Jesus, the Word of God incarnate, drove out the moneychangers who polluted God’s temple by their lies and hypocrisy. The thieves were causing some to blaspheme and others to see religion as a way to financial gain and manipulation. The holy soul of Christ was stirred to godly hatred. His cleansing of the temple illustrates that some hate is good.
He was zealous for truth in religion, and hated that which caused others to stumble. Theological liberals despise this image of the angry Christ, but the faithful disciple knows Christ was filled with righteous indignation. The Word of God knew the law and the prophets, therefore he hated every false way. His love of the Father and his word compelled him to drive out sin.
When we love someone, we do not like others to misrepresent them. We hate those who tell lies about them or distort their words. When we love the truth, we cannot help but hate what is false. Loving truth necessitates hatred of lies, just as the love of plants necessitates the hatred of weeds.
When God plants the truth in our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit speaking through his word, we learn to hate what is false. We delight in those who honestly represent God’s pure word. We are naturally sickened by those who misuse and abuse the scriptures. Those keeping the path to the truth hate the snares that cause others to get trapped and stumble. In fact, one who loves the truth is particularly vexed by errors that seem very close to being true. These errors are very subtle and can easily ensnare the believer.
The saint who is learning holiness is also learning godly hatred. One cannot separate the two anymore than one can separate faith (turning to Truth in Christ) and repentance (away from falsehood and deception). Love rejoices in the truth (I Cor. 13:6), and this presupposes that it also hates lying and all sin.
Consider the following verses for meditation:
NKJ Psalm 119:104 Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.
NKJ Psalm 119:128 Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.
NKJ Psalm 119:163 I hate and abhor lying, But I love Your law.
Spurgeon has some great comments on these verses in his The Golden Alphabet. He says,
v. 104 “Therefore I hate every false way.” Because he had understanding, and because of the divine precepts, he detested sin and falsehood. Every sin is a falsehood: we commit sin because we believe a lie, and in the end the flattering evil turns a liar to us, and we find ourselves betrayed. True hearts are not indifferent about falsehood, they grow warm in indignation: as they love the truth, so they hate the lie. Saints have a universal horror of all that is untrue; they tolerate no falsehood or folly, they set their faces against all error of doctrine or wickedness of life. He who is a lover of one sin is in league with the whole army of sins; we must have neither truce nor parley with even one of these Amalekites, for the Lord hath war with them from generation to generation, and so must we. It is well to be a good hater. And what is that? A hater of no living being, but a hater of “every false way.” The way of self-will, of self-righteousness, of self-seeking, of worldliness, of pride, of unbelief, of hypocrisy, of lustfulness – these are all false ways, and therefore not only to be shunned, but to be abhorred.
This final verse of the strophe marks a great advance in character, and shows that the man of God is growing stronger, bolder, and happier than aforetime. He has been taught of the Lord, so that he discerns between the precious and the vile, and while he loves the truth fervently he hates falsehood intensely. May all of us reach this state of discrimination and determination, so that we may greatly glorify God!
v. 128 “And I hate every false way.” Love to truth begat hatred of falsehood. He that prizes a robe abhors the moth which would devour it. This godly man was not indifferent to anything in the moral and spiritual world; but that which he did not love he hated. He was no chip in the porridge without flavour; he was a good lover or a good hater, but he was never a waverer. He knew what he felt, and he expressed it plainly. He was no Gallio, caring for none of these things. His detestation was as unreserved as his affection; he had not a good word for any practice which would not bear the light of truth. The fact that such large multitudes follow the broad road had no influence upon this holy man, except to make him more determined to avoid every form of error and sin. May the Holy Spirit so rule in our hearts that our affections may be in the same decided condition towards the precepts of the word! May we take our place on the side of God and righteousness, and never bear the sword in vain! We would not be pugnacious, but we dare not be sinfully indifferent. All sin we must hate; for any one of the whole tribe will be our ruin if it be indulged. To arms! To arms! ye soldiers of the cross.
v. 163 “I hate and abhor lying.” A double expression for an inexpressible loathing. Falsehood in doctrine, in life, or in speech, falsehood in any form or shape, had become utterly detestable to the Psalmist. This was a remarkable statement for an Oriental to make; for, generally, lying is the delight of the Easterns, and the only wrong they see in it is when their skill is at fault, so that the lie is found out. David himself had made much progress when he had come to this; for he, too, had practised guile in his day. He does not, however, alone refer to falsehood in conversation; he evidently intends perversity in faith and teaching. He wrote down all opposition to the God of truth as lying, and then he turned his whole soul against it with the intensest form of indignation. Godly men should detest false doctrine even as they abhor any other lie.