We Americans who call ourselves “Christian” are living in a very awkward time. It is a time of
conflict between our allegiance to nationhood and to God. Our ideas of love and hate are being
challenged by the demands of our faith, and we sometimes don’t know which way to turn!
Loving our enemies is a stretch for most of us. I submit, however, that if you and I could just get
our minds and hearts around the concept of sacrificial love and leave judgment to God, we might
rid ourselves of the temptation politically and spiritually to withhold our love from friends and
family who have views different from our own. That might bring us a little closer to God’s heart!
“They May Build, but I Will Tear Down”:
Then there is the matter of God’s declaration of “hate”. “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares
the Lord. “Yet, I have loved Jacob; but I have hated Esau…” (Malachi 1: 2, 3). Still, God blessed Esau
with a great nation that we know as Edom. The evidence of God’s failure of love for Esau, however,
comes from v. 4: “Though Edom says, ‘We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the
ruins’; thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘They may build, but I will tear down, and then will call them the
wicked territory, and the people toward whom the Lord is indignant forever’”.
“Hate” for God, then, would appear to be leaving some of us to their own devices but reacting with divine
indignation when our ways threaten to derail His Plan for the people He chooses to love. Hmmm!
A Dangerous Thing to be Prosperous:
I suspect that our prosperity has gotten in the way. The great 19th Century London
preacher/theologian, Charles Spurgeon, had some convicting things to say about the conflict
between prosperity that we refer to as the American Dream and worship of God:
It is a dangerous thing to be prosperous. When we have so much of God’s
providential mercies, it often happens that we have but little of God’s grace and
little gratitude for the bounties we have received. We are full, and we forget God;
satisfied with earth, we are content to do without heaven…
How Have You Loved Us?
God stepped into a vacuum of hope in Israel with 4 simple words, “I have loved you!”, the response to
which was, “Excuse us, but how have you loved us?” “I have loved you by choosing you, disciplining
you, blessing you, preserving you, keeping my promises to you!” “But you promised to obliterate our
enemy, Edom, and you didn’t do it!” “I’m not done yet, but apparently you are!”
He says to us American Christians, “I have loved you”, but we ask, “Where is the evidence of your love
to us now?”. We, as with the people of ancient Israel, have become entitlement people – entitled to life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and the imminent return of Christ without the cost of discipleship.
God owes us nothing. He has not promised us trouble-free lives. Ancient Israel was guilty of saying,
“God, if you will fix our circumstances, we will fix our attitude! Improve our circumstances, and we will
love you!” Sin is not just breaking God’s law! Sin is breaking God’s heart. Anything less than fixing our
attitudes is breaking God’s heart.
To be in tune with God is to hold the treasures of this world lightly. Active pursuit of the
Kingdom of God demands that our focus shift from clinging to the things of this world onto the
unseen things of God above who loved this world enough to make the ultimate sacrifice for our