove him from his throne and hold him accountable; when someone steals from us, we beg God to punish them and cause them to return what they’ve stolen.
God shows compassion to those in need, and comforts those who are suffering. If you’ve had someone wrong you, then you can take solace in the fact that God will punish the wicked. He will pronounce them guilty because He is holy and just—and we will rejoice when He executes His justice on the wicked.
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