Things that Make God Angry – Exploring the Passages

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. According to Proverbs 6:16-19 (printed below), what are some of the things God hates and that are detestable to His soul?

There are six things that Jehovah hates; indeed, seven things that are detestable to him: (17) haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, (18) a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are swift in running to mischief, (19) a false witness who utters lies, and a man who sows discord among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19)

Listed among the things God hates and that are detestable to His soul are “haughty eyes”—a look and expression that conveys arrogant pride and contempt for others. Also numbered among the six, indeed, seven things the Lord hates we find “a lying tongue”—the practice of deceit; resorting to deceit for personal advancement or as a effort to escape the painful consequences of sinful or irresponsible conduct. Also found in this list of abominations is “a heart that devises wicked schemes.” Another form of conduct found among those actions and attitudes that are detestable to the Lord is “feet that are swift in running to mischief”—i.e.; a fascination with mischief, a strong desire to witness calamity, as is seen by those who run to witness a riot or a brawl. Proverbs 6:16-19 also makes mention of “a false witness”—the use of deceit to oppose righteousness and pervert justice (cp. Zechariah 8:16-17). Yet another form of conduct included in the list is the man “who sows discord among brothers”—most detestable of all to the Lord is the one who goes about the devilish work of purposely disrupting unity and seeking to create divisions among brothers. In other words, among those who are at peace with one another.

2. How does Proverbs 15:9 (printed below) describe the Lord’s reaction to the wicked and the righteous respectively?

The way of the wicked is detestable to Jehovah; but he loves those who follow righteousness. (Proverbs 15:9)

The proverb literally reads, “Detestable to Jehovah is the way of the wicked.” The word “detestable” is placed at the head of the sentence for emphasis. So often we fail to appreciate how morally repulsive and intolerable sin is in the sight of our holy God. Conversely, the Lord loves those who follow righteousness, for their lives are in harmony with the Lord’s own heart and will.

3. What does Proverbs 11:1 and Proverbs 20:10 (both printed below) tell us about God’s attitude towards unscrupulous business practices?

A dishonest scale is detestable to Jehovah, but a just weight is his delight. (Proverbs 11:1)

Differing weights and differing measures—both of them are detestable to Jehovah. (Proverbs 20:10)

“Differing weights and differing measures” refer to the practice of using two different sets of measurements: the dealer would employ the heavy set when he was buying (so as to gain a greater quantity) and the light set when he was selling (so as to give the purchaser a lesser quantity). These proverbs remind us that there is no part of life that is exempt from the concern and the lordship of Christ: there can be no division of life into the religious and the secular. When the Lord beholds unscrupulous, unjust, deceitful practices—lying to a client, cheating at school, stealing from an employer—He regards them as a detestable offense against His own moral integrity and His righteous standard of justice.

4. What does Proverbs 17:15 (printed below) tell us about God’s attitude towards injustice?

He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous—both of them are detestable to Jehovah. (Proverbs 17:15)

This proverb is speaking about a total inversion of justice, a total disregard for righteousness. By way of example, consider the case of Ahab and Naboth, where the wicked queen Jezebel coerced the leaders of the community to abuse the justice system by bringing false accusations against Naboth so that he might be executed and his prize vineyard might be taken over by king Ahab who coveted it (1 Kings 21:8-11). The disregard of righteousness, the perversion of justice—whether on a national level or in our own personal lives—is detestable to the Lord and shall not go unpunished (note Isaiah 5:24-25a).

5. According to Proverbs 28:9 (printed below), how does God view the prayers of those who disregard His moral law?

He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, surely his prayer is detestable. (Proverbs 28:9)

The point of this proverb simply stated is this: if you are unwilling to listen to the Lord, He is unwilling to listen to your prayers. If you dismiss God’s holiness and majesty and lordship, merely seeking to use God to meet your needs, to acquire your desires, to gain your objectives, God will view such prayer as an abomination. To offer up worship unto God without a life of devotion is detestable to the Lord (note 1 Samuel 15:22-23a)