Proverbs 12:22 ESV
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.
To be an abomination before the Lord is no small thing. The deeds of the Canaanites, which God called ‘abominations’, were the foundation for God’s judgement of that land. As Deuteronomy 18:25 says, “… the land became unclean, so that I [God] punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.” When God speaks of abominations, He does not speak of light things which may be brushed aside, of peccadilloes or peculiarities. Abominations are moral horrors, plain and simple.
In contrast, to be the delight of the Lord is a truly wonderful thing. The delight of the Lord is the response His Scripture attributes to Him when His people give unto Him their obedience to His glory (1 Samuel 15:22). God does not delight in wickedness (Psalms 5:4). He delights in truth, in obedience, and- take humble joy in this- the welfare of His people (Psalms 51, 41:11).
With these two rewards established, let us look at what this proverb declares to be ‘abomination to the Lord’ and what it declares ‘His delight’.
First, lying lips. Satan, the deceiver, is called by Jesus the Father of Lies, and liars are named his children (John 8:44). The truth is an essential attribute of God. All truth we proclaim, know, and understand, all this truth is a reflection of God’s nature and the creation which He has made according to that nature. Does not Jesus tell us, “… the truth will set you free” (John 8:32)? Who sets us free from sin except Jesus? No one. Therefore, the man who perverts the truth with ‘lying lips’ is a man who despises the gifts of God and blasphemes by implication against His nature (Numbers 15:31). As Numbers 15:31 says, the man who despises the word of the Lord and breaks His commandments “shall be utterly cut off”.
Second, ‘those who act faithfully’. This contrast between lying lips (a synecdoche for liars) and the faithful follower of God could hardly be stronger. The man who walks in faith towards God walks in (imperfect but growing) consonance with His character; the man who lies strikes with ferocity and ultimate futility at his creator.
This contrast has implications for the way God’s faithful act. If liars are abominations, then the faithful man is clearly a man of truth, who speaks only the truth of God. Unity, present peace, and calm must not be greater concerns than the truth; the man who places any of these over the truth will lie and in lying become an abomination. The truth does not unite; the truth divides by showing what is its kin and what is a lie (Matthew 10:34; Hebrews 4:12). The truth shows what is an abomination and what is a delight to the Lord. Let us therefore inspect our own lives and our own speech. Let us seek to offer to the Lord truth and not lies.
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