If we’re honest, our response to the question, what do I absolutely hate, is led by our emotional state; it shifts with moods or circumstances.
- Bullying (if our kids have been bullied)
- Cold Weather (in a long winter)
- HEAT (when it’s gone on too long)
- Your lawnmower or computer or car if it breaks down at the worst possible moment
We’ve been asking this question about God…
- I would never ask how others would respond to this question, with fear I’d get some ridiculous answers.
Honestly, if anything, what does God hate?
This question comes from Proverbs 6. The writer of the proverbs does his best to interpret and answer this question.
Here’s what we read:
16 There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
So far we’ve talked about…
- prideful eyes
- envious of what others have
- lying tongue
Up to now we’ve dealt with a line at a time, today we will group three of them together.
HANDS / FEET / HEART
This part of the proverb, as important as it is, should simply be a given. (Ex 20:13)
Hands that shed innocent blood? Who wouldn’t or shouldn’t hate that.
Yet, in our world, on a daily basis, people die, innocently, foolishly, senselessly.
Ignorant wars? Acts of violence? Those who don’t have a choice? DIE.
Toronto is not immune to these acts, as we saw just a few weeks ago.
Murder. Senseless death. Comes from those who…
1) don’t see the image of God in others, and 2) have an undervalued view of their neighbour.
Of course murder is more than what we think it is. We kill people’s dreams, people’s aspirations, people’s hopes, all the time, and think it’s ok.
Jesus addresses this in Matthew 5 (20-22).
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ (which means I hate you or a form of contempt) is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
Jesus is obviously expanding the meaning of murder and more importantly the limits of the ten commandments. It’s not just your hands that commit the evil, it’s your thoughts, your words, your intentions.
Extreme Case: Don’t Kill
Subtle Understanding: Don’t tear people down, don’t wish people dead or treat them like they’re not image bearers of God.
I recently heard these words from a podcast that ring true here: Be careful how we use the words ‘crushing it’ and ‘killing it’. When we’re crushing it, is someone else getting crushed? When we’re killing it, is someone else being disposed of?
Feet that rush to evil…
I love this metaphor. Rushing. Hurrying. Doing something dumb, and doing it quickly.
Think about all the things we rush to…work, home, our phones, a store before closing, …
Are most of the things we rush towards worth it? I bug my kids to hurry up all the time…family gatherings mainly…and we’re still the first ones there…we’re reconsidering our plans for the next event 🙂
If you rush to do anything, the proverb is saying, rush to do good. Rush to love, to help, to build up, to encourage, etc.
Such a vivid metaphor: rushing to evil. God hates it when we choose to move in the wrong direction. WHY? It hurts us. And it can most definitely hurt others in the process.
You’ve heard this before: I do what I do and it doesn’t affect anyone, so why do you care? Untrue. If we rush to evil, we will most likely drag others along with us.
Our feet dictate where we go…so count your steps, discern your direction.
Psalm 37 talks about this much…with words like, firm steps…ordered steps…walk in in God’s ways…
How futile…to rush somewhere…you have no business being.
A heart that devises wicked schemes…
We know that the word heart is not our physical heart. Heart in scripture generally means our will, our mind, our insides…the control centre of our lives.
Proverbs challenges us to really take inventory of our heart. More importantly, we’re challenged to not even let anything in that can send us in the wrong way.
I’ve been teaching my son how to drive recently. Let me tell you, the steering wheel, when moves one way or the other, with too much force, really gets the car going in a way that is, let’s say, unsafe 🙂
So just like a steering wheel in a car, your heart directs your life.
That’s why another proverb tells us to guard our heart. To protect it. To ensure it’s healthy and good and humble.
Jesus says in Matthew 15…
18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”
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It’s very interesting that the phrase about heart is at the centre. In ancient writing, and in poetry, position and location is very important. This phrase is the 4th of 7 lines. 3+1+3.
They are trying tell us something. If our heart is in the right place, so will the other parts of our body.
If our heart is healthy, it will reflect every part of our life.
Think about it this way. If your heart is right, your hands and your feet will follow suit.
HEART is who I am
FEET is where I go
HANDS are what I do
They work together, but it starts in your heart.
Today is Mother’s Day. It reminds us how important it is for us to plant good seed in the hearts of those we care for.
The most important thing we can do is teach our kids or teach those we are privileged to influence, to take care of their heart, to guard their heart, to nurture their heart with God’s words, God’s ways, Jesus’ values.
Moms & Dads & Leaders, we are planters. What we plant, will grow. So the challenge is to plant well.
God loves your heart so much he wants you to devise plans that are good.
God loves your feet so much he wants you to move in the right direction.
God loves your hands so much, he wants you to use them to build up and encourage.
God just hates it when we waste good hearts, feet and hands, on dumb things. To be honest, so do we.
– – – – – – – – –
small(er) group discussion:
What are some initial thoughts or questions that come out of this week’s topic?
Which aspect (Heart / Hand / Feet) resonates with you most?
How do you interpret the Proverb’s words on murder? Could this be a non-issue if we saw every person as an image bearer of God or if we loved our neighbour as our self?
And then, how do you see Jesus taking it a step further and re-interpreting one of the ten commandments? (Matt 5) (Not just physical, but intentions, words, thoughts, etc.)
What do you make of the metaphor of Feet rushing to evil? Is rushing ever good? Is hurry in itself evil? And what would you rather be in a hurry to do?
Heart. The most important one of all. Why does it seem we always come back here; to the heart of the matter, if you will?
Two verses to think about: Proverbs 4:23 & Matthew 15 (Jesus’ words on heart & life). Discuss.
What is our role in planting good seed in people’s hearts; as parents, leaders, managers, friends, neighbours, influencers?