“The Lord hates six things; in fact, seven are detestable to Him: arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet eager to run to evil, a lying witness who gives false testimony, and one who stirs up trouble among brothers.” (Proverbs 6:16-19 HCSB)
The words are arresting. They stop us in our tracks. There are things that God hates—seven are specifically named. This is unsettling. It is disturbing because we don’t like the word “hate.” We have had it drummed into our minds not to use the term. It seems unthinkable to associate that word with God. “God is love” the Scripture says. This truth helps form our concept of God. Not only do these verses in Proverbs upset us for this reason, but when we read what God is said to hate, it is not what we might have expected these seven “deadly sins” to be. Surely, it must be something indescribably perverse and heinous—but some of these are not that bad—as we might evaluate them. Several are not even outright actions, just attitudes. Truth be known, they may lurk in the shadows of our heart even now—and that is disquieting.
But we need the truth—the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The God of love is also the God of wrath. He who has made a way by His love for us to enter heaven, will also consign those who spurn His love to hell. As the former doctrine is glorious, the latter is grievous, but both are true.
We have developed an inaccurate picture in our minds of Jesus as being such a sweet, gentle soul—supremely kind and soft-spoken. He was—and more. He also walked into a place of worship, overturned massive tables, sending the money and merchandise on them clanging over the floor. He took some ropes that had been used to tie up sacrificial lambs and used them as a whip, its lashes whistling and cracking through the air, as Incarnate Love drove out the money-changers from the
Jesus was furious—and it was His love that
made Him so. That crowd was defaming God,
because in His holy name, they were being dishonest, and they were harming
people, for they had set up shop in the Court of the Gentiles—the only place where a Gentile convert could worship. How might one concentrate on God, with the
sound of people bartering over the currency exchange rate of a Temple shekel or the price of a proper
sacrifice? How might they pray amid the
sound of sheep bleating and the smell of animal dung? Temple
The same Holy Spirit who comes as a dove—meek and mild—to entreat us to open our hearts and experience peace with God, is also a fire that will consume all that is unholy. He pleads with sinners to repent—and in Acts 2, we see about 3,000 who are won to His call to faith in Christ. But, in chapter five, we see that as Ananias and Sapphira conspire together and “lie to the Holy Spirit,” He strikes them dead—right in the church meeting!
Here is a reality check for us. God hates these things, not despite the fact that He is love, but because of it. Perfect love has pure loathing of all that is contrary to it. If we love—and God does in the absolute sense—then our great interest is in the best interest of others. The corollary to that is to hate all that would diminish, defame, defraud and even destroy another. These seven things do that and therefore God despises them—and so should we.
An important mark of a child of God is that he or she is taking on the likeness of their Heavenly Father. That is, we love what God loves. It also means that we loathe what God loathes.
What does the Lord hate? Here is the anatomy of that which God abhors.
ARROGANT EYES, “arrogant eyes.” The list begins here—and well it should. It was such a look that is behind all the suffering and sorrow in the cosmos. When a beautiful angel named Lucifer, set his eyes on the throne of God, and thought to himself, “I deserve a throne like that” his arrogant eyes turned him into the Devil—and evil was birthed into the universe. It did not remain in heaven, but invaded the pristine paradise of
Eve looked at the forbidden fruit, and listened to the Serpent’s beguiling voice, “Eat it and you will be
like God.” She looked, she lusted for
it, she ate and gave it to her husband—and the curse descended
like a plague on the planet. All that
was wondrously good was tainted—the flowers shriveled and
the thorns and thistles sprang up in the garden, while animals began to devour
one another. What untold suffering has
resulted from arrogant eyes! No wonder
God hates this! We dare not excuse
Do you look down your nose at others? God hates such an arrogant look—and so should we.
LYING TONGUES, “a lying tongue.” Our tongue is like a bucket which draws from the well of our heart—whatever is in the well is revealed in our words. God is true—and loves the truth—while Satan is a liar and all who belong to him are liars also. Such demonic deceit is fit for those who will spend an eternity with the “father of liars” as Jesus called Satan (john 8:44), in the
21:8). It was a lie that persuaded
one-third of the angels to rebel against God.
It was a lie that enticed Adam and Eve to disobey God. It will be a lie that will deceive the whole
world and gather an army at Armageddon to war against Christ. In fact, the last great world dictator—the Beast, the Antichrist is called “the
lie” since he is the embodiment of deception, as Jesus is the
incarnation of truth. It is the forked
tongue of the Serpent. God hates it—and we should determine to do so. Lake
Come to the Great Physician—open your mouth, stick out your tongue—and say, “Ah.” What is on your tongue? It reveals much about the state of your spiritual health.
