Be Wise About Your Hate (Proverbs 6:16-19)

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Be Wise about Your Walk—What You Hate

Proverbs 6:16-19

Do you hate the right things? Following God means hating what He hates. There are seven things that God hates.

“I hate you!” You have heard it said. You may have been the one to say it. Those three words contain so much anger. You might have yelled it, whispered it, or just said it plainly. “I. Hate. You.” How ever it is said, it is meant to cause pain.

Hate is a calculated and intentional dislike–an intense and elevated form of anger. Hate can make your heart pump faster and your muscles tense. It is beyond apathy, beyond disgust. Hate actively desires for the other person to suffer. You actively care for the other person, but only that they hurt.

Bad memories associated with a certain location can make you hate it. Because of what happened there, you never want to return to Chuck E Cheese. Having an alcoholic in your family can make you view bars with disgust. Groups can be hated.

In our household, rats are universally hated. I hear they make great pets, but I would be happy if the species were eradicated. In the Northwest back in the 90s, there were groups living in north Idaho who hated all non-whites. They would cultivate hate in their children.

People are often the subjects of hate. The victims of abuse are often prone to hating their attackers. When there has been marital infidelity, a spouse reserves their greatest anger for the one who took their spouse away.

In 1981, the first “hate crime” legislation was passed in Washington and Oregon. It was a term coined in the 80s by journalists and advocates to describe criminal offenses against Jews, Asians and African-Americans. Today, 45 states have hate crime statutes.

From the FBI’s website, the FBI has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”

Hate itself is not a crime–and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties. It is surprising to read “hate itself is not a crime.” In our world, hate is an evil word.

We have hate crimes, hate speech, and plain ol’ haters. Culturally today, hate is a four-letter word. It is not allowed. Everyone and everything must be accepted. But did you know that Proverbs speaks of hate positively?

It says that there can be wisdom in hatred. That not everything should be accepted or overlooked. Ignorance or embrace are not your only two options.

When we hear a nasty joke being told, we tend to believe that only two options are available–I can laugh and pretend to like it. I can walk away and not engage. When someone comes to me with gossip, I can either refuse to listen or listen and embrace what’s said.

Proverbs is written to teach us wisdom and it says that there is a third way. There can be wisdom in hatred. There can be things worth hating. And I want to be clear–I am not thinking of being mildly discontent or put out. There is a biblical hate and it is not some sissified poutiness.

Biblical hate is a controlled rage. It is a seething, active anger. It is both intellectual and emotional. Its object is utterly detested and found revolting. Hate is an attribute of God. Let that sink in. Hate is an attribute of God. It’s part of who He is.

Many of you grew up in the 60s and 70s. Love was the dominant theme and your view of God was shaped by that. Today the theme is acceptance and that shapes many people’s thoughts of God. But God is not from the 70s and He’s not from today.

He is not about love and He is not about acceptance. He is love. And He is also holy. He is patient. And He is also just. Our God can never be defined by one attribute.

You are more complex than one simple characteristic. You might be sporty or Irish or smart. Those do not define you. They are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to be both sporty and smart. Irish and sporty. And if that is true for you, then it is utter foolishness to reduce God’s character to one or two simple attributes.

God is loving. And He is holy. He is gracious. And He is just. He is eternal. And He is omnipresent. He is kind. And he is hating. How can I say that? Because the Bible says it.

The very first mention of God literally hating something is found in Deuteronomy 12:31, where God is recorded as hating child sacrifice. He is telling the Israelites why God is using them to remove the Canaanites from the land which He is giving the Jews. He says, “I HATE what they have done for their gods.”

Many people today think of God as distant, detached and passive. They imagine Him to be an outside observer, someone who is keeping a spreadsheet of wrongs, but otherwise uninvolved in what’s happening.

We read in Proverbs 15:3, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” And we think He just keeps track of things. But God is not passive. He is active.

