Abomination Or Delight
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Proverbs, that portion of the Word of God that we have been studying together. We would remind you that we are in the second division which we have labeled The Personal Proverbs of Solomon. Proverbs, chapter 10, verse 1 says:

Proverbs 10:

1 The proverbs of Solomon…

As we study carefully this section that goes from chapter 10 through chapter 22, verse 16, we realize that these are indeed the personal proverbs of Solomon, differing from some of the proverbs we will encounter later in our discussion that were gathered together by Hezekiah, by some of his scribes, differing from the proverbs of Agur, differing from the proverbs of the wise men.

In this portion of the book, there are many proverbs which are not related to any one subject as far as being chronologically presented is concerned. We believe that the best method of studying this particular section is to gather together those proverbs which are related to certain principles, which are related to certain truths, so we have been following the principle method of discussing this particular section.

Introduction

The principle, the truth, that we want to consider together in this lesson is the truth that is related to abomination and delight. We find in this particular section some things which are an abomination to the Lord, and some things which are a delight to the Lord. If we are diligent in learning the things which are an abomination, we will want to avoid them. If we are diligent in learning those things which are a delight, we will want to cultivate them.

Before we examine the Scripture itself, it would be wise to keep in mind exactly what the Spirit of God had in mind when He used the two words abomination and delight . We realize that our English words do not always convey the exact meaning of the original Hebrew word, so we would like to remind you that the word abomination comes from the Hebrew word towebah, which is translated by the word loathe , by the word detest , and by the word disgusting ; so when you read something is an abomination to God, you read that God loathes it; He detests it; it is disgusting to Him.

I would like for you to catch the full force of the feeling, the full depth of the emotion of the word because all too often you and I look entirely too lightly upon some things and shrug our shoulders as though they're not really serious. Some of the things that we are going to notice God loathes; He detests; they are disgusting to Him.

The word delight , on the other hand, comes from the Hebrew word ratsown , which may be translated by the phrase, to be pleased with . It may be translated by the word satisfy . It may be translated by the word acceptable . It may be translated by the word pleasure . So, we can say that when we discover something that delights the Lord, it is something that satisfies Him. It is something that pleases Him. It is something that is acceptable in His sight.

Abominations to the Lord

For our immediate discussion I would like for you to think with me about the things which are an abomination to the Lord. As we look at some of these verses of Scripture, we will find in the same verses some things that are a delight to Him because a portion of the book of Proverbs is related to contrasts and another portion in this section is related to statements that amplify the previous one.

A Crooked Heart is an Abomination

As we think together about the things which are an abomination to the Lord, I have tried to group them in a way that will enable them to stick in your memory, so to speak. The first thing that I would like to suggest to you is that certain kinds of people are an abomination to the Lord. Turn to Proverbs, chapter 11, verse 20:

Proverbs 11:

20 They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.

For our immediate discussion we are interested in the first statement. Notice again:

Proverbs 11:

20 They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD…

I want you to be sure and understand that the word froward is not a word that is often used in our everyday language, and therefore I think it needs a word of explanation. I would suggest to you that this word froward comes from the Hebrew word iqqesh , which very literally means, “to knot something, to twist, to tie into a knot.” Consequently, it means “to distort” or “to make crooked.”

People who distort the truth are people who are an abomination to the Lord. People who twist the facts are an abomination to the Lord. People who are crooked, in the sense of not presenting facts straight, are an abomination to the Lord. Various of the new translations have tried to gather up the meanings of this particular word and present them to you so that you can grasp what it actually does mean.

The New English Bible , for example, translates this portion with the words: “The Loed detests the crooked heart,” and that puts it very well. Whether the crooked heart is in the believer or the unbeliever, the Lord detests the crooked heart.

The Paraphrased v ersion suggests even another thought and translates the statement: “The Lord hates the stubborn heart.”

So we would say to you that if you are an individual who is froward, if you are an individual who is crooked in heart, if you are an individual who is stubborn in heart, you are an abomination to God. God literally loathes the thought. God detests the thought. There is nothing that is of pleasure to Him from a life such as that.

