*Good Wednesday morning. It's another beautiful day here in Madison. Today, we are continuing our look at the Book of Proverbs. Yesterday, we looked at the comparison between "lady" wisdom and "lady" (well, very un-lady like) folly. Today, we are going to look at what it is that God hates.
'There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers." (Proverbs 6:16-19)
I quoted the above verse from the New International Version. The NRSV uses the word "abomination" instead of the word detestable, and "sows discord in a family" instead of "stirs up dissension among brothers." The word has the same concepts in mind.
This is strong wording. Years ago, when I was working in the school system in another county I was privileged to work with one of the nicest teachers I have ever met. I will not give her name out of privacy. This particular teacher forbade her students to use certain words. One of those words was the word "hate." The students could not say; "I hate...." Well, here we have God, whom we say is love, hating something.. While there are six things the Lord hates, there is a seventh thing that is an abomination or detestable to him. This formula x, x+1 is a typical introduction formula.
This raises the question; if God hates these things should the student (person being spoken to in Proverbs) also hate these things? This would seem to be the case. Now, the interesting thing is: Here we have what it is that God hates, but in chapter 8, verse 13, we are told what it is that Lady Wisdom hates: "To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech." Another way of looking at "perverse speech" is "perverted speech." Wisdom says that "Counsel and sound judgment are mine." (Proverbs 8:14a)
When a person examines the things that God hates one can quickly realize they are qualities that are the exact opposite of God. Let's look at them individually for a minute. Haughty eyes, or pride is first on the list. Pride, is of course, the opposite of humility. Pride is thinking more of yourself than you should. It is putting yourself on a pedestal and thinking that you are better than others. Proverbs 16:18 warns: "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." One can only imagine why God takes this so personal. Was it pride that led Eve to take of the forbidden fruit? One could argue that it was. If so, then God's own creation turned on God because of her own desire to "be like God." (Gen. 3:5b) Oh, but there is the key. What was the very first ever sin? "Well, that's easy preacher!" It was when Adam and Eve disobeyed God...Duh!" (My teacher friend also hated that word) Well, I would argue that the first sin was not disobedience, but pride. Pride started the whole thing. We read in Isaiah 14:13-14 where Satan (morning star in Isaiah) said in his heart "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God..." Five times in that passage we hear Satan declare "I will..." I would suggest that it was pride that triggered Eve's act of disobedience.
While there is so much to say in regard to pride, there is also much to say about the other things God hates. Just as we can declare that God is love, we can also declare God to be truth. Jesus said; "I am the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14:6) One of Satan's many titles is the Father of lies. "Hands that shed innocent blood" are of course, the hands of a murderer. No one has the right to take the life of an innocent person. Life is in God's hands. Of course, there are many arguments in regards to the death penalty. In the Old Testament the death penalty is called for in many cases. Last night the county and area I grew up in made the news. No, not just the local six o'clock news, but CNN, USA Today, Yahoo News, and others. Why? Because of a horrific murder in which a mother was charged with killing her teenage, autistic daughter. However, the reason this story made the news in the manner it did was because of what the mother did with the body. (I will not go into detail)
God hates these things, lying, false witness, feet that run to do evil, but the one that really gets God is "sowing discord in a family." Does this mean within a home, or church, or simply among brothers? (As translated in KJV and NIV) Or does it include each of them? I would suggest that it involves any type of unit. The New Testament speaks of unity quite a bit. When we do get to the Book of Acts we will discover that when the Church was birthed the believers were in one accord. (or united) Think for a minute how each of the things that God hates is the opposite of who God is. Well, disunity is the opposite of who God is as well. In fact, when we think of God as the holy trinity we think of unity (even closer than unity if that is possible) When I perform weddings I end with the words: "And what God has joined together let no man put asunder." I have encountered a few church splits in my time being involved in the church. The first one was difficult, but looking back on it I understand why it happened and realize that there was no one person to blame. It was bound to happen due to so many personalities being involved. It was difficult, but the church survived and continued. But, there was that one that was so difficult because there was no reason for it other than the fact that one person started it all. He sowed the seed. The seed grew and he nurtured the seed. When I became a United Methodist minister I had to go through a lengthy process. I started with five churches. They were small and I was young enough to minister at each one, take care of my family and work a full time job. (Pioneer City Casting, Belpre, Ohio. [foundry]) My father and law did not take kindly to me being a United Methodist, for he was told that Methodists only want your money. (and he was a Baptist)more t Who told him that? Well, it was a fellow that sat in one of these five churches. Guess what? An issue came up concerning the handling of the church's money. We had to have a meeting with the district superintendent. The superintendent came out, and the church officers were invited to join him to solve the problem. But, there were three of the men who had other questions for the superintendent. You see, they had heard about something a United Methodist Pastor had done out in Nebraska, and they wanted answers. The superintendent told them that was not the reason they were having a meeting. They were there to meet about the money. That week those men led a group away from the church. Their reasoning: The United Methodist Church was only interested in money. Who led the charge? Yes, this same man who had been feeding them this line the whole time. That little church has never recovered. What that man was saying was what he wanted to believe and led others to believe, but was not and is not true. But, the church split because of that.
How many marriages and families have been torn apart because of a seed that someone sowed? "So, you say your husband doesn't...or your wife doesn't..." "Oh, but I love my husband/wife and I want things to work..." "Oh, but, you know you deserve so much better..." and the conversation continues. Then, at home its the same old thing, and that person remembers Romeo or Juliet saying: "You know..." Proverbs says that God more than hates that.
Tomorrow, we will begin looking at the actual proverbs. That will be fun. I hope you can join me. Also, if you are interested in Disciple I, or II please let me know if you haven't already. Have a great day! -Pastor Rick