Scripture presents His watching as active. Second Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” He is intimately involved. His eyes roam over all the earth. And He is engaged with what’s happening.

That means that when we talk about God’s hate, we are not describing a mere feeling or something which He is brooding over. We are talking about something which the Lord of all creation feels deeply and expresses actively.

History has many records of this. In Lot’s day, brimstone came when God was angry with Sodom. In Noah’s day, the flood came when God was angry with men. In the last days, fire will come when God’s patience is exhausted.

A characteristic of God is hate. And He is not passive-aggressive. And though slow to act, He is the definition of intentionally vengeful. And if that’s true, then let me push you even further. Do you agree that following Christ means becoming like Him–yes or no?

It may be a slow process, but Scripture and those around you would confirm that when you follow Jesus, you are conformed to His image. And that means, over time you should begin to hate like God does.

Now don’t act too shocked. You already may be a hater. There are already things that disgust and revolt you. But when you are in Christ, that disgust should come in line with God’s hate. So what brings His wrath? What is worthy of His hate? What should we hate?

Too many Christians hate things that God loves. They hate people. They hate ethnicities. They hate creation. God does not call you to do any of that. Some people waste their hate on the mundane. They watch Jesus Christ Superstar Live and get irate. They get angry that atheists don’t teach creation. Do not waste your hate on lesser things.

Are you wise about your hate? The book of Proverbs is a book of wisdom. It’s written mainly by Solomon, a king over Israel, widely acknowledged to be the wisest man who ever lived. Much of the first chapters of Proverbs is parental counsel and in the middle of that, we find something unusual.

Open up your Bibles to Proverbs 6:16 to 19. Solomon is giving parental counsel, talking about financial debt, about self-discipline, warning against evil people, and against adultery. And in the middle of this, we have a Proverb of warning.

Proverbs 6:16 to 19, “There are six things which the Lord hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.”

There are about fifteen abomination Proverbs scattered through Solomon’s book and most all of them point back to this one. Here, Solomon tells us that God is not just a God of love, but that part of His character is also to hate that which is opposed to Him.

Now if you’ve read the Proverbs, you know that the form of the first verse is not unusual. Proverbs 30 is particularly full of them. I put one in your notes. Proverbs 30:18 to 19, “There are three things which are too wonderful for me, four which I do not understand: 19 the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship in the middle of the sea, and the way of a man with a maid.”

In this passage, it’s totally obvious what it means. He starts with one number and then adds another, so that you understand that this is not an exhaustive list. He is not saying there are only four things in the world he doesn’t understand. He is not saying, “I fully grasp everything in the world except three, no four things.”

This is a Hebrew poetic device to say this is a partial list. So now think about Proverbs 6:16 to 19. What’s being said is that God hates more than the six things listed. There are more than these seven things which are abominations to him. And you know this is true, because it doesn’t list child sacrifice here, even though Deuteronomy tells us that God hated it and the corresponding idolatry.

There are three different Proverbs that describe how false scales are an abomination to God, but that doesn’t make this list either. So it’s not exhaustive—which means God is not just loving. He is not a kindly old grandfather. He is not a distant, uncaring observer.

God is actively opposed to, angry about and wrathful towards certain things. And truthfully, He is far more hateful than you might imagine. Proverbs 6:16 says that these things are an abomination to Him.

For most everyone, there are certain foods that make us gag on reflex. It might be something so mundane as okra or eggplant for you. Or it could be the more exotic balut–an 11-day-old duck egg, with a half-formed duck inside. Or maybe it was the one time you drank curdled milk.

We have all tasted things that invoke an immediate gag reflex. Your mouth and your stomach immediately reject whatever you’re trying to put in. My favorite is the YouTube videos where people are trying ghost peppers for the first time. That is probably the closest you’ve ever come to an abomination.

An abomination is something that causes extreme disgust and revulsion–an intense loathing. There are things that God loathes, that He is disgusted by, that He cannot stomach. Proverbs 6:16 to 19 gives us a rundown on them. It’s not exhaustive, but it’s an extended warning to us all. It’s a passage to be used for self-examination.

