Joseph K Stephen
December 2002-December 2004
My dear brethren when I am convicted to prepare a message it is always a task I approach with great caution, trepidation and awe as I seek to know the mind of the Lord for myself and my hearers. There is a danger to simply dig up what another brother has written or revamp a message given in time past and while at times this may be appropriate we must ever seek to grow in our knowledge of the Lord and not stagnate in our understanding of His precious truths.
It was my wife who set me on this particular scriptural journey as her investigation into a somewhat unpopular topic of appropriate women’s attire very much convicted me. We often look into the Word of God to seek comfort or encouragement but rarely these days do we seek to find things about ourselves which we are comfortable with and test them in the light of the Word of God even though we claim to love Him and want His will in our life. Surely as His children we aught though to seek to know His will and more importantly seek to do it. Let me stress now that the subject I plan to expound is in no wise designed to bring anyone under law or legalism. It is abundantly clear from the mouth of God that we are saved by grace through faith and not by the deeds of the law. I’ve heard many Christians argue though that since we are saved by grace through faith, that any act of obedience afterward is thus not essential.
My wife and I are obviously married. We are married regardless of what our relationship is like. We could live together and never consider each other’s feelings, wishes or thoughts. We would still be married. We could live together and never talk to one another. What kind of marriage would that be? Well, it wouldn’t be one would it? I personally believe that by the nature of our relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ, with Him as Lord and us as His subjects it is impossible to live in such a relationship and never consider His will just as it is absurd for a married couple to live with each other and never consider each other, talk to each other, submit to each other etc. It is absurd to come to the Lord of glory with our sin laden heart, confess Him with our mouth as Lord and then say it doesn’t matter how we live since we are under grace.
Several weeks ago we looked at what God says about Himself in the Bible. Today, with the aim of encouraging our spiritual growth and relationship with our Lord and Saviour I’d like to look at what God loves and what He hates, abhors or calls an abomination. Surely this is one of the first things we do in our relationships on earth that we knowingly may not offend each other. So too, in our relationship with God there should be a questioning of what He loves and hates that His mind may be our mind that we offend Him not and indeed begin to see eternity and this life from His perspective. We may say, what a trivial subject, He hates sin and loves righteousness! True, but how general and non-specific. When we find out what our wife likes, or indeed what she dislikes, we interrogate in fine detail that we don’t buy the wrong thing. We take time to know her heart (or we should). Surely our eternal Lord and Saviour deserves even more attention. All human logic aside, let us delve into the scriptures to hear what they have to say.
So, the journey begins. What does God say He hates? The words abomination, hate and abhor are very strong words and the Lord doesn’t use them too often so when He does surely they are significant!
Blemished or corrupted sacrifice
Deuteronomy 17:1 Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD thy God any bullock, or sheep, wherein is blemish, or any evilfavouredness: for that is an abomination unto the LORD thy God.
While this obviously had specific relevance to the Jews and while the Lord Jesus Christ is our perfect sacrifice, surely the sacrifice we offer, the fruit of our lips, the gifts of our time, selves, finances and lives, must be without corruptness. What kinds of corruptness would cause our sacrifice to be blemished? Pride, wrong motives, dishonest gain (in the case of money), …
Sacrifice procured from sin
Deuteronomy 23:18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
Whatever we sacrifice to God must have been procured in an honest and legal way and must not be procured by sinful means. (It is also interesting to note the lowest ranking of animals given to dogs. Today they are elevated to positions higher than children, often families have a pet dog but no children. This is so against what God thinks of dogs and what He thinks of children, see separate article called Decline of the Assembly – Where Are the Children.)
10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
One of Satan’s modern tricks is to make witchcraft and other abominations more palatable. He uses the boiling the fish approach to slowly but surely make people accept such abominations. Slowly slowly the boundaries are moved outward. First so-called harmless tricks to amuse children, then we call it magic, we call it anything but witchcraft! So many of the games, toys, television shows, etc are based on out right black magic but they are cleverly disguised like sugar coated death drops. Oh my brethren we need to be on our guard against the abominations which Satan so cleverly disguises.
Cross Dressing and Blurring of the Distinction between Men and Women
Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
This one was an issue for me and as I said in the beginning, my wife’s personal search to resolve this issue was very convicting! We all accept that men wearing women’s clothing is wrong but it won’t be long and it will be perfectly acceptable. It is already totally acceptable that a woman wears men’s clothing. Many women wear men’s clothing without thinking about it but there was a time not long ago that all women knew it was wrong. These days many don’t know it is wrong because it is so widely accepted. Let me ask each of us, if murder was widely accepted as the solution to a dispute, would it make it any less abhorrent? Cohabitation is now widely accepted but does it make fornication right because it is widely accepted? The Feminist movement was a revolt against mans’ abuse of his role and misuse of his position in God’s order. When man ignored God’s order, abused women and made the help meet given him by God a lower being, women revolted and went to such an extreme to be as men. The issues of women in the workforce, in politics, dressing, etc etc today is all a result of an extreme revolt due to man abusing his responsibilities. Nevertheless, women of God and men of God must not be so. We must solemnly consider what God says is right and wrong. We must determine and fulfill the roles God designed us to fulfill and not covet each other’s roles. Our absolute guide to fulfilling our God given roles must be His word and not man’s opinion or the current tide of popular opinion. While at first glance the topic of dress may seem ambiguous, closer investigation into the origin of today’s fashions will soon make the truth plain enough. One may argue that the origin of today’s fashion was a long time ago and most people don’t even know it. The origin of sin also was a long time ago but does any length of time lessen its wrongness? While we are under grace, God’s standard is still His standard and what He called an abomination in the time of Moses He still calls an abomination. Abomination is a strong word so let us all consider these verses carefully.
