The subject of hatred is a major theme in the Word of God. And some might be surprised to learn the perspective from which God approaches this theme. For many seem to believe (or, perhaps, want to believe) that when they have pronounced the biblical truth that “God is love” they have expressed all that there is to say on the subject. Like someone waving a flyswatter at a swarm of pesky flies, they brandish that declaration in hopes of denying or avoiding any judgment upon sin. Man is depraved. But God is love (SWAT), they respond. Man is sinful. But God is love (SWAT), they reply. Man is rebellious. But God is love (SWAT), they demur. But they cannot drive the swarming pests away. A loving God absolutely must judge and put away sin in one way or another wherever it crops up. For the reality is that genuine love demands genuine hatred. Any person who truly loves his spouse will hate anything that might harm that marital relationship. Any parent who truly loves his child will hate anything that might injure that child. God must hate all that opposes the full expression of that love. That there is much, then, that a loving God must and does hate is a given. But below is a partial catalogue of things that God specifically identifies as objects of His hatred.
God hates idolaters. Whether idolaters can be said to be first on His list, I won’t say. But God certainly mentions the sin of idolatry and idolaters with great frequency and genuine fury. “And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you” (Lev. 26:30). Few, if any, of us or those in our circle of acquaintance actually bow down to physical idols made of wood, stone, or some precious metal. Nevertheless, idols often abound in the lives of believers and unbelievers. The things that take precedence in our lives, that determine our priorities, or that occupy our time, energy, and thoughts above God are idols. God is love, but He will brook no rival.
God hates lying. It is interesting, is it not, that when someone is forced to acknowledge sin, it is often the sin of lying that he mentions, as though the acknowledgement of such a small thing is magnanimous, an evidence of humility? Yet how frequently the reality of the sin is dismissed with “It’s only a little white lie.” God sees nothing “little” or “white” about a lie. Solomon records a list of seven things the Lord hates, and the sin of lying is featured in two of them: “a lying tongue,” and “a false witness that speaketh lies” (Pro. 6:17b, 19a). Small wonder many want to use “God is love” like a mantra in an attempt to dispel the reality of sin, its heinous nature before God, and the certainty of its dread consequences.
God hates pride. Contrary to the opinions of many modern preachers, who have been influenced by pop psychology, self-esteem is neither righteous nor the evidence of a healthy psyche. The Lord, who made man and understands His soul declares, “pride, and arrogancy . . . do I hate” (Pro. 8:13). Self-righteousness coupled with a vain sense of self-worth may stand someone in good stead with many religious movers and shakers today, but God hates it. “A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psa. 51:17).
God hates mere religion. God had commanded His people to keep seven feasts. But when those feasts and the attendant offerings became mere form without any heart-obedience, the Lord told them, “I hate, I despise your feast days” (Amos 5:21). God loves righteousness, reverence, faith, obedience, and genuine worship. He despises religious form.
This list could be greatly extended. But it is sufficient to illustrate that there is much that God hates—and says so unequivocally. A sinner, a rebel, even a disobedient believer should take no false comfort in the fact that God is love. Because God is love, He judges sin since sin is only harmful. And He will judge those who reject Him. But because God is love, He will save those who turn to Him. May that be said of all of us.
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