A Haughty Person is an Abomination

There are two other kinds of people that are mentioned in the Scripture as being an abomination to the Lord, and we would like to call to your attention the first group we have in mind by asking you to turn to Proverbs, chapter 16, verse 5:

Proverbs 16:

5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

The group that we bring to your attention is the proud. This particular word proud comes from the Hebrew word gabahh , which may be translated by the word haughty or by the word uppity which we use sometimes in our everyday conversation. A haughty person is an abomination to God. A haughty person is loathsome to God. A haughty person is something that God detests.

Proverbs, chapter 16, verse 5, presents a special kind of proud person—a person who is haughty enough to look into the face of God and say to God, “I can do anything I want to do and You can't do anything about it at all.”

The reason I say that to you is what is brought to mind by the last part of the verse. Notice it again:

Proverbs 16:

5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: [notice] though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

Here you have the idea of men putting their hands together and making a line that the enemy can't break through—the idea that we will all stand together and God won't be able to do anything about it. What God is saying here in this portion of the Word is that these haughty people who dare to say that they can escape the judgment of God for their evil doing are an abomination to the Lord. God is saying, “Their evil doings are an abomination to Me. I detest them. I loathe them.”

Wicked People are an Abomination

The third class of people who are an abomination to the Lord are the wicked people. In this particular section of the book of Proverbs our English word wicked is the translation of three different Hebrew words. Turn, please, to chapter 15, verse 26:

Proverbs 15:

26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.

I would like to suggest to you that the word wicked here is the translation of a Hebrew word meaning “good for nothing.” Wicked people are good for nothing.

Paul said the same thing in his letter to the Romans when he said, “There are none righteous, no not one. There is none that doeth good. There is none that seeketh after God.” It is impossible to talk about an unsaved person and call him a good person. An individual who is wicked is good for nothing.

The Morally Wrong are an Abomination

There is another use of the word in chapter 15, verses 8-9:

Proverbs 15:

8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
9 The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.

Notice the word wicked. In this instance it comes from the Hebrew word rasha , which means “to be morally wrong.” Not only are the wicked, in this particular instance, good for nothing, but they are morally wrong. It is impossible for a wicked man to do anything that is right. So often we find people saying, “Oh, they are not saved, but they do so much good.” In God's sight it is impossible for them to do any good. “Oh, they are not saved, but they are so moral.” In God's sight it is impossible for them to be moral. They are morally wrong.

Sacrifice of the Wicked an Abomination

If you will look at Proverbs, chapter 21, verse 27, you will find this word wicked used again. Here it is from a different word in the Hebrew. This verse reads:

Proverbs 21:

27 The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?

The first wicked in the translation of the Hebrew word means “good for nothing;” but the phrase, the wicked mind , is from the Hebrew word zimmah, which means “a wicked plan,” “a heinous crime,” or “an unconfessed sin.” Notice the first part of the verse:

Proverbs 21:

27 The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination…

The word sacrifice is the word that describes an offering that is brought to God—a burnt offering. The wicked brings a burnt offering to the Lord and He says, as we learned from another passage of Scripture, “It is an abomination to God.” God detests anything that an unsaved man tries to do for him. Will you remember that? He detests anything that an unsaved man tries to do for Him. In this passage of Scripture, He says, “How much more does God detest it when the unsaved man brings the sacrifice with a wicked intention, with unconfessed sin in his heart and in his mind.”

That last thought provokes me to suggest to you that perhaps we who are believers, who try to act as though we are in fellowship when we have unconfessed sin in our lives, must be an abomination to God, too. He must detest and loathe the very thought that believers are tolerating unconfessed sin in their lives and yet trying to act as though they have all the fellowship in the world with God.

Good Intentions of the Wicked are an Abomination

I would like for you to turn back to the passages of Scripture at which we looked, which deal with the word wicked , and notice one or two things about them that need to be brought to our attention because we just looked at the verses from the standpoint of the word wicked . Turn back to chapter 15, verse 26:

Proverbs 15:

26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD…

I would like for you to notice that word thoughts . It comes from a very long Hebrew word machashabah . This word machashabah is translated by the word intention , by the word, plan . In most instances it refers to a good intention or a good plan.

