God’s DETEST List

Proverbs 14-16


Wednesday, January 25

A phrase that is repeated numerous times in the Proverbs is “The Lord detests…”  It’s not just, “God doesn’t really like it very much when we ….”.   No, The Lord DETESTS!  I for one want to be far, far, far away from God’s DETEST List.  Sounds like we need some more information to know what to avoid.

— 15:8 – The Lord DETESTS the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him.
— 15:9 – The Lord DETESTS the way of the wicked, but he loves those who pursue righteousness.
— 15:26 – The Lord DETESTS the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him.
— 16:5 – The Lord DETESTS all the proud of heart.  Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

My heart sinks.   Wasn’t it just yesterday I said my PRIDE leads me to believe I am usually right.  Perhaps I am inching closer to that Detest List than I would like to admit.  And, the dangers don’t end there – there are numerous other “The Lord DETESTS” throughout the Proverbs: haughty eyes, lying tongue, hands that shed blood, a scheming heart, feet rushing to evil, a false witness, a man stirring up dissension (6:16-19), perverse hearts (11:20), acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent (17:15), and dishonest scales (20:23).  We are so comfortable with the warm and fuzzy “God of Love”, that we sometimes prefer to forget about the Lord DETESTS list.  So, while we are spending some time evaluating our mouth this week, let’s also examine our heart and deeds and attitudes and thoughts.  May we not become like the Pharisees, so proud of our “righteousness” that we lose sight of God and His many-faceted and always right –  love AND judgment.
Dear God – Help me to see myself clearly, as You see me.   Help me to grow in my understanding of You and what You desire of me.   Help me steer clear of ALL that is on your DETEST list and seek to please you always.

And, speaking of pleasing God . . . here’s just a sampling of some more great lessons from these 3 chapters of Proverbs . . .

On our Attitude

  • “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” (14:30)
  • “All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.  Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil.” (15:15,16)

Contentment with what you have and what comes your way.  It is well with my soul – even if I don’t have what others do or what I thought I wanted.  Enjoy the feast before you – whatever it may be.

On Patience vs. Temper  –

  • “Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city” (16:32)
  • “A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel” (15:18)
  • “A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly” (14:29)
  • “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (15:1)

Watching our mouth is so much easier when we learn to think before speaking.  Slow down, simmer down – it will save you, and others, a lot of grief.

On Helping the Needy –

  • “He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.” (14:21)
  • “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” (14:31)

How can you honor God this week with an act of kindness to the needy?
God Bless You as You Seek Him,

Marcia Railton


(Photo credit: photo by Bob Smerecki, found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/snapnpiks0304/10636599685)

The Full Gamut

Psalm 79-84


Sunday, January 8

In one of my favorite books, one character is shocked that someone could feel so much emotion at the same time. This leads him to say “One person can’t feel all that at once, they’d explode.” This comment makes his friend (a girl), chidingly reply “Just because you’ve got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have”.
At certain times or in certain churches, it feels like there is only one acceptable way to come to God, only one emotion that is allowable before the Almighty. There was a Baptist church that I visited in South Carolina that was grim and dark and full of hellfire preaching. It seemed that they believed only sorrow and repentance were acceptable before God. Other churches demand happiness, chipper-ness, cheerfulness; no matter what are your actual day-to-day circumstances, put on a smile (or else).
However, God doesn’t demand that from his people. As you read today’s reading, you will be greeted by the soaring highs of Psalm 81 (v1 “Sing for joy…shout in triumph”) and 84 (v12 “Happy is the person who trusts in You, Lord of Hosts!”). Approaching God with joy and shouting is something God admires and inspires. But this is not the only way the authors write these psalms. Psalm 79:5 reads “How long, Yahweh? Will You be angry forever? Will Your jealousy keep burning like fire?” These words are full of sorrow and pleading. It is what the broken, the hurt, the oppressed cry out to God, and it is in the inspired writing of the Psalms. But the very next verses give us EVEN more emotions, namely anger. “Pour out Your wrath on the nations that don’t acknowledge You,” because they have devastated your people. Normally we think anger is wrong; no ifs, ands, or buts. However, the inspired author is allowing his anger at the unjust system of the world, the anger at the sins that people do to one another, to be expressed to God.
If you are always happy, awesome! I’m usually a pretty happy guy myself. But if you experience emotion like a human, and if you experience some right side-by-side, the psalms provide avenues to express yourself to God and prove that you are not alone. God doesn’t demand that you come to him in only one particular way. Instead, he invites you to come as you are.
-Jake Ballard
Jake Ballard is a pastor of Pine Grove Bible Church in Brooklyn Park, MN, where he lives with his wife, Amber and daughter, Melody Grace. He is a gamer (board, card, video, etc.), a geek (currently watch Star Trek: Deep Space 9) and a student. He is in his third year studying to receive his Master’s of Divinity at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, which he hopes to complete in May 2018. For questions, comments or game or show recommendations, contact him at  jakea.ballard@yahoo.com.
(Psalm 80 photo credit: http://www.alittleperspective.com/psalm-80-reverse-parallelism/)
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