Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV)
16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.
In the course of his instruction to his son, Solomon takes a moment to remind his son that there are certain things which the Lord despises, which He hates. While many today are fond of talking of God’s love, few have reckoned with the fact that those who love much must also hate intensely. He who loves his wife must hate him who would steal her away or injure her. He who loves his children must hate him who would lead them astray or hurt them. He who loves the Church must hate him who would disrupt her peace or divide her. As Jesus tells us, “One cannot love God and mammon. He who loves the one must hate the other.” So too the Lord who loves and cherishes righteousness must necessarily hate and despise wickedness.
Solomon arranges these sins which the Lord hates in couplets. The first and last go together; the second and second to last, so on. Let us consider each in turn.
The first and last items have to do with arrogance and pride – a proud look and one who sows discord among brothers. These exhortations picture a man who imagines that his way is always the right way; the one who cannot consider that perhaps others may have wisdom and insight to give; the one who is haughty and domineering, crushing his brothers. Haughty people inevitably cause discord among others because they have to prove that they know best – and the only way they can prove they know best is if they destroy everyone who might compete with them. Beware pride.
The second couplet addresses lying and deceit. The Lord despises the lying tongue and a false witness who utters lies. He hates the tongue that pours forth honey but under which are poisonous asps and adders; the tongue that plots the destruction of others while securing its own advantage. Beware lying and deceit.
The third couplet exhorts those whose hands and feet are destructive, “whose hands shed innocent blood…whose feet are swift to do evil.” Earlier Solomon warned his son about the gang mentality – do not follow a multitude to do evil. Our hands have been given to protect the innocent but the wicked man slays them; our feet have been given to walk in the path of life but the wicked man pursues the path of death. The reason we should shun gang violence, in other words, is because their conduct is offensive to a holy God. Beware violence.
At the center of these couplets comes Solomon’s most treasured instruction for his son. That which the Lord hates is a “heart that devises wicked plans.” Earlier Solomon had warned his son – “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the issues of life.” And here – in his arrangement of sins the Lord despises – he returns to this theme. Watch over your heart. It is our heart that leads us to scheme and plot and destroy. It is our heart that becomes bitter and resentful and moves us to wickedness. Beware an evil heart.
So reviewing these exhortations, I would like you to notice that Solomon addresses every aspect of our lives. First, he addresses body language. The Lord hates a proud look. Notice that this means that there is such a thing as a proud look. Beware your face and the tale it tells. Second, he addresses speech, he addresses our mouth. God hates a lying tongue, a false witness. Beware your speech. Third, God addresses our actions, our hands and our feet. Beware what you do and where you walk, whose steps you follow. Finally, He addresses our heart – for from it flow the issues of life. Beware what you are loving and esteeming; what you are hating and abhorring.
Reminded that our whole being – our looks, our speech, our actions, and our hearts – are open and bare before the face of Him to whom we must give an account, let us kneel and confess our sins to Lord.