I’m always surprised when I get a fresh glimpse of the imagery that the Bible uses to communicate the most profound truths. God just doesn’t say “be wise.” He takes snapshots for us to look at and as is often the case a picture is
23 developing negatives2worth a thousand words. One of the more interesting passages with this is Proverbs 6:16-19. The New Living Translation renders these verses like this: “There are six things the Lord hates—no, seven things he detests: haughty
eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord among brothers.” Just notice the images. There are eyes, a tongue, hands, a heart, feet, mouth (spewing or pouring out), sowing seeds of discord. Each of these things conjures images in our minds that more profoundly impress us with the sharpness of the intended message.

This passage presents us with things God hates. It’s the negative images that are projected. I remember the days when cameras would take negative images and you had to take them to the drugstore to have them developed. The store would take them into a darkroom and impress them (somehow) on paper and soak them in some kind of solution that would impress upon the paper the positive impression. The positives are what you’d get back as your developed photos. I’ve been preparing, when I get the chance, for our upcoming visit to Israel I’ve been thinking about the location of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus preached his famous beatitudes as recorded for us in Matthew chapter 5. It dawned on me, that this sermon is the positive development from the negatives of Proverbs chapter 6. Instead of relating to us the things that God hates, Jesus gives us the things that God loves. Some of these positives are obvious, others require a little interpretation, but these are how I understand them.

As surely as God hates “haughty eyes,” He loves the “poor in spirit” and pronounces them blessed. Poor in spirit is often related to a humble attitude. God hates lying tongues, but he loves the victims of lying tongues. He says, “blessed are you,” in Matthew 5:11-12, “when men cast insults at you, and…say all kinds of evil against you falsely…Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” He hates hands that harm the innocent, yet in Matthew 5:10, he pronounces a blessing on those who suffer innocently. He hates hearts that plot evil deeds, but he loves the pure in heart in Matthew 5:8. He despises feet anxious to do wrong while he loves those hungering to do right (Matthew 5:6). He hates mouths spewing out lies to get what they want from others while Jesus blesses those who receive wrong from others and offers mercy (Matthew 5:7). Finally, God curses those who sow strife in relationships while Jesus blesses those who plant the seeds of peace.