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Proverbs 6:18–19

“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.”

Surely, Christians want to avoid all sin, for we love the Lord and do not want to displease Him. And yet, when we read Scripture describing particular transgressions as special objects of God’s hatred, we pay extra attention. If our Creator hates it, then we certainly want to stay as far away from the object of His hatred as possible.

Today’s passage continues the list of seven things that God hates that began in Proverbs 6:16–17. First, we see that the Lord detests the “heart that devises wicked plans” (v. 18). Here we have an explicit reference to sins that we commit internally. God’s concern for our holiness extends further than our outward deeds. His interest is in holiness that is rooted in our innermost being, which means that He cannot abide hearts that mull on evil courses of action and are ever plotting new ways to engage in wickedness. The Lord hates wicked hearts so much that He once destroyed all creatures except Noah, his family, and representatives of the animal kingdom because “every intention of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). Though the Lord has promised never to destroy all life with a flood again (9:11), His hatred for hearts that devise wickedness remains, and those who possess unregenerate hearts on the last day will be cast into hell forever.

Proverbs 6:18 also tells us that God hates “feet that make haste to run to evil.” This verse refers to the zeal that many sinners have to act wickedly. Although apart from Christ all people have a desire to do evil, some unregenerate people give in to these desires via sinful actions more often and more readily than others. Many sinners keep their sinful impulses in check even if they never come to Christ. This does not mean that they are innocent, but only that much of the evil they consider remains in their hearts and never comes to fruition in their deeds. We are thinking here of the virtuous pagan who is a good neighbor and a relatively upstanding member of society. Others, however, do not control their sinful impulses. Both groups are guilty of sin, but those who act on their evil thoughts earn a greater judgment because their evil has a bigger effect on others.

In Proverbs 6:19, we see that God hates a “false witness who breathes out lies,” a likely reference to a perjurer who tells untruths in order to take property or harm others in a judicial setting. Such a person is among those who sow discord, which is another sin God hates. Our Lord prizes godly peace in the covenant community, so let us work to that end.

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

Jesus tells us that all sin begins within (Matt. 15:10–20). The heart that devises wicked plans and the eagerness to run swiftly to evil reflect inward corruption that the Lord hates just as much—if not more—than sinister actions. Sin is not merely an outward phenomenon; rather, it is something deeply rooted in us. Thus, we should be praying that the Lord would cleanse us of this inward corruption, and we should ask Him for the strength to fight it.

For Further Study
  • Jeremiah 17:9
  • Hebrews 3:12

Three Things the Lord Hates

The Weekend and the Lord’s Day

Keep Reading The Study Bible

From the September 2015 Issue
Sep 2015 Issue