David sings of One who is with us in life and in death, who saw us before we were born; who sees our days before we live them; and hears our words before we speak them.
But what are we to make of David’s sudden and unexpected expression of “perfect hatred” of the enemies of God? Listen for the way the music changes as David sings,
16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. 17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! 19 O God, if only you would destroy the wicked! Get out of my life, you murderers! 20 They blaspheme you; your enemies misuse your name. 21 O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you? Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you? 22 Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for your enemies are my enemies” (Psalm 139:16-22).
If David’s song, and the greater story of the Bible were to end with this 22nd verse, we might assume that it is “biblical” and “honorable” to hate those who hate us and our God—without reflecting carefully about the implications.
Yet, we know that the music doesn’t end there, but rather with a true and better King who leads us to higher ground… where at the foot of an uprooted tree, we are taught to care for our enemies and to love those who hate us and our God.
Could it be that the God who knows us better than we know him, or ourselves, is the One who, at this point in the music, enabled David to sense something wrong with his sudden change of direction? Is it a stretch to wonder whether the God who knows where history is going is the one who prompts David, and us, to conclude with…
23 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (Psalm 139:23–24 NLT).