Carved Images which are Worshiped
Deuteronomy 27:15 Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.
Deuteronomy 7:25 The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God.
Adoration of any object or person above the Lord is idolatry. Some idolize their car, their house, their garden, their jewelry, their work, a sports team, their television, etc. To avoid the snare of an idol we should remove it from our lives as the children of Israel were to burn theirs.
The Way of the Wicked or Froward
Proverbs 15:9 The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.
Proverbs 3:32 For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous.
A False Balance
Proverbs 20:23 Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.
In this day of digital scales etc, we don’t see a false balance as described here but the principle is clear, fairness and honesty. We can demonstrate the principle of a false balance at work by wasting time for which we are paid to work when no-one is watching. We can demonstrate a false balance by favouring one of our children above another, or giving the impression that something is equal when it is not.
Employing Worldly Methods in Worship or Enforcing Unscriptural Principles
29 When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land;
30 Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.
31 Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.
32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
While the above verses had a specific relevance to the Jews, the principle is obvious, ie “Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them”, “enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods?” and “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” In many circles of fellowship, believers employ worldly methods, ie methods used by worldly organizations or businesses to entice, which are known to excite and draw people, in the hope of increasing numbers and people’s interest in worship. Not only can we employ worldly methods to entice, we can make unscriptural lists of things which people must adhere to be part of our fellowship. Let us not add to or subtract from the Word of God and where a principle seems open to interpretation, let us pray for wisdom, discuss with honesty and with the intent of knowing the mind of god rather than pushing a traditional view which has been passed down by someone else. Even if the person who passed such a tradition down is very Godly, nothing but the Word of God itself is infallible.
16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
He that Justifieth the Wicked
Proverbs 17:15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.
Amos 5:21 I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.
While this was particularly true of the Jews, there are many professors who claim to love God with their lips but their hearts’ are far from God. Let us always be diligent to find and restore our first love lest we just go through the motions of worship with no heart conviction.
Imagining Evil Against our Neighbour
Zechariah 8:17 And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD.
Revelation 2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
In Summary, the Lord abhors:
· Blemished or corrupted sacrifice.
· Sacrifice procured from sin
· Cross dressing
· Carved images which are worshiped
· The way of the wicked or froward
· A false balance
· Employing worldly methods in worship or enforcing unscriptural principles
· Shedding innocent blood
· A heart that devises wicked schemes
· Pursuit of mischief
· A false witness
· He that soweth discord among brethren
· He that justifieth the wicked
· False doctrine
Now let us consider what God delights in.
Lovingkindness, Righteousness and Judgment
Psalm 11:7 For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.
24But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
Deuteronomy 7:13 And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
Deuteronomy 10:15 Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.
Zechariah 2:8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.
Jeremiah 31:35-37 Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name:
36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.
Many Christians think that the church has replaced Israel and that God has discarded them. The above verses show that this is not true and will never be true. Israel was and still is and always will be the Apple of His Eye. Do we also love Israel and pray for its peace?
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
God does love the world and the sinner but that love will not allow a sinner into heaven unless the sinner repents and believes in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This love does not mean universal salvation. It does however mean open arms to the repentant and faith demonstrating sinner.
Truth and Justice
Proverbs 11:1 A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.
Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.
Those Who Keep His Commandments
Psalm 16:3 But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.
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.
John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
John 16:27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
1John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
A Cheerful Giver
2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
Matthew 17:5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
Luke 3:22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
John 3:35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.
John 5:20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.
John 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
I started off this article by asking if we have ever considered what God loves and what He hates in order to live a life pleasing to Him. It is fit thus to finish by reminding us of the things that God loves and by asking each of us whether we love what He loves? Do we love righteousness and judgment? Do we love honesty and justice above persona and charisma? Do we love the sinner enough to live differently and are we ready to share the hope within us? Do we love all those who diligently keep His Word at the expense of popularity and praise of men? Do we love Israel? Do we love His beloved Son? Is His Son beloved to us above all?
In Summary, the Lord Loves:
· Righteousness and judgment
· The nation of Israel
· The world/sinners (enough to die for)
· Truth and justice
· Those who keep His commandments
· A cheerful giver
· His Son (The Lord Jesus)