SEEK GOOD AND HATE EVIL
Date: August 31
Category: Godly Character
"Seek (inquire for and require) good and not evil that you may live, and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. Hate the evil and love the good and establish justice in the [court of the city's] gate."
This instruction has been given to us in an imperative mode. An imperative mode means that the instruction has been given to us in the form of a command. It's not a suggestion that we can consider if it's convenient for us. It's a command from God that we must follow. It's so important to follow the commandments of God. It says here in verse 14a, "Seek (inquire for and require) good and not evil…" If you don't know what is good and what is evil, then turn to the Word of God. The Word lays out all the standards of living and teaches us how to conduct our lives. So it says here that we are to seek, inquire for, and require good and not evil.
In Matthew 15:19 we read, "For out of the heart come evil thoughts (reasonings and disputings and designs) such as murder, adultery, sexual vice, theft, false witnessing, slander, and irreverent speech." This is a general statement about what comes from the heart of all people, not just the hearts of non-Christians or the hearts of Christians. But evilness comes from all our hearts. So that's why we, as new creatures in Christ, have to mortify our bodies and die to our flesh. We have to allow the Spirit of God to come into our hearts and mould us to become more like the image of Christ. This is important because the things that are within our hearts will come out through our mouths. The words that come out through our mouths can bring either life or death. So in order to speak right, our hearts have to be right. And we do that by seeking after good and not evil.
But why else should we seek after good and not evil? Well it says in verse 14b, "that you may live, and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said." So God wants us to live and He wants to be with us. We are the beneficiaries here. Having life and God's divine presence in our lives is the key to happiness and success.
Then it further explains in verse 15a, "Hate the evil and love the good and establish justice in the [court of the city's] gate." So if you seek after good and not evil, then it means that you hate evil and love the good. These two statements work in conjunction with one another. When you hate something, you don't even want to look at it. You don't even want to think about it. You have no desire for it. That's what it means to hate evil. We should avoid evil at all costs. Along with that, we should love the good.
Verse 15a also says that we should "establish justice in the [court of the city's] gate." The city gate in the ancient biblical times was a public place where many important decisions were made. The city gate was a place of influence within the city. It's much like City Hall in our society today. So that's where justice should be established. We should not be corrupting the justice system; instead we are to act and make decisions justly. In other words, we are to have a proper relationship with other people. That's just an outward result of having a proper relationship with God.
So we can see from this passage that in order to live and have God be with us, we are to seek after and love the good and we are to hate the evil. When we do that, then we will be in a proper relationship with God. When we have a proper relationship with God, then we'll be able to establish justice with other people. But none of that can happen unless we first seek after good and hate evil. So let us heed to this commandment of God and let us convey more of the image of Christ in our lives.