As we read through the Biblical book of Proverbs, we learn much wisdom that has been imparted to man through the Holy Spirit and recorded by Solomon. There is counsel about being prudent in relation to conduct, business affairs, relationships with others and avoiding temptation. There is advice about following closely after God and obeying His commands, the result being the blessing of God upon your life.
There are a number of passages in the book of Proverbs which express clearly the things that God hates and despises because they tell us this in no uncertain terms. It’s an interesting exercise to go through the book and note these passages.
3:32 “the Lord detests a perverse man” – perverse being someone who deliberately and wilfully behaves contrary to what is expected of him or her. We look today at people who desire to impact on others by rudeness, or shock value or deliberately destroying or mocking what is socially considered appropriate behaviour, and this is an attitude which God despises.
This verse is expanded upon in Proverbs 11:20 “The Lord detests men of perverse heart” which demonstrates that our innermost thoughts and intents are known by God before they become actions. Jesus spoke along these lines when He talked of committing adultery or murder in the heart before any actual actions occurring, and these thoughts and intents too being accountable to God (see Matthew 5:28, or 1 John 3:15).
6:16 “seven [things] that are detestable to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked scheme, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”
12:22 “The Lord detests lying lips”
16:5 “The Lord detests all the proud of heart”
How we relate one to another is of great importance to God. The need to be honest is reiterated throughout scripture and is one of the ten commandments. Again, we see that attitudes and thoughts are accountable before God, as well as actions. Those of us involved in church congregations do well to take good heed of the last item in the list in 6:16. Churches and ministries can be destroyed by sparks of gossip, criticism, power plays and factional infighting.
11:1 “The Lord abhors dishonest scales”
12:2 “but the Lord condemns a crafty man.”
20:10 “Differing weights and differing measures- the Lord detests them both”
20:23 “The Lord detests differing weights and dishonest scales do not please Him.”
The above verses signify that God wants us to be fair and honest in our business dealings, not trying to cheat or swindle anyone. In this way Christians can be well respected and trusted in their dealings, particularly in the face of cultural practices which encourage exploitation.
15:8 “The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked”
15:26 “The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked”.
God knows our innermost thoughts, and the motives we have for doing things. We are warned elsewhere in the Bible that God searches the heart (eg.1 Samuel 16:7). Jesus tells us that many will come to Him stating that they have done wonders in His name, yet He will tell them that He does not know them (Matthew 7:21-23). He wants relationship and obedience, and sacrifice from a heart full of love and gratitude to Him.
When we see the things that God detests written clearly in the book of Proverbs, it helps us to identify areas of our lives where we can be obedient to His will. We can strive to be civil and courteous to others; we can be honest; we can be mediators and peacemakers; we can promote the welfare of the poor and needy; we can be humble and inclusive of others irrespective of their social standings, and we can set an example of fair and honest business dealings. May all these things help to further our ministries for God’s glory.