Category Archives: Fear of the Lord

Hating Evil, Not People

Proverbs 8:13

“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”

 God Hates

This is something most Christians, and most non-Christians, do not like to discuss … at least in the Western culture.

This is not the hatred people like those from Westboro Baptist Church preach. They preach that God wants to send people to Hell, that God hates you because of your choices.

One of my most favorite definitions of evil is “the absence of God.” Therefore, God hates those things that separates God from us.

Pride

You can take pride in something, in that you take joy in something (something most people mean). The pride that is evil is when it elevates us or something to the place of God.

This is the problem with Gay Pride parades. This is the problem with much of the sports world. This is the problem with Hollywood. This is the problem with some patriotism (not just for the USA. The Nazi’s and Russians proved during the 20th Century what patriotism gone crazy can do).

Pride elevates and celebrates everything more than it should be, especially if it is something that should not be celebrated. The first thing that comes to mind is being a “player”, or simply being sexually promiscuous. Our society has done an amazing job of promoting sex.

Arrogance

The by-product of pride is arrogance. Why does God hate arrogance?

Arrogance says “I am better than you! I can do this better than everyone! I know what I am doing!”

This might be true, but this is like saying “I am better, and you are worthless.”

Many Christians throughout the centuries have been guilty of this, as well.

These are the Christians who look down on non-Christians for being impure and sinful (Luke 18:9-14).

These are the Christians who have stood outside of abortion clinics calling women sluts and sinners.

These are the Christians who say they believe the only right way to believe.

The Evil Way, The Froward

It is easy to see that it can be quite easy to stray.

The evil way is any way that is against or not with God.

A froward mouth does not have to use “four-letter words”, but can be the one who promotes evil, praises the self, or blasphemes God.

Blasphemy of God includes cursing and swearing, sure; but it also includes denigrating others, false teachings, or even bad teachings.

All of these God hates.

But God never hates you. Period.

Dear Lord, teach us to hate what You hate. Teach us to love all people regardless of their actions and words. Strengthen us to follow the right path – Your path.

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God’s Not Safe

Proverbs 6:16

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:”

He’s Not Safe

So many people have the impression that God is nothing but love, love, love. Thinking all He cares about is their happiness and well-being, they forget that angels surround His throne crying “holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty” (Rev. 4:9).

In the “seeker-friendly” community of churches, many focus on a God who is “for us,” while avoiding any mention of a God who hates sin. They treat Him like a rich grandfather who winks at their indiscretions. They treat Him like a tame pet. But He’s not tame. And He’s not safe.

When I read the above verse I was reminded of a conversation in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. Susan, Lucy, and Peter were talking to Mr. and Mrs. Beaver about Aslan:

“Is he – quite safe? I shall be nervous about meeting a lion [said Susan]”

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

A “safe” God is one who doesn’t care what you do, as long as you love Him and worship Him, but a Holy God hates sin. And He is nothing to trifle with.

Abominations

In the next few “thoughts” we will be looking at verses 17 through 19 and the seven things God hates – yes, hates. It might be hard for some to contemplate, but even though God is love (1 Jn. 4:8), He is righteous, and He tests the hearts of men (Ps. 7:9).

As we look at these things, remember that we are all guilty of them. If you don’t think so, then you’re deceiving yourself (1 Jn. 1:8). All of us have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and fallen short of God’s righteous standards. He hates our sins, and that will never change (Mal. 3:6).

Salvation Not a License

It might be tempting to leap right to the good part – the Gospel. John 3:16 says that Jesus came to die for our sins and make things right between God and us (Col. 1:20). But hold on! That doesn’t change God’s view of sin. He still hates it.

God is love, but the Bible also says that a man who loves God will keep His commandments (Jn. 14:15; 15:10). Christ paid our sin debt on a cruel cross, and those who are truly His will avoid sin. What God hates, the Christian should hate.

“Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” – Hosea 14:9 NIV

A Prayer

Lord God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for the gift of forgiveness. But help me to remember Who you are – King. Help me to hate the things you hate, and love the things you love. 


Fortress Wisdom

Proverbs 4:8-9

“Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.”