Are you wise about your hate? Do you hate the things that God hates? It will be horrible for you if you found that you actually loved what He hates. Seven things that God hates–first on the list is “haughty eyes.” Have you ever sang about God being high and lifted up? That’s the same words used here for man’s eyes–it’s talking about . . .

1  Pride

God hates the man who sees himself high and lifted up, elevated above others. You have probably read in 1 Peter 5:5, “God is opposed to the proud, yet gives grace to the humble.” And you thought, pride is bad. Don’t be proud. I don’t want to be opposed by God.

Maybe you’ve read Psalm 138:6. “For though the Lord is exalted, yet He regards the lowly, but the haughty He knows from afar.” And you thought, I don’t want to be distant from God, I should fight pride.

But I don’t think any of us understands how terrible pride really is. To be proud means to think much of yourself. You think more of yourself than of others. You put yourself first and prioritize your needs over others.

When food comes, you take the biggest. When lines form, you’re in front. When compliments come, you want the most. When screw-ups happen, you want the least. The proud can be extremely confident or extremely insecure.

They can ignore what others think, or be consumed with what others think. Their care is always foremost for themselves. They are at the center of their universe and they are most worthy of praise.

But God hates pride. Seeing yourself as better than others is an abomination to Him. Proverbs 16:5, “Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; assuredly, he will not be unpunished.”

Do you hate pride? I don’t mean that you think it’s wrong. I mean that you are revolted by it. You are disgusted by it. It turns your stomach–whether in you or others, it makes you sick. God hates pride. It is utterly revolting to him. He loathes it. He actively opposes it.

The second thing that God hates is a lying tongue. Or more simply . . .

2  Lies

Now we tend to categorize lies. There are certain things which we all agree is lying. Assuming a false identity is lying. Concealing that you’re an alcoholic is lying. Denying theft when the surveillance footage shows you’re guilty. Hiding adultery and expenses related to it–you’re lying. We all agree, right? Those things are lying.

But what about half-truths–little things? Saying you don’t remember when you really do? Saying someone looks great when they really don’t? Giving a different age than you really are? Padding your resume to make it look better? Rounding down your weight by 10 pounds on the form? Are those things lies?

Yes–yes, they are. But most Christians don’t really care. We justify ourselves and think that no one is hurt and it makes life easier. The problem is that God absolutely hates all forms of lying. Whether a great big lie or a small bit of deceit, He despises your words.

First Samuel 15:29, “The Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.” A fundamental attribute of God is truth. He defines and personifies truth. The Bible repeatedly presents God as a God of truth. It is part of His character and He hates lies.

Someone trying to put a live cockroach in your mouth would disgust you. But someone putting a live cockroach into your 5-year-old’s mouth would make you rage against them. When God sees a man or woman lying to another, it makes Him boil.

Proverbs 12:22, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight.” Our government leaders lie. Our tech companies lie. Our coworkers lie. Our TVs lie. Do you hate lying the way God does? Or have you grown accustomed to it as part of life?

Have you maybe ceased even seeing it as sin? Proverbs teaches us that becoming like God means hating all lies–being absolutely revolted and disgusted by them. We need to feel about lying the same way that we feel about #3 . . .

3  Murder

This may be the only one on the list that everyone expects God to hate. In Proverbs 6:17, this is described as “hands that shed innocent blood.” Taken literally, you might think that “shed blood” means a cut or a wound.

Throughout the Bible, the phrase “shed blood” means murder. When Joseph’s brothers were scheming to kill him, Reuben rescues him by saying, “shed no blood. Let’s throw him into the pit instead.”

God hates murder. Do you know the very first murderer? Take a guess. The very first murderer was Satan. He pushed others to their death. Other angels, Eve, Adam, Cain and more.