BLOODY HANDS, “hands that shed innocent blood.” God is the author of life. People are made in His image. To shed innocent blood is an affront to the Creator. Such perverse hate is hated by perfect Love. Scripture also brands Satan as a murderer (John 8:44). It was this spirit that moved Cain, mad with monstrous malice, to rise up and kill his own brother, Abel. In process of time, this spirit of slaughter pervaded the planet, and God had to scour the earth clean of bloodstains by destroying the destroyers in a deluge—with only Noah and his family surviving by God’s grace.
Pilate tried to wash his hands of the blood of the Innocent Man. But, water can’t remove those stains. It is an incredible truth, that the only thing which will cleanse such sin is the very sacrifice of that spotless Lamb of God, which the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate sentenced to death. But, apart from that—to go into eternity and stand before God with blood on our hands is to be condemned in the High Court of Heaven. You may say, “I have never killed anyone.” Jesus died because of sin—my sin and yours. We may have just as well been there holding down His limbs, setting the nails, swinging the hammer and raising Him up on the cross. Have you cried out for pardon to the Great Judge? He will because of what Jesus did. Otherwise, look at your hands—they are stained with innocent blood—the most pure and precious kind—that of God’s only Begotten Son!
WICKED HEARTS, “a heart that plots wicked schemes.” The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart. It is interesting, that this is at the center of the catalogue of crimes against God’s holy law. That is a reflection of this being a core issue. Jesus said this, “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies.” (Matt.15:19) The sewage of sin flows from the cesspool of the wicked heart. Depravity is bred in the mind, will and emotions of humanity in its state of rebellion against God. Our imaginations are filled with wicked schemes. Our will is bent on autonomy from God and His laws. Our emotions are enflamed with evil desires.
In fact, our old heart is beyond repair. We require a transplant--a new heart given in regeneration—the very life of Christ given to us when we receive Him as Lord and Savior.
Are you born again? I didn't ask if you have been baptized, belong to a church, believe in God--for none of that changes who we are. We may mask our depravity behind a veneer of morality, but without a birth from above we cannot enter the Kingdom above. That's what Jesus said in John 3 to an extremely religious and respected man. How can God invite in that which He hates? And He hates the wicked heart.
EVIL FEET, “feet eager to run to evil.” There was a time when the bare feet of the man and the woman beat a path to God, and they walked in step with His will. Then came sin--and they fled from Him. His voice brought terror where once it brought joy. But, you can't stand still spiritually. Neither did humanity. Had Adam and Eve continued walking in fellowship with God, that intimacy would have transformed them more and more into the character of their Maker. But, the path chosen led them away from God into the bushes. Man's story is one of a journey away from God. Soon, his feet are speeding to an appointment with evil. Like an adulterer lover running to embrace the object of their lust, we run from the One who loves us so, and warm to the harlot's kisses. So, if we will not have God's love, He permits us to choose His wrath.
What of the path you are taking? There are only two choices. Here they are:
"Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it." (Matthew 7:13, 14 HCSB)
UNJUST LIPS, “a lying witness who gives false testimony.” The slanderer who twists things to hurt another, the perjurer who brings condemnation of the innocent through his deception—these are despised by God. God is just. Injustice is the antithesis of His holy, loving character. He doesn't tolerate it. On earth, there are those who often get by with it. In eternity, there will be no unjust person who will evade the justice of God. Perjury is a crime in a courtroom of the United States, yet we know there are many who will place their hand on a Bible, swear to tell the truth and then tell one lie after another--and often without being caught. But, the Supreme Judge of the Universe is watching. I think of the vile Jezebel who hired false witnesses to testify against an innocent man, Naboth, all because her husband Ahab wanted Naboth's vineyard. It worked--for a time. But, then justice fell on Jezebel, and she was hurled to her death--her blood licked up and her flesh devoured by the dogs (see 2 Kings 9).
When you are put on the spot, what directs your decision—expedience or conviction?
DIVISIVE DISPOSITION, “one who stirs up trouble among brothers.” Such people damage feelings, divide families and destroy fellowships. It is hard to understate the gravity of this sin. I hate cancer. It has brought so much sorrow to those I love. So often it grows undetected, and by the time it is diagnosed, it could be terminal. I hate the stuff. I despise the word. Does it bother you for me to use that kind of forceful language? You understand it. Likewise, this spiritual malignancy called “discord” is a killer. We should hate it. God does. The perfect harmony within the Trinity is the model for unity in the church. Jesus prayed that we might be one. He offered that prayer for reconciliation, while just hours before He would shoulder a cross. Reconciliation to God and to each other is at the heart of the Gospel! We deny it when we intentionally foment schism. That is a hateful thing to do—and thus, is something that God hates.
Let us fervently pray, “Oh God! Help us love what You love and loathe what You loathe!” For even in the best of us, there is sometimes found the worst in us.