Building Wisdom

The defense of many iron-age villages in the UK relied on huge mounds of soil being piled up to encircle a settlement and create a primitive fort. There is one of these ancient earthworks close to where I live. It is situated on the highest point for several miles and must have taken a herculean effort to build. The scale of the earthworks is not immediately evident when walking on its remains, and much is left to the imagination. What is not in doubt is that the earthworks were essential to the safety of those who lived inside. Why else would a group of Ancient Britons have invested so much in the construction of such a formidable barrier?

The word ‘exalt’ at the beginning of verse eight could be applied to the construction of an iron-age fort. Wisdom needs to be built up, and constructed into a formidable barrier to defend against everything that life and Satan have to throw at us. It is useful to remember that iron age forts were not built overnight. Solomon may have been blessed with a gift of wisdom by God, but the process of building wisdom began with the early example and teaching of his parents  (Proverbial Thought – Proverbs 4:1-2 and Proverbs 4 3-4).

Embracing Wisdom

It is not enough to embark on a building project alone. The builders of the earthworks could not spend their entire lives inside never facing the dangers outside. And how good a defense would the earthworks have been if lookouts were never posted to provide warning of possible intruders?

The reason that Solomon tells us we need to embrace wisdom is because he knew that there would be times when however good and strong the earthworks of wisdom around us may be, we still have to venture out, sometimes into the unknown. Solomon is also reminding us in these verses that we need to remain alert. Why? Because danger is all around. Stand on top of the earthworks and take a good look outside:

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NASB)

The journey is not over yet, but look out from the ramparts and you will see that the reward for exercising wisdom is in view.

 


No Laughing Matter

Proverbs 3:34

“Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.”

Those Who Scorn

Have you ever been a scorner? The definition of the Hebrew word used in this verse is shown in Strong’s as ‘make mouths at’ to scoff, mock, or deride. Pause a while and let the meaning sink in. Would you want to be known as a scorner?

Our world is full of those who scorn. Some might call it comedy. If we consider stand-up comedians, then most derive their living from scorning others. Their targets may be politicians, celebrities, or even family members. Sometimes they pick on people in the audience. But you don’t have to be a comedian to scorn. It happens daily throughout all levels of society. It happens in schools, in the workplace, and sadly even in church.

Jesus knew what it was like to be scorned. There are many examples in Scripture of ways in which Jesus was mocked by the Pharisees during His public ministry. One such incident occurs in Luke 16 after Jesus told a parable about an unrighteous servant:

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. (Luke 16:14 NIV)

Far worse was the mocking that Jesus endured after His arrest, during His trial, and even while He hung on the cross. I am moved to tears as I consider how and what He suffered, knowing that He did it all for me. He did it knowing that 2,000 years ago I would more likely have been one of the scorners than one of His followers. My failure to follow Him in the earlier years of my life places me firmly in that category. But the whole point of Jesus dying on the cross was to bring the possibility of forgiveness to all, even those who scorn.

The Opposite to a Scorner

The opposite to a scorner? It is defined in last word of Proverbs 3:34: He giveth grace to the lowly. God gives grace, kindness, favor to the lowly, the gentle, the needy, the humble, the meek, the poor. Jesus reemphasized this in the Sermon on the Mount, specifically in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12). Each Beatitude begins with the word ‘blessed.’ Which would you rather be? A scorner or one who is blessed?

Lord Jesus you know the times in my life when I have been far from being lowly, gentle, meek or humble. You have watched as I have joined in with the scorners. Despite this you chose to be a recipient of scorn, and you allowed yourself to be treated with appalling cruelty so that your Father could forgive me for mine. Through your absolute grace please bring to completion the change in my heart from being a scorner to becoming lowly. Thank you.


Don’t Fear the Fear

Proverbs 3:25-26

“Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.”

 

Things happen in this life that we cannot and do not expect. Quite frankly, it can be scary when the unexpected happens.

  • How should you respond at the moment your car is wrecked?
  • How should you respond when you lose your job?
  • How should you respond when a burglar or mugger attacks?
  • How should you respond when you or a loved one is shipped out for military duty?
  • How should you respond when your mother/father/brother/sister/child suddenly gets sick?
  • What about when they suddenly die?
  • How should you respond when God calls you to something new?

