“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16–19 ESV).
One who sows discord among brothers
Here how The Message version of this passage begins, “Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion” (Proverbs 6:16 MSG). Which one does he especially loathe? One who sows discord.
This is an agricultural example. Sowing is planting seeds. Here is where sowing illustrates a good point with disunity. When you drive by a field of corn, do you know who planted the seeds? No. All you see is the effect.
Disunity is like that. You may not personally see the shifting feet or hear the malcontent speak, but the effect is obvious. Mysteriously it would seem, squabbles and quarrels erupt. People that used to like each other no longer trust each other. Where there had been oneness and unity, now people are looking at each other with a jaundiced eye. One of my favorite and nearly inspired quotes that I say around the office is, all is yellow to the jaundiced eye. Once people get a jaundiced eye toward someone, now everything about them is yellow. Things that before were tolerated are now intolerable. People who were trustworthy, are now suspect. What was viewed positively, is now viewed negatively. All because somebody with shifting feet and an evil heart whispered something.
- “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:28 ESV).
- “Whoever winks his eyes plans dishonest things; he who purses his lips brings evil to pass” (Proverbs 16:30).
- “The scoundrel is someone who works to undermine social and personal relationships for his own benefit” (Garret).
- “The chief of all that God hates is he who takes a fiendish delight in setting at variance men who stand nearly related” (Keil and Delitzch).
That is the surprising discovery for me this week studying it. I thought this would be a summary of seven things God hates. In reality, it’s six things we already know God hates and one thing God really, really hates.
Why? Why does God hate divisive people so much? Because he is a Tri-unity. Remember what Jesus prayed in his high priestly prayer in John 17, “And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:11). Jesus longs for unity in the church, a oneness that reflects the oneness in the Trinity. The glue for this is love. Love and unity are the opposite of hatred.
Here is a portion of Psalm 133, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!” (Psalm 133:1–2) Oil is a sign of blessing. How good it is when we love unity so much that we hate discord and those who sow those seeds.
I think we all agree with this in principle, but how many of us love unity enough to shut down the person who says, “Did you hear?” What? Now their feet begin to shift. Their finger begins to point. This could be a friend; it likely is. It’s not a stranger. Likely a family member.
“But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned” (Titus 3:9–11).
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Additional Scripture quotations taken from The Message, Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson.
© 2021 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
 Duane A. Garrett, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing, 1993) 97.
 Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Vol. 6 (Minneapolis, University of Minnesota, 1966) 149.
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