Here in Proverbs 6 is an extremely sobering passage of Scripture. It begins with verse 16: “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him.“ Probably most of you are familiar with that verse; but when people confront it for the first time they are usually taken aback. They ask, “But doesn’t the Bible say, ‘God is love?’”–and of course it does. But the Bible also teaches that there are some things God hates–and listed here are seven of them.
It is profoundly important that we understand that man’s hatred and God’s hatred are extremely different. Man’s hatred is characterized by sin. But God is perfect, and does not sin. When the Bible speaks of God hating, it denotes a position that he has taken. The Hebrew word for hate used in this passage means, literally, “to be set against.” If God is said to hate something, that means that he is set against it–and for God to be set against something is serious business.
You and I should avoid these seven things just like we would avoid a deadly contagious disease. I don’t want to be doing something that God hates–and I’m sure you don’t, either. Let’s look at those seven things–and to whatever degree we’re guilty of any of them, let’s confess it and ask God’s forgiveness and get it right.
I. A PROUD LOOK
Pride does all kinds of damage. It hurts relationships. Proverbs 13:10 says, “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well-advised is wisdom.” Pride breaks up marriages, and it destroys friendships. Pride keeps people from getting right with God. Psalm 10:4 says, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” And sometimes pride causes people to think they are right with God when they really aren’t.
Proverbs 29:23 says, “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit.” That truth is powerfully illustrated in the book of Daniel, chapter 4. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attained vast wealth and influence, until his heart was lifted up with conceit. Then he dreamed a troubling dream. Daniel was called in to interpret it. Daniel told him that God was going to bring terrible punishment upon him because of his inflated ego. He said that Nebuchadnezzar would lose his mind and live like a wild beast, and then after he had learned his lesson would be returned to power. It happened just as Daniel had predicted, and after Nebuchadnezzar had been restored he exclaimed in Daniel 4:37: “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.”
It doesn’t always happen in that dramatic a manner–but sooner or later, one way or the other, pride will topple a person. Isaiah 2:11 declares, “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.“ No wonder that Proverbs 26:12 says, “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.“ In Isaiah 66:2 God said, “…to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”
When pride creeps into a Christian’s life, it will keep him from being used of God, and eventually it will bring God’s chastisement. God hates a proud look. James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
II. A LYING TONGUE
Proverbs 12:22 says, “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight.” Jesus, speaking of Satan, said, in John 8:44, “he is a liar, and the father of it.“ So, when we lie we’re in the devil’s camp. God’s hatred of lying was dramatically demonstrated in the first century church. In those early days following the mighty events of Pentecost, members of the church in Jerusalem showed deep concern for one another. Many of them, to insure that none of their brothers and sisters in Christ would be in want, sold their houses and lands and brought the money to be distributed by the apostles as needed. At first, everything was well and good. But whenever God is blessing, Satan also tries to get into the situation. Look at Acts 5:1-5: “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. [Peter was saying, “Ananias, you have not lied to men only, but also to God.”] And Ananias, hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.”
Ananias’ wife wasn’t in the room when that happened, but later came in and told the same lie her husband had told–and she, too, was struck dead. In verses 10-11 we read: “Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.”
Were Ananias and his wife saved? If they were, they surely were backslidden. Or maybe they were church members who had never been converted–the Bible doesn’t tell us. But it does tell us, with solemn certainty, that God abhors lying. No, he obviously doesn’t always deal with the sin of lying in that dramatic, drastic way. If he did, I suspect there would be a lot of sudden deaths in the average church–because people lie about many things other than their offerings. We can lie by making promises and commitments that we don’t keep. We can live a lie, by professing to be one thing and in private being something else.
May the Lord help us to see what a terrible, God-dishonoring thing it is to lie–about anything, to anybody, any time. When we lie, we can count on retribution coming in one way or another. Psalm 120:2 should be our prayer: “Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.”
III. HANDS THAT SHED INNOCENT BLOOD
This is, first and foremost, a warning against breaking the sixth commandment, recorded in Exodus 20:13: “Thou shalt not kill”–or, literally, “Thou shalt do no murder.”
I don’t have time to deal with all that the sixth commandment does and does not prohibit, but I do want to name one thing that it does not prohibit, and two or three things that it does prohibit. The sixth commandment does not prohibit capital punishment for the crime of murder. After the flood, God said to Noah, in Genesis 9:6, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” The Scriptures make it clear that capital punishment is to be administered by duly constituted government authority, but I find no record anywhere in the Bible, or even any implication, that God ever revoked the death penalty for murder.
Now let me name some things that are prohibited by the sixth commandment. Terrorism is certainly prohibited. What a horrible, cowardly, God-dishonoring thing it is for crazed religious maniacs to blow up innocent men, women, and children. As Adrian Rogers said, “Any religion that promotes mayhem and murder is not of God.”