In John 8, Jesus says about Satan, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

Pride. Lies. Murder. All things that God hates, which were manifest in the greatest fallen angel. All these things are the exact opposite of who God is. This is what makes Him so opposed to them. And you need to hate murder to the same degree.

When there is a school shooting, you need to be angry about it. When there is a racially motivated murder, it should disgust you. When you are watching a movie or show where there is a murder, it should not entertain you, but sicken you.

If you enjoy watching fights, whether YouTube or professional, you should be very concerned. Psalm 11:5 says, “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates.”

God is not opposed to the death penalty. He has uses wars for good, though the death toll may be high. But He doesn’t like it. He hates the one who loves violence.

This is not about you practicing karate or krav maga. This is not about the realistic portrayal of Omaha Beach in Saving Private Ryan. This is about what your heart enjoys. If you enjoy violence, fights, and death in movies, then you need to understand that you are loving something that God hates. Your heart has to change.

When we move into Proverbs 6:18, the fourth thing that God hates is . . .

4  Evil Schemes

Proverbs 6:18, “A heart that devises wicked plans.” So think about this. Sometimes we make the false dichotomy that something isn’t sin until you do it. Here what we read is that when you are planning to sin in your heart, that is sin before God.

I am not talking about the temptation to sin, but the planning of sin. Think about this. The sin is gluttony and you have eaten well at the wedding. In fact, you are quite full. But then you pass by the dessert table and you see it–Key lime pie. You haven’t had it. Your mouth waters. You want it. But no–you resist. You know you’re full. You choose to have self-control.

That is temptation described, right? But what about when you see it and you want it. And you know your wife is gonna call you out. So you sit back down at the table and you start thinking. You start scheming. You’re making plans. You’re gonna get her some coffee. You’re gonna refill that cup and when she next heads to the bathroom, bam–that pie is yours.

Now you still haven’t eaten the pie, but you have devised a plan to sin. You are going to be gluttonous and you are going to deceive your wife. You have sinned before you’ve even eaten the pie.

Now pie eating is one thing. But we scheme far more devious things. You want to hide a purchase from your spouse. You want to hide an affair from your spouse. You want to hide your browsing history from your parents. You concoct a plan to sin without anyone finding out. You come up with a justification or excuse for what happened. Your heart devises a plan for sin.

Proverbs 3:32, “For the devious are an abomination to the Lord; but He is intimate with the upright.” God hates evil schemes. Again and again the Proverbs say this. Proverbs 11:20, “The perverse in heart are an abomination to the Lord, but the blameless in their walk are His delight.”

Proverbs 15:26, “Evil plans are an abomination to the Lord, but pleasant words are pure.” There are more statements about evil plans being an abomination than there are about murder. I think this is because we are prone to thinking it’s only the act.

Do you hate not just the act of sin, but also scheming for sin? Our hearts are prone to making plans to hide and cover our sins. But such plans are evil in God’s eyes. They are as absolutely filthy as the sins you’re planning to commit. But it’s not just evil planning that’s hated by Him.

5  Evil Pursuits

Proverbs 6:18, “Feet that run rapidly to evil.” Every time a person runs to sin, it draws the ire of God. God hates when a person quickly head towards evil. That choice indicates that the person believes there is more pleasure to be found in disobeying God than is possible to be found in relationship with God.

You hasten to sin because you think you are going to find joy in the sin. You are quick to follow through on your plans to sin because you care most about doing what you want, rather than what God wants. He hates that.

God is disgusted by the pursuit of evil by men and women. How do you feel about the pursuit of evil? Are you equally disgusted by it? If I think of it abstractly, it’s a pretty easy one to say “yes” to. Who would love it when people pursue evil? That’s horrible, right?

So if we threw your Netflix or HBO history up on the screen, would it show that you are disgusted by the pursuit of evil? Many Christians choose to be entertained by people pursuing evil. Many Christians choose to laugh at people pursuing evil. Many Christians choose to root for people whose feet run rapidly to evil.

