When God tested Abraham by commanding him to sacrifice to him his only son, Isaac, Abraham obeyed in faith. “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense” (Hebrews 11:17-19).
It was not God’s intent that Abraham actually slay his son, but God sought to test the extent of Abraham’s faith and see if he indeed had in him the fear of the Eternal (Genesis 22:10-12). Abraham proved that his fear of God was genuine, because he obeyed (Genesis 22:15-18; 26:4-5).
To fear God means to regard him with awe and deep respect, to see him as exalted and holy, just and righteous, to love him without reservation. Such fear comes from the heart. Because God is righteous and just, the fear of God is to hate evil (Proverbs 8:13). As Christians, we must overcome sin and put it out of our lives. Having a genuine fear of God, as we’ve described, enables us with God’s help to do that. If you truly hate evil you will abhor it and want to put it away from you (Proverbs 16:6).
Do you have the fear of God? We will discuss how that can be determined. One way to test yourself is ask yourself, do I hate what God hates? Do I hate evil?
God does not take a neutral or tolerant stance toward evil. God is merciful to human beings, he extends grace and forgiveness to us despite our evils, but in the final analysis, God hates evil. If we are to please God, if we are to become like God, we must develop the fear of God — we must learn to hate evil as God does.
In Proverbs 6 are named seven specific evils that God hates (Proverbs 6:16).
As we go through these you can test yourself, and gauge how strong is your fear of God.
1) A proud look (Proverbs 6:17).
We’ve already seen in Proverbs 8:13 that God hates pride and arrogance. Both Hebrew words in that verse, translated respectively pride and arrogance (NKJV), come from the same root, גּאה (gâ’âh), which means to rise or swell (Strong’s Hebrew Bible Dictionary). Pride and arrogance are a kind of spiritual leaven that are sinful in and of themselves and lead to greater sins.
Pride, including spiritual pride, creates a barrier between the person afflicted with it and God. Often the prideful think of themselves as righteous, as in the parable of the pharisee and the publican (Luke 18:9-14; cf. Matthew 21:31-32).
The proud, even those who claim to know God, do not truly seek God, because their pride gets in the way (Psalm 10:4). They are not easily entreated, and refuse to acknowledge their sins in a fashion that leads to repentance.
Indeed, often the proud not only indulge the flesh, but proudly proclaim their sins (Isaiah 3:9). We live in a world that exults in sin.
God will not endure pride (Psalm 101:5). We must learn to see pride in our own hearts and minds, and hate it, and repent of it (Romans 12:3, 10; Philippians 3:2-8; 1 Peter 5:5).
2) A lying tongue (Proverbs 6:17).
The whole world lies in spiritual darkness because of Satan’s lies (Revelation 12:9). He is the father of lies (John 8:44). God is a God of truth, and lying lips are an abomination to him (Proverbs 12:22). It’s very important that we strive to avoid repeating any false report, and that we be found faithful witnesses (Proverbs 14:5).
Lying lips are a fount of all sorts of evil, and lead to and go hand in hand with many other sins (Hosea 4:1-2). Unrepentant liars will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).
We must learn to love the truth, and hate lying, and put away lying lips.
3) Hands that shed innocent blood (Proverbs 6:17).
Down through history among many peoples it’s been a custom to murder the innocent in the name of religion, or simply for the sake of convenience. Israel was told not to adopt heathen customs because it would lead to the murder of their own children (Deuteronomy 12:29-32). Both Israel and Judah disobeyed, and eventually they were sacrificing their children to heathen gods, and for these and other sins their land was made desolate and they were sent into captivity (Jeremiah 7:30-34).
Since the U.S. Supreme Court declared abortion a constitutional right in 1973, it’s estimated that more than 60 million innocent children have been murdered in this country through legally sanctioned abortion (lifenews.com; www.numberofabortions.com).
While these murders have not been committed necessarily in the name of religion, they’ve been tolerated in our supposedly Christian nation, nevertheless. Many liberal churches have actively supported the right to abortion. Whatever the rationale, the cause and the result is the same: hands that have shed innocent blood.
This is only one way in which innocent blood has been spilt in our land. Race hatred, wars, spousal and child abuse, and criminal activity have resulted in the deaths of millions of victims in our history.
Surely we can learn to hate the shedding of innocent blood, and repent of it to the extent we may be guilty, as Paul did (Acts 22:4; 1 Timothy 1:13).
4) A heart that devises wicked plans (Proverbs 6:18).
In the world that existed before the flood, God saw that left to themselves the hearts of men were evil (Genesis 6:5). The world is evil because the hearts of men are evil.
We must come to see that our own nature is evil, and that with God’s help we must fight against and overcome our own corrupt minds (Romans 8:7-8). Each person is responsible to God for living a life of repentance, hating the wickedness that dwells in his or her own flesh, and striving to overcome it though the Spirit of God (Romans 8:12-14). We must set our minds on doing God’s will, and put to death the fleshly lusts of the carnal mind (Colossians 3:1-5).
5) Feet that are swift in running to evil (Proverbs 6:18).
When God took Moses up to Mount Sinai to give him the law, in almost no time nearly the whole lot of the children of Israel turned aside (Exodus 32:1, 7-8). Very commonly humans carelessly and thoughtlessly make decisions that lead them into evil. Running to evil is in our nature, but it’s something God hates and we are warned against in many places in Scripture (e.g., Job 31:5, 8; Proverbs 19:2).
Rather than carelessly and thoughtlessly, or greedily, running to evil, we are admonished to give careful consideration to the decisions we make and how we live (Proverbs 4:25). We are not to be drawn along with the crowd into doing evil (Exodus 23:2). The excuse “everybody’s doing it” is not impressive to God.
We are admonished, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19). We must not run to evil, but we are to flee sexual immorality, idolatry, and other sins, and pursue righteousness (1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:10-11; 2 Timothy 2:22).
6) A false witness who speaks lies (Proverbs 6:19).
Lying is mentioned twice in this list of things God hates. We must realize how corrosive and corrupt lying is and understand why God hates it so.
We are commanded not to bear false witness (Exodus 20:16). Every time we say something that is not true we break this command.
Many times innocent lives have been destroyed because of the lies of false witnesses. It was lies about the Jews, for example, that led to the holocaust of World War II. Jesus was murdered partly on the testimony of false witnesses (Matthew 26:59-61).
We must learn to hate lying as God does, and do everything possible to make sure we always tell the truth (Colossians 3:9).
7) One who sows discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:19).
God wants us to be of one mind with him. When that is lacking, discord is the result (Philippians 2:1-5). As noted in the above Scripture, discord may develop as a result of selfish ambition, conceit, and a lack of interest in the well being of others. It often involves fraud and deceit, and very often slander (Proverbs 6:11-15). “Perversity” (verse 14) could also be translated fraud or deceit (cf. Proverbs 16:28). Note that Moses and indirectly God were slandered with the accusation they were out to kill the congregation of Israel (Numbers 16:13).
Discord results from carnality of mind (1 Corinthians 3:3). The key to peace and unity is in having the mind of Christ. Our fellowship with one another is predicated on our fellowship with Christ and the Father (1 John 1:3, 7). It’s the responsibility of the ministry to teach the truth, so that we may come together in the likeness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-15).
We must put away selfish ambition, conceit, fraud, deceit, slander, and carnality of mind, so that we may become one with Christ and with one another.
The fear of God is to hate evil. Do you have the fear of God?
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Messenger Church of God
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Wentzville, MO 63385