These are all very scary, even terrifying moments.

But we were told not to be afraid of that fear.

Fear can be healthy when it is meant to warn us of danger or when we begin walking down the wrong path.

But the moment we fear will quickly pass. Perhaps it will not pass as quickly as we like, but it will pass.

The Lord has promised to be with us, to guide us, and to give us peace.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
John 14:27

“I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
Matthew 28:20

Even to the end of the world.

No matter your view on the end of the world, Christ has promised to return. He will return, and the world as we know it will not exist, anymore.

Before He does, this world will only get worse. Violence, ignorance, hatred, selfishness, and any other form of evil you can imagine will only increase.

Just as in the past, the Lord will deal with all wickedness, and He will deal with this wicked world.

Until then, we must not be afraid of the fear we will feel, for He is with us. Always.

Mighty God, thank You for Your mercy. Thank You for Your promises. Help us remember those promises when the unexpected happens. Prepare our hearts to help prepare this world for Your return.


Welcome Correction

Proverbs 3:11-12

“My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.”

 

Correction

I have yet to meet a human being who enjoys being corrected, or disciplined for errors, mistakes, or any form of wrongdoing. I well recall the unpleasantness of discipline exercised by parents and teachers when I was growing up. Physical punishment was the norm at school in my day, and the threat of a visit to the headmaster’s study generally had the desired effect on pupils.

Most of us do not like to imagine God as a Headteacher or Principal with a list of punishments to be levied for misdemeanors. But Scripture teaches that every one of us will one day stand before God and answer to Him for the way in which we have lived our lives (Romans 14:10-12).

Feared, or Welcomed?

Inevitably there will be times during our journey on earth when we will face corrective action from God. The question we must consider is whether correction from God is a form of discipline to be feared, or a process of discipling that is to be welcomed?

While Proverbs teaches that we should fear God, the above verses confirm that if God corrects us it is because He loves us and wants to delight in us as He trains us to be disciples.

Abba Knows Best

The use of the word father in verse 12 is important. The writer is defining the relationship that God desires with those He created. Jesus confirmed that God is a loving Father who delights in His children when He referred to God as ‘Abba’.

If God needs to discipline His children He will. It may not be pleasant, but it is vital if we are to grow into spiritual adulthood. Is that what you desire?

Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly – mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. (1 Corinthians 3:1-2)


The Evil Man

Proverbs 2:13-15 

“Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:”

Walking with “The Evil Man”

In these verses, we see that God is warning us against “the evil man”. This man is a very dangerous man because he wants to lead the children of God away from Him. He wants to change their path of life. The Bible tells us that the evil man is known for his perverse words (v.12).

This “evil man” is out to destroy God’s people. He “rejoices to do evil and delights in the frowardness of the wicked”. We can see that this man is part of the crowd that Solomon was talking about in Proverbs 1:10-19.

As I was reading this passage, I was trying to think of a reference or story that would clearly show a picture of a “evil man” and I thought and I thought and then it hit me – what better picture to show than of the ultimate “evil” person in the Bible – the devil. In Genesis, we see how the devil loves evil. We can clearly see how he wants to get God’s people off track and take them off the “paths of uprightness“. When he was talking with Adam & Eve, he was deliberately trying to get them to go against what God had told them. He was trying to lead them astray and get them to forsake the path that God had laid out for them. He was loving every minute of his deceitfulness!

Folks, these types of people are cunning. We can see this by looking at verse 15 – “Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths“. The ESV says verse 15 this way, “men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways“.

The Take-Away

We can learn two very important things from these verses:

1. We need to be praying to God for wisdom and understanding

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” – James 1:5 ESV

2. The more wisdom we obtain the more we will fear God (Proverbs 1:7) and the more we will be able to see “the evil man” when he comes our way.

We must be in God’s Word every day and be a person that is always seeking the wisdom of God. When we walk in the way of wisdom, we will be able to identify “the evil ones” and avoid them.

“Lord, help us to seek after you each day and prepare our ears, heart and voices to accept your understanding, AMEN”