These Severn Things (Proverbs 6:16-19)

Turning once again to Proverbs 6 (what a rich chapter this is!), we are now given a list of things that God hates. Let us not underestimate the strength of these words. Verse 16 begins by saying these are things that God “hates”; things that are an “abomination” to Him! I do not know about you, but that makes me sit up and pay attention. I do not want any of these things to be found in me!

So, what are they?

There are six things which Yahweh hates;

    yes, seven which are an abomination to him:

17 arrogant eyes, a lying tongue,

    hands that shed innocent blood,

18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,

    feet that are swift in running to mischief,

19 a false witness who utters lies,

    and he who sows discord among brothers.

Proverbs 6:16-19 WEB

The first item on the list is “arrogant eyes.” Arrogance stems from pride, and an overinflated sense of oneself. To have arrogant eyes is to look down on other people, and to believe that we are better, superior and more important than they. Not so! Each of us is made in the image of God, and are equally valuable in His eyes. Looking down on other people and favouring some over others breaks the command to love one another. The arrogant eye sees others’ faults, but not their own. Instead, we must look on ourselves with sober judgement and recognise that we are no more important than anyone else we meet; irrespective of class or position. That is not to say we look down on ourselves either, but merely to be honest and treat others fairly.

God hates a lying tongue. Lying is the devil’s language, and we ought to have no part in it. When talking to Christians, it is rare to find examples of blatant or outright lies. More often, in my experience at least, it is far more subtle. Take the arrogant eye as above, it is far more likely that we might “bend the truth” to make others think better of us or to hide certain truths to please people. Honesty is not the same as rudeness of course, and so we can find ways of being truthful without being blunt or harsh. Our words should be clear and honest, not shrouded in deceit. It sounds simple, yet I wonder how often our words in a typical day are completely truthful? When someone asks how we are, how honest is our response? If someone wants us to sign up to some rota, do we add our names honestly intending to fulfil it? If we have people-pleasing tendencies, do we feel pressure to say what we think they want to hear instead of genuine truth? Something to think about.

#God hates #lies. #SpeakTruth Christians should be #honest. People must be able to #trust our #words #Bible #Christianity

The third item on the list needs little explanation. God hates the hand that sheds innocent blood. To murder is to destroy those who are made in God’s image. From the very first murderer – Cain, who slew his own brother – to the countless murderers we hear of today, the killing of innocent people is abominable to God. To kill another is one of the most serious crimes in most places in the world, and this comes from the fact that life is valuable. You may not be guilty of shedding blood yourself, but do not forget Jesus’ words when He was speaking of the Commandment not to murder.

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’[c] shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, [d]‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of [e]hell fire.

Matthew 5:21-22 NKJV

Many of us may not be guilty of committing murder, yet how many of us have felt anger toward someone without cause? Both are equally sinful before God.

#Murder is a #sin, yet #Jesus reminds us that #anger toward others is equally bad #Bible

Verse 18 gives us the fourth and fifth items in this list of things God hates. Firstly, we see that a heart that plans wicked schemes is something to avoid. I would hope that, for most of us, when we do cause harm to others, it is done in ignorance or without thinking. It is quite another thing to plan to do harm in one’s heart. If you find yourself lying in bed at night, devising ways of getting back at someone (for example) then you need to carefully consider your ways. Likewise, the second point in this verse, warns against being swift to do evil. Do not be misled by the crowd, jumping into trouble without thinking first. Just because others are doing it, does not mean you have to! Do not be quick to get into mischief, instead learn this lesson and keep well out of it!

Verse 19 seems to repeat something we touched on earlier, namely a lying tongue. Yet there is a slight distinction here. A false witness can indeed lie, but a false witness can also paint a distorted picture of the truth without actually saying something dishonest. For example, when giving a witness statement to the police, you do not have to totally fabricate what you saw to be a “false witness.” You might simply omit certain parts of the account. God hates lies of course, but He equally hates deception and falsity which leads people down the wrong path. “I didn’t actually lie…” is no real defence. Certain politicians I could name have clearly been rather economical with the truth. They cannot be accused of outright lying, but have certainly not been totally open about what really happened. Let us not be like that!

Our final item is a very important one in my opinion. God cannot abide those who would sow discord among the brothers; by this, it means troublemakers who seek to cause mischief and damage relationships. There are those who would infiltrate a group or church, for the sole purpose of disrupting unity. I have sadly seen this in churches in the past, and if left untackled, can lead to entire congregations splitting or breaking apart. Focussing on the church, we are stronger when we stand united, and that is why the enemy may seek to disrupt the fellowship we hold. Guard against this as best you can! And do not forget that even seemingly small things like criticism, gossip or complaining can lead to discord. Watch your words and seek to bring people together, not divide them apart.

This is quite a list, and I am struck at how many of the points correlate with the Ten Commandments. We, Christians, may look at the list and dismiss it thinking, “That doesn’t apply to me…” and hopefully so! But do be sure. It is all too easy to fall into lies or false witness, or to grumble about the leadership team leading to discord, or to waste time thinking about how to get someone back for hurting you. These are all things that the Lord hates, so steer well clear of them!

Thanks for reading and do share your thoughts below.

6 thoughts on “These Severn Things (Proverbs 6:16-19)

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