The top three shows in 2017 were Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, and Pretty Little Liars. But maybe you love Gilmore Girls, The Crown or The Bachelor. Whatever you watch, are you entertained by the pursuit of evil by people?

God hates evil pursuits. If your favorite show is about people pursuing things that God hates, then you are complicit. Proverbs 15:9, “The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but He loves one who pursues righteousness.”

A friend of mine had a sign on top of his TV–it read, “I will not be entertained by things for which Christ died.” And if you have a “can’t wait to catch up on my show” mentality, that is a form of your feet running to evil.

But it’s not just about entertainment–this passage is saying that God cares about what you pursue. Proverbs 15:9, “He loves one who pursues righteousness.”

When you rejoice and delight in things that please Him, He is full of love. When your ears are closed to Him and your feet easily pursue evil, He is full of anger towards your deeds. You can’t escape His wrath. Proverbs 28:9, “He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination.”

When your heart is set on sin and you pursue it, when you close your ears to His words during the week–then your worship of Him on a Sunday is as revolting to Him as a 6-month-old rotten egg presented in a wine glass. He cannot abide it. He cannot endure it. He cannot stomach it. He is full of hate for the pursuit of evil.

Now to this point, the proverb has been about the internal aspects of sin that God hates. Now he moves from internal body parts to external, antisocial behavior. It is not just internal attitudes and personal sins which are hated by God. He also hates . . .

6  Injustice

Proverbs 6:19, “A false witness who utters lies.”

The person in view is not simply lying in order to protect himself. He is not lying in order to elevate himself above others. A false witness is one who perjures himself in order to harm another. His words are intended to harm the life, property or reputation of another.

This is not for his benefit, but to elevate evil and to forward injustice. Proverbs 17:15, “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.”

Just as God is a God of truth, so He is a God of justice. When His Son returns and the end of all days draws to a close, God will condemn the wicked and justify those made righteous. The false witness does the exact opposite. And for this reason, God considers him vile and revolting.

He absolutely hates those who distort the truth to injure others. He is more than grieved by their sin. He has extreme disgust and animosity towards those who seek to hurt others with their words. When I hear false witness, I immediately think of the courtroom,
but this goes far beyond the courtroom. This goes to the classroom and the bedroom.

If you have gossiped about someone, stating hunch or hearsay, then you have been a false witness. If you have misrepresented what someone did to you, exaggerating their mistake to make them look bad, then you have been a false witness. If you have spoken in a way that minimizes the evil that was done, then you have been a false witness.

This happens every day on school campuses. This happens every evening as spouses talk about their days. When you do this, you are committing injustice. You are bearing false witness and uttering a lie.

Zechariah 8:17, “’Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love perjury; for all these are what I hate,’ declares the Lord.” God hates injustice. And last, we read that God hates those who . . .

7  Stoke Conflict

Proverbs 6:19, “And one who spreads strife among brothers.” The focus is not on the division, but on the intentionality of the act. Division and conflict happens naturally, but there are people who stoke it. They cultivate and pour fuel onto the conflict.

The NIV translates this as “a person who stirs up conflict in the community” because it’s not restricted to sibling conflict. It can be taken to apply to fellow citizens, there is an emphasis on relatives. In other words, God particularly hates when conflict is fueled within a family.

God made the family unit. It is actually a part of His creation, and is intended to exist in unity. Parents–do you know how you can sometimes define a good day by when your kids are all getting along? And do you know how it can feel like a really bad day when they are bickering and arguing with one another through the whole day?

What if I told you that the reason their unity affects your day is because God designed them to be unified? When they are in step with that, they are fulfilling His plan. When they are at each other’s throats, they are acting contrary to His will.

Now think about our passage–God hates those who stoke conflict, especially in a family. Some spouses are particularly guilty of this. A relative does something stupid, rude or wrong to you and they get on your “bad” list. So you start (knowingly or unknowingly) to make sure that your spouse understands, acknowledges and agrees that they are rotten.