If you keep that thought in mind you see the significance of the verse: “The good intentions of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD…” “The good thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD…” There are any number of wicked people who are doing what society calls good things . They are building hospitals, building schools, doing any number of social acts of kindness, and God says that they are an abomination to Him.

It may be difficult for us to understand how this could be true, but the answer is found in the fact that when a person ignores God's first offer, the offer of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, then nothing is pleasing in His sight. Notice, chapter 15, verses 8-9:

Proverbs 15:

8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
9 The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.

Ways of the Wicked are an Abomination

I would like to suggest to you that the word way comes from the Hebrew word derek , which may be translated by the phrase, the manner of life . The way that the wicked live is an abomination to the Lord. The individual who is unsaved who falls into the class of the wicked may say that it doesn't make any difference what he does and it doesn't make any difference how he lives. God says, “I detest it. I loathe it, and I hate it.”

A False Balance is an Abomination

I wonder, though I think we need to guard against intolerance, if God feels this way about so many things, how it is that you and I can look with such tolerance upon things which God detests. We are talking about that which is an abomination to the Lord, and we presented to you those proverbs that deal with the kind of people who are an abomination to the Lord. Now we would like to present something else that is an abomination to the Lord. We would like for you to turn to Proverbs, chapter 11, and notice verse 1, as I suggest to you that just as some people are an abomination to the Lord, some things are an abomination to the Lord. One of those things is mentioned in verse 1:

Proverbs 11:

1 A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.

Along with the matter of a false balance, we call to your attention in chapter 20, verse 23, something else that is an abomination to the Lord in relation to things:

Proverbs 20:

23 Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.

Divers Measures are an Abomination

In addition to the matter of false balances and divers weights, there is the matter in verse 10 of divers measures as well. Notice:

Proverbs 20:

10 Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.

When we speak of false balances we are talking about the scales or inaccurate weights. When we are talking about divers weights and divers measures, we are talking about a practice which was condemned in the book of Deuteronomy and in the life of the nation of Israel as far along as the life of the prophet Micah—the business of carrying two weights and two measures in a bag. The Amplified Bible , translators have caught the idea when it puts in parenthesis, in relation to these verses, the phrase, “one for buying and one for selling.” You see, the merchant would have two weights in his bag. When he wanted to buy something, he used the light weight because whatever he bought wouldn't cost him so much; but when he was selling something, he used the heavy weight because he could charge a bigger price.

This was hypocrisy and God warned against it in the book of Deuteronomy in the law of God, saying that it must not be tolerated among the people of God (Deuteronomy 25:13), and way over in the life of Micah, recorded in Micah, chapter 6, verses 10-11, God said:

Micah 6:

10 Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable?
11 Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?

God is saying, “How can I bless a people who are still following the practice of divers weights and divers measures?”

You and I may never be engaged in the buying or selling trade, but I wonder if we do not carry about with us divers weights and divers measures. We have one attitude for one kind of people and another attitude for another kind of people because we seek our own advantage.

Lying Lips are an Abomination

There is another thing that God hates, another thing that is an abomination to Him, and it is brought to our attention in chapter 12, verse 22:

Proverbs 12:

22 Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.

Time would not permit us to talk to you about all the various ways that lying lips are used, but there are two ways mentioned in this portion of the book of Proverbs that we probably should call to your attention, so would you turn to chapter 10, and notice verse 18:

Proverbs 10:

18 He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.

A lot of people hide hatred with lying lips. Hatred may be too strong a word to use in relation to a number of believers because you might say, “Well, I don't really hate anybody,” but you dislike a lot of people, don't you? Oftentimes, we as believers are very insincere in this matter of dislike. We use our lying lips to hide it. To keep from showing our dislike, we lie about it and act like we like people that we don't. God said that such an activity is an abomination to Him.

Turn over to chapter 21, and notice verse 6. This is another very common way of using lying lips. Notice:

Proverbs 21:

6 The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.

A lot of folk use lying lips to get rich, and the Holy Spirit ministers the truth where He will.

Wrong Attitudes are an Abomination

There is another thing that God hates, that is an abomination to Him, which is presented in this portion of the Word. I have labeled it wrong attitudes . Turn, please, to chapter 17, verse 15:

Proverbs 17:

15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.

