Seven Abomination (pt 6)

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”

Proverbs 6:16-17

The writer uses a Hebrew construction, a numeral plus one, to indicate the Lord’s ultimate displeasure with the items in the list.

Here, the writer includes in his list “a false witness who breathes out lies.” This person struggles to tell the truth and seems to “lie when the truth would sound better.” However, the reader should not focus on the extreme examples because truth is a priority in Proverbs. For example, Proverbs 28:6 (which we have written about here) reminds us that it is “Better to be a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is corrupt in all his ways.”

This warning about being a false witness reminds me of Jezebel who suborned two false witnesses against Naboth (1 Kings 21). Not only did her dishonesty bring God’s wrath upon herself, it also brought the wrath of God upon her husband Ahab’s royal line.

17 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 18 “Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who is in Samaria; behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone to take possession. 19 And you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Have you killed and also taken possession?”’ And you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: “In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your own blood.”’”

I Kings 21: 17-19 ESV

Integrity matters to God, thus it should matter to us.

Proverbs 24:13-14

My son, eat honey, for it is good,

    and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.

14 Know that wisdom is such to your soul;

    if you find it, there will be a future,

    and your hope will not be cut off.

Proverbs 24:13-14 ESV

Here, the writer invokes a word picture to entice the reader into seeking wisdom. Knowing his son’s delight in the sweetness of honey, he compares it to getting wisdom. In the way that you enjoy the sweetness of honey, so also is wisdom to your soul.

This makes me think of how parents sometimes use sweet treats to administer medication to their children. By using something the children enjoy, the parent is able to entice the child to take that which will be beneficial to him. Here, the long term goal is soul health, and the writer uses the sweet imagery of honey to get his son to get wisdom for the sake of his future: “If you find [wisdom], there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.”

What would be a good enticement for you to seek wisdom?

Proverbs 23:1-5

When you sit down to eat with a ruler,

    observe carefully what is before you,

and put a knife to your throat

    if you are given to appetite.

Do not desire his delicacies,

    for they are deceptive food.

Do not toil to acquire wealth;

    be discerning enough to desist.

When your eyes light on it, it is gone,

    for suddenly it sprouts wings,

    flying like an eagle toward heaven.

Proverbs 23:1-5 ESV

This verse is a wake up call to be aware of the strong desires of our flesh.

In saying “put a knife to your throat” the writer is telling us to guard our hearts by physically resisting the amount and kinds of food we enjoy in the presence of a ruler/king. Why? Because it is easy to come to desire the “best things in life,” thus creating a sinful discontent with our “ordinary” life.

Being discontent with what God has provided for us dishonors Him.

Being discontent with what God has provided for us leads us to envy.

Being discontent with what God has provided for us leads us toward sin.

When our hearts are set on wealth, we will chase it wherever it leads. Verse 5 warns us that wealth will sprout wings and fly away, thus leading us to wherever it lands. And that journey to a land far away from God can begin by enjoying too much at the kings table.

Proverbs 5:7

And now, O sons, listen to me,

    and do not depart from the words of my mouth.

Proverbs 5:7 ESV

These are the words of a parent who has traveled further down the road than his child, and thus has seen some of the twists and turns of life that are in his child’s future. Here, the writer wants to get his child’s attention because there are dangers ahead (see 8-14).

In the first clause, listen conveys the idea of “pay attention and do.” Simply hearing what I’m saying isn’t enough; you need to understand and do. I think of a coach calling his team into a huddle to explain what he wants them to do. Often the call to attention in that scenario is, “Listen up!” By that he means “pay attention, I’m about to give you instructions that you need to understand and execute.”

The second clause indicates the expectation of an ongoing commitment to what is about to be said. It isn’t enough to hear and understand; committed application is the expectation.

How often do we read the Bible with the intent to understand and apply? It’s easy to fall into the trap of reading Scripture seemingly for the sake of reading … without listening. At the end of those sessions we can say we read X number of chapters, but we can hardly explain anything that we read. Is that helpful?

Proverbs 21:3

To do righteousness and justice

    is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Proverbs 21:3 ESV

This verse is an apologetic against the modern idea that “I have Jesus, so I can do whatever I want.” I have heard people say dismissively about their sin, “It’s under the blood.” While it is true that Jesus’ blood covers all of our sin, our attitude about his sacrifice is not inconsequential.

Here, the writer reminds us of the Lord’s primary desire for righteousness and justice. But, as sinners, how can we do those things sufficiently? Second Corinthians 5:21 reminds us that “For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” So, rather than have a dismissive attitude about Christ’s death on our behalf, we should rejoice that in his death, he made it possible for us to be clothed in his righteousness.