records the Lord’s words: “”I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies.” (Amos 5:21). When we just go through the religious motions, leaving our hearts at home, I wonder what the Lord feels about our meetings?
Several specific sins are listed by God as those He abhors. Isaiah 61:8 tells us, “For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity.” The Lord speaks of certain practices as “detestable things” that He “hates,”such as not turning from wickedness or not ceasing to worship other gods (Jeremiah 44:4). Proverbs 6:16-19 tells us that “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him . . .” The six things listed are “haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and . . .”[I’m going to leave the seventh for you to look up. The Hebraic wording indicates that the seventh is something that God absolutely despises]. Zechariah records the Lord saying, “‘.. . do not plot evil against your neighbor, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,’declares the LORD.” (Zechariah 8:17). In our divorce-addicted and violence-obsessed culture, God declares, “‘Ihate divorce . . . and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,’says the LORD Almighty.So guard yourself in your spirit,and do not break faith.”(Malachi 2:16). God has a hate list and it includes such sins as robbery, iniquity, plotting evil against one’s neighbor, loving to swear falsely, divorce, addiction to violence, breaking faith, etc.A Mormon used car salesman was asked, “How do you justify being a used car salesman with your Mormonism where you’re not supposed to lie?” “I don’t lie,”he answered, “I’m just vague. When people ask me, ‘What’s the gas mileage on this car?’, I answer, ‘Hmmm. Gas mileage. That’s pretty important.’”
Not only does God hate wickedness (Psalm 45:7), but the Psalmist says that God’s followers are to do the same: “Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.”(Psalm 97:10). The Psalmist follows his own advice, for he says in Psalm 119:163, “I hate and abhor falsehood but I love your law.” In fact, the very definition of fearing the Lord, says Proverbs 8:13, is “to hate evil.” There is “a time to love and a time to hate,”Solomon reminds us in Ecclesiastes 3:8. Amos 5:15 tells the believer to “Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.”
And it is not just the Old Testament that contains such hate speech. Paul tells us that “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9). John compliments the church in Ephesus by saying, “But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”(Revelation 2:6). Believers are to hate their own actions which are inconsistent with God’s Word. Paul confesses in Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
The mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg once said, “I never liked anyone who didn’t have a temper. If you don’t have any temper,you don’t have any passion.” While there are differences between anger and hatred, we must realize that there is a holy hatred that we must have. Hating what God hates shows a passion for Him and His truth. I realize this could sound crazy, especially in a culture that expects Christians to show only love, but could it be that we have not learned how to hate?!