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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Abomination

Are you familiar with this word, "abomination?" Perhaps now it is an older word and not much used today. The word is used in reference to something extremely disgusting--so disgusting in fact, that one would put distance between himself or herself and whatever the abomination is. That which makes you jump up and run into the other room might be considered an "abomination." We've all seen the videos of people jumping up, running and screaming from dead rats (fake or otherwise) bugs, or just being scared in general. This is the idea that something is so horrendous, one flees the scene.

Perhaps we would not jump up and run from these things, but consider our reaction to certain people or situations. We will not tolerate cheating either in business or in board games. What is your reaction to a business that steals from its customers, or treats its employees unfairly? We would avoid that business, and perhaps report to some authority regarding unethical business practices. Abomination!

Ask any girl her thoughts about boys who tell lies and she will get up on a soap box and preach the perils of one who lies to her. Not to mention what would happen if he cheats or steals from her. Not tolerable. Abomination! And what about those crooked politicians? "ABOMINATION!"

Have you ever thought about what disgusts God? What does God consider as being so gross, so disgusting, an "abomination?" Would you be surprised to learn that the things that disgust Him are also the things we will not tolerate in others?

There are six, no, seven things that disgust God listed in Proverbs 6:19, the first being "the proud." Another proverb underscores the seriousness of this position, "everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; assuredly he will not be unpunished" (16:5). Next are the liars. "Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal faithfully are His delight" (12:22). Interestingly, liars are mentioned twice in this list. God takes tellers of untruth very seriously.

Murderers, people who plan wickedness and the wicked plans of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD. "Evil plans are an abomination to the LORD, but pleasant words are pure" (15:26). God connects both lying (a third mention) and wickedness together when He says, "For my mouth will utter truth; and wickedness is an abomination to the LORD." (Proverbs 8:7). This could not be plainer than, "the way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but He loves him who pursues righteousness." (Proverbs 15:9).

The other night I was waiting in the car with my granddaughter while my wife quickly ran into the store. The parking place I chose was directly between the store my wife wanted to visit, and a liquor store. Outside OUR store (not the liquor store--let me be clear) sat a lady with a table of donuts she was selling as a church program fund-raiser. I could not help but notice that, from time to time, someone would leave the liquor store and would walk over to the church-lady and give her a dollar. They did not give the $7.00 for the suggested donation for the box of donuts, but $1.00 for the church--a "sacrifice" of sorts.

Here is what God thinks: "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD; but the prayer of the upright is His delight." (Proverbs 15:8) God does not approve. Also, "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with evil intent." (21:27). ”He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination" (Proverbs 28:9). God sees through the motive. God cannot be bribed.

How do you feel knowing that a sex offender might live in your neighborhood? "The perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD, but the blameless in their walk are His delight." (Proverbs 11:20)

God finds a false balance to be an abomination; in other words, cheating in business is despicable to God. "A false balance is an abomination to the LORD; but a just weight is His delight." (Proverbs 11:1). "Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the LORD." (20:10) In case we miss the point, then observe, "Unequal weights are an abomination to the LORD, and false scales are not good." (20:23) The reason why this is repeated so often is because cheating in business requires that one lie and steal from customers.

The subject of racism is usually peppered with thoughts about hatred. We strive after harmony and want to abolish hatred. God equates hatred with murder as much a lying. "He who hates disguises it with his lips, but he lays up deceit in his heart. When he speaks graciously, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart" (26:25). Hatred, lying and murder go together.

Finally, those who intentionally run into evil and the one who starts fights disgust God.
How you do feel about someone in office who lies, steals, commits adultery, starts wars, etc.? Here is what God thinks: "It is an abomination to kings to do evil, for the throne is established by righteousness." (Proverbs 16:12). Do you know what a "crook" is? A crook is someone who commits or has been convicted of a crime. "For the crooked man is an abomination to the LORD; but He is intimate with the upright." (Proverbs 3:32). Fill out a job application and pay attention to that question, "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" Why is that question there? Consider your own reaction when you find out that someone moves into your neighborhood who was just released from prison. All alerts are on because that person is percieved to be not trustworthy.

We will close the list with a most interesting situation. First, read through this one slowly: "The devising of folly is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to men." (Proverbs 24:9). Did you catch that? The one who lacks sense to continually and intentionally commit lawlessness through mockery is disgusting to other men. Have you ever broken the law? How many lies do you think you've told? Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever been so angry with someone you wished they were dead?

What are your thoughts at this point, now that you understand how God sees the heart? Is evil so appalling to you that you are ready to be separated from it? "Desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools" (Proverbs 13:19)

Perhaps you have heard that God forgives sin. If you ask God, will He simply just forgive? The Bible teaches that God cannot let the wicked go, that God simply cannot "just forgive" and here is why: "He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD" (Proverbs 17:15). God has seen our sin and cannot simply "just forgive." He cannot let the wicked go. God cannot look at a sinner and say that person is righteous.

God stepped into time and space and lived a perfect life. He did nothing that would be considered an abomination. He never lied. He never stole. He never looked with lust. He never hated anyone. He was perfect. So why did He die on the cross? There are two reasons and the first is this: "An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous, and he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicked" (Proverbs 29:27). The world cannot tolerate the upright. Long before Jesus was ever born, Plato said that if a person came along who did nothing wrong, he would be dragged outside the city and killed. This is what happened to Jesus.

The other reason Jesus died on the cross is this: to satisfy the justice of God. He paid the penalty for sin. He took our abominations on Himself that we could be declared un-abominable. This exchange is not automatic, but requires that we first agree with how God sees our heart. We must repent, turn from our sin and put our faith and trust in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. This way we can be forgiven and cleansed from everything that God finds disgusting. Repentance by faith in Christ Jesus is the only way God can declare the wicked person righteous.

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