Yes, God Does Hate Stuff. Do I?

I almost didn't post this, afraid some might think I'm "too negative."

But then I read a passage in the book of Numbers that I've never seen before and it hit me hard. So hard that I had to share. (More about that later.)

There are plenty of admonitions in scripture about avoiding evil—rejecting wickedness and staying clear of anything that would contaminate us, hinder our lives and ministry, or dishonor the Lord.

One that comes to mind is Proverbs 4:15: "Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on." (NASB)

That's pretty clear, I'd say!

Solomon says, "Give a wide birth to sin ... don't even think about it! Turn away and keep moving."

Wise counsel.

Paul also has much to say about avoiding evil and wickedness.

When we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and allow that to overflow into love for others (Luke 10:27), we will become more sensitive to the things God hates.
We can avoid evil without becoming legalistic if we focus on pursuing God from a heart of love and surrender.
If we truly love God as He desires, we will want to please Him, and that will be a work of grace in our hearts.

I've thought much about my zeal for God in recent days. I used to think about zeal as working harder and harder for Him. But that's missing the greater meaning.

In Numbers 25, Phinehas, the grandson of the priest, Aaron, was one of the few people in ancient Israel who had such zeal for God that God honored him.

And why was he honored?

From verses 10-13 (LB): "...he was as angry as I, concerning my honor...."

The backstory:

  • Israeli men were partying with young Moabite girls and eventually stooped to worship their idols, kindling God's anger.
  • One Israeli even dared to bring a Midianite girl into the Israeli camp, right in front of Moses and others as they were weeping at the door of the Tabernacle—brokenhearted over Israel's sin!
  • God reacted with judgment, but one man, Phinehas, was zealous for the Lord's honor. He realized it was no small thing to trifle with what God had so clearly said He hated, and he wanted to uphold God's reputation for holiness in the land.

When I read the story of Phinehas, I wondered, "Lord, do I hate the things you hate?"

I've come to love so many of the things God loves as I've focused on seeking Him. But I think I have a long way to be as zealous as Phinehas in hating what God hates.

Some of the things God says—with certainty—He hates or dislikes:

It is sad how people in today's culture try to argue or rationalize away what God says He hates.

It's tempting to lessen our zeal for God under the guise of tolerance or modern "sensibilities."

I am grateful for grace. I am grateful I am not "under the law" as the Old Testament Jews were.

Yet God's holiness never changes. 

Instead of kicking against the prodding of the Holy Spirit that urges me toward holiness, I need to pursue God and ask Him for the wisdom to know what would please Him and then instantly, completely and cheerfully obey (James 1:5).

What would please God? Here are just a few ideas:

Do you struggle with a certain sin? Can you honestly say you hate it like Father God hates it? Or are you rationalizing it—tolerating it? Are you pursuing God and earnestly desiring to please Him?

Ask the Holy Spirit to tenderize your heart and help you see your sins the way He sees them.  

Remember the standard: God wants to make you more like Jesus.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of John Hain at Pixabay.