God loves those who hate us - Hope 103.2

God loves those who hate us

By David ReayWednesday 29 Nov 2017LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Exodus 15:19-21

19 When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and charioteers rushed into the sea, the Lord brought the water crashing down on them. But the people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground!

20 Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine and led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced. 21 And Miriam sang this song:

           “Sing to the Lord,
               for he has triumphed gloriously;
           he has hurled both horse and rider
               into the sea.” (NLT)

Miriam was indulging in a bit of understandable pious gloating. We won, you lost. Our deity is better than your deity. True enough. God is dealing with the cruel Egyptians who oppressed God’s people for years. In a sense, justice is being done. God’s purposes are advanced as his people head toward the Promised Land.

But it leaves a question floating: did God hate those Egyptians who were drowned by the incoming tide as they pursued the Hebrews across the Sea of Reeds? The readiest answer is that God hates nothing he has made, including rebellious people. Jesus commanded us to love our enemies, as did Paul. We can only presume that this is based on God’s regard for them, not some mere appeal to be ‘nice’.

God loved those cruel Egyptians who were drowned, and who were allowed to drown if we understand the story aright. That clearly didn’t mean he spared them judgement. God’s love for all people doesn’t mean salvation for all people. Some reject his love. His love is genuine but not easygoing.

God plays no favourites. He loves those who hate us and asks us to do likewise. That doesn’t mean tolerance of their evil, or agreement with their thinking or acting. It doesn’t mean God might not act against them. But leave that sort of thing to God. He is an expert in balancing justice and mercy. We either get sloppily merciful or lipsmacking judgemental.

If God is going to smite our enemies, first pray they will accept his mercy. If any smiting is to be done, let him do it.

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David Reay