Summary: God hates when we misuse the body He has given us for sinful purposes. Why? Because God hates sin.
The words hate and God do not seem to go together. Yet, the writer of Proverbs clearly declares that God hates something. What is it? Our initial instinct would be to suggest the terrible two: murder and adultery. Others would suggest drunkenness or debauchery. Not so, according to the writer of Proverbs. What God hates is the misuse of the parts of the body God intended to be blessings.
No part of God’s creation is any more remarkable than the creature called man. Packed under the skin of man are some 263 bones tied together with more than 500 muscles. All of this is temperature controlled with the most wonderful air-conditioning system in the world. The body is operated by one central muscle 6 inches by 4 inches which beats nearly 2 ½ billion times in 70 years, and pumps more than 7 tons of blood daily through more than 100,000 miles of blood vessels. This heart is the energy center for the body. The intellectual and motivational center of the body is a remarkable computer the size of a soft, squishy grapefruit that we call the brain. Imagine a computer with ten billion transistors and ten trillion wires which can add up grocery bills and write songs and appreciate art and dream of dragons and fall in love! It is no wonder the psalmist cried, “I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14).
Why did God give us this remarkable body?
He gave us our eyes to see His light, our tongue to proclaim His truth, our heart to feel His compassion, our hands to hold out His blessings, our feet to follow His way. But the writer of Proverbs tells us that God hates our misuse of these essential tools.
This familiar list of “seven deadly sins” may well be a commentary on the previous paragraph since the climax of each line of each is “sows discord” (vv. 14, 19). Certainly that catch phrase accounts for the back-to-back positioning of the passages in this wisdom speech. In the prior text, the emphasis was on the dangers of perversity and the disastrous fate of its perpetrator. Here the evil conduct is evaluated from God’s viewpoint, as the words “hates” and “abomination” declare. These are favorite words in Proverbs and Deuteronomy to describe what is utterly outrageous to God in its insolence and evil.
The numerical pattern “six ... seven” plays several roles:
• it aides memory by numbering the items in a list;
• it encourages recitation or repetition of the items by making a game, almost a riddle, of the text;
• it thrusts into bold relief the final item, here the seventh, as the climax and center of the list.
If we are right in seeing “discord” as the heart of the passage and in finding frivolous or malicious litigation as a chief expression of that discord, then we may see a contentious note in each of the first six rungs in the ladder by which we ascend to the climax of the final clause.
Misuse of Our Eyes
What does God hate? He hates “haughty eyes” (literally “raised eyes” v. 17). It may be a general reference to the haughtiness that God detests as an intrusion on His sovereignty (see Isa. 2:11-19); it may also refer specifically to the claim to being “one up” that the perverse person wants to sustain in court. Sort of “I got you back last.”
The eyes are the windows which determines what comes into the brain, for 300,000 telephone lines connect the eyes to the brain and immediately communicate images to the brain. The eyes can flood the soul with light, or they can contaminate the soul with darkness. That’s what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matt. 6:22-23, NASB).
Misuse of Our Tongues
What does God hate? He hates “a lying tongue” (v. 17) and “a false witness who utters lies” (v.19). This reference to “a lying tongue” may be a general inclination to play loose with the truth; it may also point to falsehood in setting up to testifying in a legal encounter. “A false witness who utters lies” helps to clinch the point that unlawful, wrongful legal action is in view. The discord, then, sown on soil plowed or devised in wicked plans is not unspecified divisiveness. It is an attempt to drive wedges into the solidarity of the community, clan or church.
The Bible repeatedly declares that our tongue is to be used to speak the truth.