Two things are an abomination to the Lord. They are different. One of them is expressed in the words, “He that justifieth the wicked…” Here is a man who is doing wrong, and people go out of their way to justify his wrong doing. That is an abomination to the Lord. He detests it. He hates it.

Here is an individual who is doing right. He is doing what is just, and individuals go out of their way to condemn him. This is an abomination to the Lord. I never read this particular passage of Scripture without being reminded of the problems that we are facing today in our judicial system. It seems that the day has come when the wicked are justified and the just are condemned, and we are not greatly concerned about it. God says that it is an abomination to Him. He hates it; He detests it; He loathes it; and He cannot put His stamp of approval upon it.

When we began our discussion we suggested to you that we were going to think with you about the things which were an abomination and a delight. We have thought up to this point about the things which are an abomination. In the second portion, chapter 16 through chapter 22, the truths are presented in corresponding statements, not contrasting statements, so we have just a few verses to consider which are going to present to us those things which are a delight to the Lord.

People Who are a Delight

First, in relation to the subject of people, in chapter 11, verse 20, we read that people who are upright in their way are a delight to the Lord. A modern translation puts it: “Those who are blameless and wholehearted are a delight to the LORD.”

In chapter 15, verse 9, we read that the individual who follows after righteousness is a delight to the Lord.

In chapter 12, verse 22, we read: “They that deal truly are a delight to the LORD.”

Keep these things in mind and discover that which pleases the Lord and that which pleases Him not, and ask God for the grace that is necessary to be the kind of people you need to be.

Things Which are a Delight

A word about things which are a delight to the Lord. In Proverbs, chapter 11, verse 1, we read:

Proverbs 11:

1 …a just weight is his delight.

A just weight is His delight in contrast to a false balance. Then in chapter 15, verse 26, we read that the words of the just are a delight to the Lord instead of the good intentions and the good plans of the wicked.

In chapter 15, verse 8, we see that the prayer of the upright is a delight to the Lord, but the sacrifice of the wicked is displeasing to God.

I wonder if you have ever stopped to consider before that your prayer pleases the Lord. I wonder if you have ever stopped to consider that He delights to hear your voice in prayer. So often we get the idea that the only reason we pray is to ask for something. How many times have you had a conversation with someone on the phone from whom you have not heard in some time, and you close the conversation by saying, “Oh, it is so good to hear your voice.” You mean that. You enjoyed the conversation. I want to suggest to you that the Lord enjoys conversations with us. The prayer of the upright is indeed a delight.

Summary of Abominations and Delights

I want to summarize all that I have said in relation to that which is an abomination and that which is a delight by asking you to turn in your Bibles to Proverbs, chapter 16, verse 7, because in this verse you have a marvelous truth presented in relation to pleasing the Lord. Notice:

Proverbs 16:

7 When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Notice that word please ? It is the same word as the word delight everywhere we have looked in this discussion. What is this verse of Scripture saying? “When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” The word even suggests the depth of the statement. When the ways of a man please the Lord, things are going to go right. Why, He will make even your enemies to be at peace with you.

If we were using New Testament language we would say that when a man is walking in the light, when a man is in fellowship, things are going well. When a man is out of fellowship, things don't go very well. When a man is in fellowship, God will make even your enemies be at peace with you.

I want to emphasize that because I want to suggest to you that when sometimes we feel like certain individuals are awfully hard to get along with, the trouble may not be with them. It may be with us. We may be out of fellowship and are not conscious of it. We may be doing something that isn't pleasing to the Lord, and because this is true, we make enemies. We blame the enemy instead of looking for the trouble with ourselves.

Husbands and wives sometimes have trouble because one or the other of them is out of fellowship. Parents and children have trouble quite often because one of the other is out of fellowship. Parents, I want to say that quite often it is the parents who are out of fellowship, not the children.

Conclusion

When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. My suggestion is that if things are not going as well for you as you would like for them to go, before you blame it on everything and everybody, get alone with the Lord and see if there is something in your life which may be an abomination to God. Confess it. Get it under the blood. Accept the forgiveness of God, and then ask Him to direct your footsteps.


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