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Previous Bible Studies:         Subtle Abominations

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  Subtle Abominations  

"These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren."   Proverbs 6:16-19

These sins provoke God above many other sins which have a worse name in the world, because they are hurtful to the comfort of human life.

The chief of all that God hates is he who takes a fiendish delight in destroying his brother. "He that loveth his brother abideth in the light... But he that hateth his brother is in darkness..." I John 2:10-11

1. A PROUD LOOK

Haughtiness, conceitedness in ourselves, and the contempt of others. There are seven things that God hates, and pride is the first, because it is at the bottom of much sin and gives rise to it. It is the very opposite of humility, which the apostle mentions in Ephesians 4:2 as the basis, of all the virtues.

God sees the pride in the heart and hates it there; but, when it prevails to the degree that men's countenance witnesses against them, that they overvalue themselves and undervalue all about them, this is in a special manner hateful to God.

Biblical Example:   Daniel 4:30-31   Nebuchadnezzar

"The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken;"

God's Judgment: "The kingdom is departed from thee..."

2. A LYING TONGUE

Falsehood, fraud, and dissimulation. Next to a proud look nothing is more an abomination to God than a lying tongue. Nothing is more sacred than truth, nor more necessary to conversation than speaking truth.

Lying is the wilful perversion of truth, not only by speech, but by any means whereby a false impression is conveyed to the mind.

Biblical Example:   Acts 5:1-3, 5   Ananias, with Sapphira

"A certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?"

God's Judgment: "And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost..."

3. HANDS THAT SHED INNOCENT BLOOD

Cruelty and blood-thirstiness. The devil was from the beginning, a liar and a murderer John 8:44, and therefore, as a lying tongue, so hands that shed innocent blood are hateful to God, because they have in them the devil's image and do him service.

Rather than have its plans frustrated, will soak the hands with innocent blood, the blood of those who have done it no injury. The shedding of innocent blood is the result of vengeance, and pulls down God's heavy judgments on the murderer.

Biblical Example:   Genesis 4:5, 8-11   Cain

"Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground."

God's Judgment: "And now art thou cursed from the earth..."

4. AN HEART THAT DEVISETH WICKED IMAGINATIONS

Subtlety is the contrivance of sin, it is wisdom to do evil, a heart that designs and a head that devises wicked imaginations, that is acquainted with the depths of Satan and knows how to carry on a covetous, envious, revengeful plot, most effectually. The more there is of craft and management in sin the more it is an abomination to God.

There are evil thoughts in all men's hearts; but the devising, fabricating of them, and thus making the heart into a devil's workshop, is the mark of utter depravity and wickedness, and is abhorrent to God.

Biblical Example:   Esther 3:5-6; 7:9   Haman

"When Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath ...wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom."

God's Judgment: "Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon."

5. FEET THAT BE SWIFT IN RUNNING TO MISCHIEF

Vigour and diligence in the pursuance of sin, feet that are swift in running to mischief, as if they were afraid of losing time or were impatient of delay in a thing they are so greedy of. The policy and vigilance, the eagerness and industry of sinners in their sinful pursuits, shame us who go about that which is good so awkwardly and so coldly.

To run to mischief is to carry out with clarity and without delay that which has already been devised in the heart. It implies more than falling or sliding into sin, rather a blatantly planned act of defiance.

Biblical Example:   Exodus 14:5-9; 23, 27-28   Pharaoh

"The heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? And he made ready his chariot... And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt... and he pursued after the children of Israel... and overtook them..."

God's Judgment: "And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea... And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength... And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them."

6. A FALSE WITNESS THAT SPEAKETH LIES

A false-witness is one of the greatest mischiefs that the wicked imagination can devise, and against which there is the least defence. There cannot be a greater affront to God nor a greater injury to our neighbour than knowingly to give in a false testimony.

There are seven things which God hates, and lying involves two of them; he hates it, and doubly hates it. This hateful sin is one of God's original ten commandments, "Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbour" Exodus 20:16.

Perjury may be employed, not only in ruining the innocent, but also in saving the guilty. Much hurt does the deceitful and lying witness accomplish, for he corrupts the judge, oppresses the innocent, and suppresses the truth.

Biblical Example:   Matthew 26:59-62   The chief priests

"Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; ...At the last came two false witnesses... And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?"

God's Judgment: There is no recorded judgment here, though rest assured these lying priest's and witnesses have stood before God with innocent blood on their hands.

7. HE THAT SOWETH DISCORD AMONG BRETHREN

Making mischief between relations and neighbours, and using all wicked means possible, not only to alienate their affections one from another, but to irritate their passions one against another.

The God of love and peace hates him that sows discord among brethren. Those that by tale-bearing and slandering, by carrying ill-natured stories, aggravating every thing that is said and done, suggesting jealousies, evil surmises, and blow the coals of contention, are but preparing for themselves a fire of the same nature.

Biblical Example:   2 Samuel 20:6; 18:15   Absalom

Defiled his sister Tamar, murdered his brother Amnon, conspired against his father David, brought division and strife throughout all Israel.

"David said, Shall Sheba do us more harm than did Absalom..."

God's Judgment: "And ten young men that bare Joab's armour compassed about and smote Absalom, and slew him."

IN CLOSING

God hates sin; he hates every sin; he can never be reconciled to it; He hates nothing but sin. But these sins are in a special manner provoking to God which are prejudicial to the comfort of human life.

The things which God hates, we must hate in ourselves. We must shun all such practices, and watch and pray against them; and avoid, with marked disapproval, all who are guilty of them, whatever may be their rank.

Notes from Matthew Henry's Commentary

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