Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Frown or a Smile?

There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him. (Proverbs 6:16)

What do haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers all have in common? These are things that God – the One who describes Himself as love – declares as “out of bounds.”

The fact that there are things that are hated or detestable to God reveals something about his character; there are also things that He loves. While this chapter tends to dwell on the negative characteristics of a life out of control (i.e. the sluggard in verse 6, the scoundrel and villain in verse 12, and the adulterer in verse 32), it helps me to get through this section if I think of the positive qualities that please God. What are they?

God is pleased with eyes that are fixed on Him (Hebrews 12:1). We can bring healing and wisdom with our words (Proverbs 15:1-4). His pleasure is seen in hands that save lives and hearts turned towards helping others. The feet of those who bring the Good News of Christ’s love and forgiveness are called beautiful (Romans 10:15). The Lord delights in men who are truthful (Proverbs 12:22). Jesus would call peacemakers blessed and refer to them as the ones to be called sons of God (Matthew 5:9).

We cannot escape the fact that there are things – and I would venture to say that the list is much longer than six or seven things – that are displeasing to God. But it is important to balance this list with the equal number of things that please Him; that bring a smile to his face. Remembering this helps us to avoid the trap of legalism with a long list of don’ts that characterizes some people’s faith. It helps us to focus on Christ-like character and the need for the daily filling of the Spirit. It causes me to think that today I want to see God’s smile, not his frown.

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