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Proverbs 4:20-21

My son, be attentive to my words

incline your ear to my sayings.

Let them not escape from your sight;

keep them within your heart.

 

Observations

  • It is interesting that a list is used to clearly and succinctly communicate the things the Lord hates or that are an abomination to Him.
  • Both “hates” and “abomination” are strong words to describe how the Lord responds/reacts to the things on this list.
  • The first five things on the list are describing parts of the body, moving from the top down: eyes, tongue, hands heart, feet.
  • Each body part is connected to a sin:  
    • Eyes—haughtiness/arrogance
    • Tongue—lying/deceit
    • Hands—shedding of innocent blood
    • Heart—devising wicked plans
    • Feet—can’t wait to run to evil
  • The last two on the list are kinds of people:  a false witness and one who sows discord.
  • Both of these are harmful to communities.

Application

When God created us in His image, to be His image and kingdom bearers, He declared us (all of our created being) to be VERY good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:26-31)

God doesn’t merely dislike the things listed in Proverbs 6, He hates them; they are an abomination to Him.  We know that a Holy God abhors all sin, but there is something that goes to the very heart of God regarding the sins that are listed here.

We were created in God’s image, given instructions to bear Him and His image in all the earth, sent out as His kingdom ambassadors.  It not only grieves His heart when we use that which was created for His glory in sinful and image-distorting ways, He HATES these sins.  We were given eyes, tongues, hands, hearts, and feet that were created to bless others on His behalf.  Instead, our own arrogance, deceit, devaluing of human life, anger, attraction to wickedness and evil, all work to hurt others, twisting God’s good Name and image in the process. 

The last two on the list refer to people who harm communities.  False witnesses and those who sow discord cause destruction to all, but the worst is the damage caused the innocent lambs we are called to care for, feed, and protect, all in the Name of our Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

This Lent, I am asking the Lord to show me how I am distorting Him to others, instead of reflecting the fullness of His goodness and glory, that others would see and experience Him, that which is VERY good.  And I am humbled that Jesus is working this out in me, redeeming all of me—my eyes, my tongue, my hands, my heart, my feet—through the sanctifying and freeing work of His Spirit (Romans 8).  And I am asking Him to give me His Shepherd’s heart for all those with whom I am in community.

Prayer

Dear Lord, shine your light into the dark places of my life and soul where it needs to shine.  Help me to see where I distort your image to others.  Thank you that I am covered by your blood, and that in that grace, I am able to live fully as your child, unafraid of the judgment that I am due.  But do not let me take lightly those things you hate.  Continue your sanctifying work in me and in HopePointe that we would fully reflect you and your goodness to others, your kingdom and image bearers, blessing and not cursing.  In the mighty and saving Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen. 

- Deacon Lisa Schwandt

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