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  • Dr. Stieglitz

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 15:9

Proverbs 15:9

"The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but He loves one who pursues righteousness."

The way of the wicked is how the wicked live their life. It is a pathway of continual selfishness and twisting of opportunities to provide the selfish desires of the wicked.

Remember that the wicked live outside of the boundaries of the Ten Commandments, not even making an attempt to get back within the moral boundaries of the commandments. They steal and think nothing of it. They commit adultery and do not care about the families and marriages they destroy. They curse and blaspheme and don't even notice. They lie and can't remember that they did. They verbally, emotionally, and physically abuse people – sometimes even going so far as murder – and just move on as though it were nothing.

The life of the wicked is all about them and the shortest easiest route to accomplish what they want. Consequently, they twist or pervert opportunities to do good for people into selfish opportunities to please themselves. In fact, each week God places in front of all of us opportunities to do good for people. Those who are seeking to please Him will take those opportunities and do the good. Those who are self-absorbed will turn these into opportunities to promote themselves, even at the harm of others.

The word abomination is the Hebrew word toeba and means to loathe, to prostitute, to abhor, to detest. Clearly the word carries an emotional reaction within it. But it is not only an emotional reaction; it is also an ethical and moral reaction.

This verse – along with many others within the Scripture – gives a glimpse into the emotionality of God. God is not just an unmoved mover – the ultimate stoic in the heavens. According to the Bible, He has joy, He grieves, He loathes, He hates, He loves, He laughs. There are a whole host of emotions that the Almighty has and regularly feels. Entering into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ allows us to move into interaction with this emotionality of God.

Ask God how He reacts to or how He feels about things in the news, about your conduct, or the conduct of others. It is this type of prayer time that begins to deepen the relationship. In fact, if you never discuss a person’s emotional reaction to things, one has a very shallow relationship. It is more business than relationship. Realize that in the depth of His being God has emotions. Learn the Scriptures so that you can understand His emotions and so that He can communicate accurately what His emotions are. Do not assume that your emotions or your culture’s emotions to a situation are the same as God's.

Another angle on this idea of God's emotional reaction to the lifestyle: in our day and age secular moralists have embraced a theory of ethics that believes that all morals are nothing more than emotional reactions made into norms. They do not believe that anything is outlawed per se and it is only against morals as long as people have an emotional reaction against it. This theory is being acted upon in some very destructive ways. It is becoming discrimination to declare something immoral because this theory suggests that all immorality is just an emotional reaction. Also, people are suggesting if you just get familiar with what you used to think was abominable, it won't be so emotional for you and you will accept it. Therefore all types of aberrant behaviors are being aired repeatedly to get people used to these lifestyles so that they will not emotionally react against them. This is why television and movies continue to sink to new lows. Morals are more than an emotional reaction to what we are not used to. They are the revealed boundary line for selfish behavior. If selfishness continues past the Ten Commandments, the whole of society begins to suffer. Even within a secular context, morals are not an emotional reaction. They are the place at which individual or corporate selfishness becomes destructive to others or the whole. Something is deemed illegal not because the majority have an emotional reaction against it but because it is a form of selfishness that is destructive to individuals and society.

but He loves one who pursues righteousness

This half of the proverb is extremely rich. It is stated more clearly in the Beatitudes by the Lord Jesus Himself: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be satisfied.

It is interesting that the wicked can have a way and be completely baptized into it. It is their doing successfully of their way that is abominable to the Lord. But the righteous cannot fully ever accomplish perfect righteousness here on earth. All of us are tainted by sin and can, at best, only pursue righteousness. We will never achieve perfect righteousness in a sinful, fallen world. But notice that God loves those who pursue it even though they cannot perfectly apprehend it.

There will always be a measure of selfishness in your life, but God loves and meets the needs of and pursues and pleases those who follow hard after the right way of doing things. The way of righteousness is the way of wisdom. It pursues an "everybody wins" philosophy. It does not go after the "me first" mentality. It wants to promote the common good.

God acts in love to those who pursue righteousness, and He also has a positive emotional reaction when you or I go after the right thing. Don't you want to give pleasure to your God?

Until tomorrow,

Gil Stieglitz

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