Knowing a week ago, what would be our scripture for today, I have been praying for the Lord’s direction. Many of us have these verses memorized – or if not stored in our heads, at least they are in our hearts. You’ve probably heard or read seven point sermons from these verses. My prayer has been – how can I present this familiar material in such a way as to keep physically tired saints alert for 20 or 30 minutes? I don’t know if I can, but the Lord did give me an approach that I’ve never considered before.
If I gave this devotional a title it might be “What does God NOT say in Proverbs 6:16-19?”
We should be struck with two words in verse 16 – “hate” and “abomination.” The LORD, Jehovah, “hates” things. There is nothing said in these verses about the love of God, which so many semi-literate Christians emphasize to the heights. I am not denying the love of God, but that cannot be found in these verses.
God hates things; what things? It is safe to say that they are all forms of sin. God hates sin. Where does that leave us, about whom it is said, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”? “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Either Jehovah/Elohim hates you and your sin, or for a time He hated His own Son who chose to stand in your place before God’s judgment. That is a thought upon which we should often meditate – God turned His wrath upon His own Son in order to redeem wretched us.
As well as hating sin, it is an abomination to God. Without digging deeply into that word, let’s just say that if you found something to be an abomination, it just might be the sort of thing to make you vomit. It’s not just something you despise; it’s something so disgusting that it makes you sick. I know that God is not a man, and things are different with Him, but if He was a man, these seven things just might make Him throw up.
It is said that God hates and abhors these seven things, but what is NOT said. Remember – much of what has been written in this book has been Solomon’s instruction to his son. But these seven points are not said to be hated by Solomon – hated by parents when they are found in their children. It is not important if grandma hates the way little Betty struts around like a fashion model, God hates that proud demeanor. And if mother hates junior’s bullying of his sister, God despises it infinitely more.
And, God’s hatred of things, has nothing to do with your own opinion about the subject. You may enjoy your wicked imagination, but you shall be judged for it. A man may think that it is his responsibility to sow discord among the brethren at church, but God may strike him down for it – because it makes Him sick.
Something else not said here are a thousand other detestable sins.
Look at the list again – seven things. “A proud look, lying tongue, evil hands, a wicked imagination, quickness to mischief, false witness and causing discord.” Compare this list with the ten items from Exodus 20 – there is very little intersection between the two. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image… Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them… Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain… Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Honour thy father and thy mother… Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”
So here are two lists prepared by Jehovah Himself. But what are the most abominable sins according to YOUR perfect list? Homosexuality? Where does it rank among the “seven (which) are an abomination to God?” You hate adultery and fornication which are found among the ten, but they are not mentioned in the seven. Is divorce and remarriage mentioned in Proverbs 6? Smoking tobacco or eating marijuana-laced brownies. Is long hair on men or bikinis on women a part of either of these lists? Sure they are an offense to God, but they don’t even come close to the top of God’s inventory. I know that all sin is sin before the Lord, and that there is a list at all is probably an accommodation to man’s weeknesses. But the fact remains, here we have a list, and in Exodus 20 we have another list. Yet many of the sins which are high on our lists, don’t even earn a dishonorable mention in God’s lists.
Another apparent omission by the Holy Spirit here in Proverbs is a pointed finger.
In our classification systems, don’t we catagorize most sins as either belonging to the lost man or the Christian? There is some crossover, but there are some sins which are definitely not committed by God’s people. Christians don’t murder; Christians don’t have mistresses; Christians don’t become Democrats. But they DO gossip, and they do despise their Mormon and Catholic neighbors. These too may be sins, but they are somehow lesser sins than those of the lost man. What fools we Christians can be.
What I don’t see here in these four verses is God making a distinction, telling us these are either one kind of sin or the other. But if there was such and thing, and if He made such a distinction. whose sins would these be? Aren’t some of these more likely to be sins of the saint than sins of the sinner? Don’t Christians ever spread rumors – false witness? Who is more likely to wear an air of pride – the man who hates the idea of transubstantiation or the man who believes it? Can an outsider spread discord among Christian brethren? Maybe a lost man can, but not an outsider.
What is not said in these verses?
Doesn’t the Lord describe surface sins but not the cesspool laying underneath? “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look.” I know a professing Christian who insists he is as humble as they come. But the way he holds himself, and the smirk on his face, and the way he says things, leave a different impression than his profession of humility. God hates a proud demeanor, but if that is true, how much more must He hate the proud heart. Over the years, you and I may have mastered the humble look, but what is on the inside. Remember, “the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”
Without doubt, Elohim hates a lying tongue, and you may hate it too. But what about the deception which lays in the heart and which might never be verbally expressed? We may leave the impression of honesty, but deception may reside within and never expressed. There is that man whom you detest, but you are far too polite to even give him a hint of your true opinion. Where does hypocrisy fit into this list of sins? “Hands that shed innocent blood,” and “feet that be swift in running to mischief” are fueled by sin within. They are directed and empowered by “hearts that deviseth wicked imaginations.” Why does that woman spread her gossip – things about which even she has her doubts? Isn’t she doing it because down in the depths of her heart, she hates or envies that other woman? Christ said that it’s not what goes into our mouths which defiles us, it’s what comes out. The greater wretchedness is what resides within. But most of this list of abominable sins are external. Why does that church member “soweth discord among the brethren?” Why does he surreptitiously tell other members the church should use wine in the Lord’s supper? He may say that it’s because the brethren are backslidden, ignorant rubes – country bumpkins. But more often than not, he causes trouble because he thinks of himself or his doctrine more highly than he ought to think of it. He doesn’t recognize the office of the pastor and the history and succession of the church. Why is he a trouble-maker? Because of the pride in his heart.
What is not said in this scripture, but which we should probably keep in mind as we read? God hates the proud HEART even more than He hates the proud LOOK. And lurking at the root of most of these seven sins – is that pride “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” When God resists something, there can be no doubt but that it will be stopped.