Let me now point out another thing that is forbidden by the sixth commandment: abortion. I love our country. I am unabashedly, unashamedly, unapologetically, a patriotic, flag-waving American. I get a lump in my throat when I see Old Glory waving in the breeze, or when I hear our national anthem, or when I see our military personnel in uniform. I love this country. But love need not, and ought not, be blind–and we need to open our eyes to the fact that abortion is the shame of modern-day America. Every year 1.5 million innocent babies are murdered. May God help us somehow to end this carnage.
Most of us are unlikely ever to murder another person outright. However, it is possible to murder someone indirectly–and when that happens, whether or not a court of law ever establishes guilt, God knows about it, and he hates the shedding of innocent blood.
We need to be exceedingly careful at all times to avoid endangering the lives of others, lest we be guilty of indirectly shedding innocent blood. Again, Satan is the author of all such activity. Jesus said, in John 8:44, …the devil…was a murderer from the beginning….”
IV. AN HEART THAT DEVISETH WICKED IMAGINATIONS
One of the major reasons that God sent that devastating flood in Noah’s day is explained in Genesis 6:5: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Satan often dupes people into the notion that unholy, God-dishonoring thoughts and attitudes are not really so bad so long as we keep them bottled up inside. But Jesus said differently. Jesus said, in Matthew 15:19-20: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man….”
So we mustn’t let Satan lull us into the idea that we’re okay just because we manage to keep up outward appearances. In 1 Samuel 16:7 we read: “…for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” That’s why the author of Proverbs 4:23 warned, “Keep [or, literally, “guard”] thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
V. FEET THAT BE SWIFT IN RUNNING TO MISCHIEF
“To run to mischief” is to be eager to put something over on someone–to get by with something–to get something by deceit or trickery. Here’s what Proverbs 10:23 says about the character of such a person: “It is as sport to a fool to do mischief….” And Proverbs 7:16 warns: “His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.”
Years ago a young boy and his buddies got angry at a farmer because he forbade them from taking a short-cut through his farm. They had been climbing over his fence and trampling down his crops, and he told them not to trespass. One boy who was the ring-leader of the group slipped onto the farm one night and sowed Johnson grass over the entire farm. If you know anything about Johnson grass, you know that it spreads rapidly and takes over; it’s practically impossible to get rid of. That boy grew up, fell in love with that farmer’s daughter, and married her. When the farmer died, that boy inherited the farm–and he spent the rest of his life fighting Johnson grass.
Galatians 6:7 warns, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
VI. A FALSE WITNESS THAT SPEAKETH LIES
The admonition against lying in verse 17, which we read earlier, is a general warning; but here in verse 19 God narrows the focus. He warns us here against specifically lying about another person. The ninth commandment strictly forbids such a thing. Exodus 20:16 says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.“ That was one approach the corrupt Jewish religious leaders used in their efforts to condemn Jesus. Matthew 26:59 says, “Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witnesses against Jesus, to put him to death.“
It is a terrible thing to lie about someone–and remember, we can lie without directly giving out wrong information. We can lie by subtly creating false impressions, or by unjustly raising questions and creating unfair doubts about someone. We can lie by telling just part of it, and not giving the whole story. Either way, lying is sorry business. It is an abomination to God; he hates it, and whenever we are guilty of it, we place ourselves in a precarious position–because sooner or later we will face the consequences.
VII. HE THAT SOWETH DISCORD AMONG BRETHREN
God places a high premium on peace. His first priority is that we be at peace with him, through repentance and faith in Christ. In Romans 5:1-2 we read, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
The Bible also teaches that you and I are to do everything within our power to be personally at peace with other people. In Romans 12:18 Paul wrote, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Further, we are to encourage those around us to be at peace among themselves, and to be at peace with God through repentance and faith in Christ. In Matthew 5:9 Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” People become the children of God by receiving Christ as Lord and Savior; but one primary way that they are recognized as God’s children is by working at the job of being peacemakers.
Paul continues that theme in Romans 14:19: “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.“ In that same chapter, in verse 33, he said, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”
Paul wrote, in Ephesians 4:1-3: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye care called, With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
If a person goes about engendering strife among others–whether by gossiping, or by whatever means–that person is in a dangerous position, because God hates the person “that soweth discord among brethren.”
So, these are seven things which, according to Proverbs 6:16, are “an abomination” unto God. That word translated “abomination” means literally “loathsome, detestable, repulsive.“ These are seven things that God hates. The number seven in the Bible often denotes completeness. The number seven in this passage not only tells us how many things are on this list, but it also suggests the thoroughness, the intensity, with which God hates those things. As we noted earlier, the first part of verse 16 could be translated, “These are seven things that God is set against.” Romans 8:31 asks, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” But these verses here in Proverbs 6 make the point that if God be against us, then regardless of whoever else might be for us, we’re in deep trouble–and the only way out is to face our sins, confess them, and get right with God.
If you’ve never been saved, you need to repent and receive Christ as Lord and Savior–and if you’re a Christian who has gotten off the track, you need to ask the Father’s forgiveness and make a fresh start. Lamentations 3:40 says, “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.” 1 John 1:7-10 says: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”