Your husband’s brother’s wife is rude to you and you nurture a break in relationship between families. You spread strife between brothers. Your wife’s mother drives you crazy, so you stoke the fire of conflict. Your friend’s sister is different and you start to tell your friend how weird her sister is and you seek to separate them.

In marriage, in friendship, with in-laws, with family, and in the church–there are those who spread conflict and feed division. But God’s Word is very clear–Proverbs 16:28, “A perverse man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends.”

God hates the spreading of strife and division, especially among friends and family. Such actions are the mark of a perverse and unloving heart. Proverbs 10:12, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions.”

God hates all such strife and discord. He is disgusted by those who stoke conflict, especially within a family. This proverb shows us that God cares about your attitude, your thoughts, your speech, your actions and your influence.

He cares about every aspect of your life. And there are things He hates. He is not mildly discontent or put out by evil. He has a controlled rage–a seething, active anger. There are things that are utterly detested and revolting to Him.

Pride, lies, murder, evil schemes, evil pursuits, injustice, discord–and it would be enough to say that your family is hurt by these things. That they are bad for your friends and ultimately result in self-harm. But the reality is that the mightiest, most unbending person in all the world is full of rage towards all these actions because they are at odds with his perfect design and character.

Now you may not have not noticed, but I have been careful this whole time to avoid saying that God hates you. God hates sin. It is entirely opposed to Him. It steals joy and leads to death and eternal separation from Him.

But as much as God hates sin, He longs for every person to be forgiven of that sin. It is so against Him, He cannot overlook it. He can’t ignore it. He can’t just let it go. So He sent His Son Jesus to live as a man without sin, and to die a righteous death that would enable sin to be paid for.

So everyone who believes in Jesus has their sin paid for. And God’s wrath will never rest upon them. For everyone who believes in Jesus, the Spirit of God comes into their life and leads them to repent of sin and to become more like the Father.

That means you will grow to hate what God hates. And you will act the opposite of what Proverbs 6 describes. That is the point of the Beatitudes. Those Beatitudes describe the life of a child of God. They describe the character of one who is happy in God.

And they have amazing correlation to Proverbs 6. Matthew 5:3 to 9 is another list of seven. It’s not complete, but it’s broadly descriptive of the person who is happy in God.

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”–the opposite of “haughty eyes”.

4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”–“hands that shed innocent blood” do not mourn, but rejoice over pain.

5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth”–a “lying tongue” hurts others for its own gain.

6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied”–“feet that run rapidly to evil” are hungry for sin.

7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy”–a “false witness who utters lies” commits injustice.

8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”–“a heart that devises evil plans” lacks all purity.

9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”–the exact opposite of “one who spreads strife among brothers.”

If you read this and your life is better described by Proverbs 6 than the Beatitudes, then would you do this for me? Would you turn in your Bibles to Proverbs 15? I want you to read something important for yourself.

Proverbs 15:8 to 9, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight. 9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but He loves one who pursues righteousness.”

The first half of verse 8 says that if you are living in a way that God hates, then you being in church today doesn’t change anything. Your act of worship is an abomination in the same way that verse 9 says your life of sin is hated by God.

But the second half of verses 9 should give you hope. He loves those who pursue righteousness. It doesn’t say that He loves those who are righteous–if it said that, we would all be condemned. It says that God loves those who pursue righteousness. That is the Gospel.

We pursue and follow Jesus, the only truly righteous one. And we seek to live uprightly, in a way that pleases Him. We pursue righteousness, not to be accepted by Him, but out of gratefulness to Him for the life we have in Jesus.

And the second half of verse 8 says that God delights in the prayers of those who do this. If you are willing to repent of sin today and to pursue righteousness, God will hear your prayers and delight in you. And you will begin to hate what He hates, though you loved them before. Let’s pray.

About John Pleasnick

John serves as a pastor and elder at Faith Bible Church

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