On this Sunday morning we continue the discussion of Proverbs 6:16-19 in the Bible which lists those things which the Lord hates. The fourth item in the list journeys deep into our hearts. Not our physical hearts, but those things which can be found at our very inner core - for each of us, the heart of the matter in all things that we consider in our lives. Those whom the Lord hates in this item are plotters and schemers of sin. Those who plan to do someone else ill. Those who plan to take what is not theirs. Those who intentionally and with malice aforethought actually take the time to sit down and think about their sin and how to make it happen. The man who sees a way to deceive his business partners of money, and then goes about the planning and execution of his embezzelment. A woman who feels the desire and sees an opportunity to steal the body and possibly even the heart of a man who is already married to another, and then begins to lay the bait for her seduction. The first human schemes occurred way back in the beginning of man himself. Eve used her seductiveness to get Adam to take a bite of the apple, the very act of defiance of God's will that drove man from paradise. She knew they were different, man and woman, for God had made them that way on purpose in order that they might procreate and populate the earth. Eve had been led into this plot by the whisperings of the great deceiver Satan, who had lied and manipulated her as only he can to pull man away from God. Eve knew that her feminine charms would be enough to coax Adam into the bite, and went about the task of using them for that very purpose. Soon after man was driven from the Garden of Eden for this defiance came the second human plot. Adam and Eve began to populate the earth when they gave birth to a pair of sons, first Cain and then Abel. Jealous of what he perceived to be favored attention towards his brother, Cain plotted in his heart against Abel saying to him: "Let's go out to the field", where Cain subsequently killed his own brother. It is the wickedness of sin that keeps man apart from God. What God is revealing to us in this fourth of the things He hates is the fact that while the commission of sin is bad enough, the person who thinks over a sin and then devises the means to make it happen is committing a separate, particularly evil act. Think of Mohamed Atta and the other terrorists who sat down together and devised the intricate plan to first hijack and then fly airliners into American buildings on September 11th, 2001. Think of O.J. Simpson gathering a face mask, leather gloves, and a large knife before driving to his estranged wife's home to murder her. Think of men like Andrew Fastow, Jeffrey Skilling and others involved in the Enron scheme to hoodwink the entire financial services industry during the 1990's. Think of any married man or woman who becomes sexually attracted to someone in their workplace or their neighborhood, and then begins to formulate a plan to begin a relationship with that person. Or a single person who does the same with another who is married. Think of the woman who learns that she is pregnant, and goes to the phone book to find an abortion clinic. Think simply of someone who, no matter the circumstances, allows a wedge to be driven in the relationship with their parents, and then intentionally perpetuates that heart-hardening. "Thou shalt not kill", "Thou shalt not steal", "Thou shalt not commit adultery", "Honor your father and mother" are all commandments given to man by God Himself. All are involved in the sins just mentioned. All involved some amount of plotting, planning, and scheming in order to make them happen. We have all done things like this during the course of our lives. Some who are reading this are taking actions such as this right at this very moment. You are continuing estrangement from your family. You are having an adulterous affair. You are taking things that do not belong to you. We are sinning in a way that God tells us is particularly hurtful to Him when we allow our hearts to be filled with such wicked plots. If you find that you are involved in any actions such as these, you need to put an end to your involvement in them immediately. If not, you just may find that your continued insistence on doing these things which God hates will end in a much worse way than you could ever imagine, either in this life or the next.
NOTE: This is the continuation of the regular 'Sunday Sermon' feature, each entry of which can be viewed by clicking in to that below label.