What the Lord hates
“Are you doing what God hates?” read the billboard. “Huh,” I wondered to myself, “that is actually a pretty scary thought.” As I was driving back to my hotel on a business trip in the back of the car, I quickly grabbed my phone to search and understand what God hated. I was growing in my relationship with him and finding so much joy, it never dawned on me to seek and understand the things HE hated. These were things of course that I genuinely wanted to avoid.
I found in Proverbs 6:16-19 an outline of the things detestable to God:
“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 person who stirs up conflict in the community.”
We reflected on Pride in a previous chapter, so I want to leave you here with this thoughtful verse:
““But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”” Jeremiah 17:7-8
Pride focuses on ‘me.’ When I trust in the Lord and submit to him, pride falls away.
We all tell lies. A lie is a lie, just as a sin is a sin. None is worse than the other.
There are two references in the Bible which seem to tell us that there are situations in which
a lie of ‘omission’ under God’s will is permissible.
There was Rahab, the prostitute who lied to protect the Israelite spies in Joshua 2:3-6. Not only was she rewarded (she and her family were spared when their city was overtaken by the Israelites) but she was one-out-of-two women that were amongst the Heroes of Faith in Hebrews 11 (the other woman was Sarah, the wife of Abraham and mother of the Jewish nation). Rahab’s fear of Israelite’s God was more powerful than her fear of what her King would do to her. So, she lied.
The second was the midwives in Egypt who disobeyed their Pharaoh’s command by not killing the Israelite male babies in Exodus 1:15-21. They feared God more than they feared man. They preferred to lie to man than be outside of God’s will. Do you see the trend? Both women’s fear of God superseded their fear of man. They preferred to be in the will of God instead of the good graces of man. Their lies were permissible to God.
Hands that shed innocent blood
“Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word.Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him.So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” John 12:17-19
You can just imagine the juicy gossiping that would have been hot off the press when Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead. “Did you hear?” “Deadman brought back to life” “Miracle man has done it again!”
What a story they must have had to tell after seeing firsthand Lazarus brought back to life. Now, I know I know; technically, that wasn’t gossiping because they were sharing facts. But this may remind you of a children’s game called “Chinese whispers.” The first person in the line gets the original message, and by the time it got to the last person, the “facts” had changed drastically. Gossiping can lead to possible pain, but it could lead to more significant events such as a person losing their life.
Let it be known: “Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.” Exodus 23:7
Hearts that devise wicked schemes
Violence, war, terrorism, viruses, disasters, political chaos, inequality … Many of these global schemes come from much smaller plotting and planning. Greed, hate, naivety, ignorance, and pain breed the right environments for wicked schemes.
When we focus on God only and His precepts, we have no time for anything else and will be blessed beyond measure, Psalms 1:1-3. I had found that only when I weeded out the things and people that were not helping me bear Godly fruit that I saw and experienced a deep sense of peace and success.
To hold firm to what I believe and not be tossed by the wind of every doctrine that comes my way, I am always in the Word of God and rooted in the knowledge and truth that only He can provide, Ephesians 4:14.
Feet quick to rush into evil
I was invited to watch a movie with a mature group of Christian women at their home and was excited to spend quality time with them. As the film began, I became uncomfortable. I wanted to speak up, but I was confused because these were Christian women who were older than me. I waited until the end of the movie because I thought maybe it was chosen so that we can discuss and review it based on biblical teachings. That didn’t happen either.
Even Christians rush into evil. Sometimes willingly. We are all called to resist the devil and his crafty schemes. The devil will try to get in our way and stop us from our purpose…our blessings. We are not perfect – none of us are. But it is in our imperfectness that we need Christ. As Acts 20:29-31 highlights, the wolves are coming so let’s be on our guard!
We all may have a story to tell of persons who falsely accused us of saying something we never said based on what they had heard or being somewhere we never were based on an ‘eyewitness.’ Being wrongfully accused makes me upset and disappointed in the people around me.
Just like we don’t appreciate being accused by false witness, let’s practice truth or silence when being asked to speak on an issue where we have no knowledge. Even if our knowledge is limited, sometimes it is just easier to advise that we have nothing to provide than trying to make matters worse. “A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will not go free.” Proverbs 19:5
People who stir up conflict
Conflict may come in varying ways, but the reference here that I understand is detestable to God, is those that spur conflict to cause unrest for personal gain.
At a dinner years ago, an elder was telling a story, and at the end, a community member’s name was mentioned. The name brought a lot of eyes rolling and growling. Someone shot up and said, “Oh, did you hear? He is now an online Preacher”.
That got everyone in an uproar. They couldn’t believe it. A quick response was shouted: “Well, if it is listening to him that will get me to heaven, then it just won’t be happening!” The elder noted that the man had made a public apology on the tv and radio stations for all of his sins, and as such, we should all forgive.
They were all still upset and felt that they needed to do something about this … to stir up the community to ‘excommunicate’ this man. I remained silent. I was not quiet because I agreed or disagreed. My silence was in prayer for this man who sinned, was persecuted for his crimes, came out of jail, and couldn’t hold a job and then became an online preacher.
I prayed for God’s strength to not judge because what the other people at the dinner did not know was that this man had also negatively impacted my life and career in his past. But I felt empathy for what this man went through. I was compassionate to this man who gave his life to Christ and was doing His work. As I went home, this was still heavy on my heart. And I felt the Lord saying to me… “Remember, Saul.”
Saul was notoriously known to persecute Christians. Hearing his name brought terror to the Christian community. When God stopped Saul on that Damascus road and changed his life forever, he was giving the name of Paul and was one of the greatest apostles of God’s Kingdom.
Except for Jesus, no one else shaped the history of Christianity like the apostle Paul. At first, the people doubted Paul, and many tried to kill him. God had planned, though, for Paul and bringing glory to Christ’s Kingdom. You can read his marvelous transformation in Acts 9:1-6, 19-23, 26.
God’s mercy and grace is such a fantastic thing. God alone knows the heart and can forgive. He uses the least of us so that HE may be glorified. So, the next time that our hearts are set on stirring up conflict for others let’s remember Saul.
God has feelings. It brings God joy when instead of pointing the finger outward, we first examine our hearts and repent quietly. Hate is a strong feeling, and if you note everything that God hates, start in small ways. If we aim to bring God joy, and God declares what he hates, we must pay attention.
Food for thought: Reflect on what the Lord hates. Does any of them stir within your heart?
Compassionate Father forgives us. Cleanse and purify our hearts. Humble us, Lord, and don’t turn your face from us, we pray. May we be more like Jesus and serve within your Kingdom according to your will. Amen