Penning God-breathed words, Solomon affirms that “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him” (Pro. 6:16). Unlike English poetry, whose two distinguishing features were traditionally rhyme and regular meter, one of the distinguishing features of Hebrew poetry is that of parallelism, sometimes contrasting parallels, sometimes repetitive ones. In the case of repetitive parallels, the purpose is usually to emphasize some truth. The text before us in these paragraphs illustrates the latter usage. God wants to make it clear (and does so) that He hates lying. But as strong as the word hate is, the repeated clause uses an even stronger word, abomination. When we take into account that the second item on the list of things which God both hates and abominates is “a lying tongue,” we are confronted with the reality that more than 28% of what God declares in these verses to be hated by Him has to do with lying!
It is, in fact, difficult to come up with any activity that is more inimical to the nature of God than lying. Jesus Christ, as the visible member of the Godhead, declared Himself to be very truth (John 14:6), whereas He exposed Satan as “the father of lies” (John 8:44). Lying is a full frontal assault on the person and character of God. A murderer steals the physical life of his victim. A rapist steals the innocence and purity of his victim. But one who lies about the truth of God steals the eternal life of his victim.
Lying, in effect, throws the universe out of balance. Civilization goes careening off course and into destruction. One lie is so destructive that it has the tendency, when discovered or recognized, to forever call into question everything the liar says thereafter. It destroys trust in both individuals and institutions. Lies destroy a sense of security because they destroy trust. Lies foster skepticism and cynicism in their victims. And when lies prevail in a society, first justice succumbs, then anarchy prevails and finally despotism reigns. Liberty will not long survive a culture of lies.
Few facts can be more starkly obvious to a believer than the devastation that has been wrought by the lie of evolution. That lie declares the Bible to be false and God to be a liar. It declares that men have no purpose except one that they concoct in their own brains and that nothing exists beyond the seven-odd decades we breathe on this planet. Small wonder that depression, despair, nihilism, and anarchy abound today.
Where lies prevail everything becomes relative. Where everything is relative, I am the arbiter of what is right and good for me, and you become the arbiter of what is right and good for you. And should our values clash (which, inevitably they will), then the law of the jungle prevails and the stronger person “wins.” In reality, of course, no one wins. Isaiah decried a culture of lies: “Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the streets, and uprightness cannot enter. Yes, truth is lacking; and he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey” (59:14, 15a).
If, as seems likely, Solomon’s second reference to lying has as its target lying that takes place under oath and in a judicial process rather than on a person-to-person level, then, Isaiah’s next words are particularly germane: “Now the Lord saw, and it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice. . . . According to their deeds, so He will repay, wrath to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies” (vv. 15b, 18a).
But whether on a personal level, in a court setting, or where governing is involved, God demands truth. Above all, we must handle the Word of God truthfully, honestly, and faithfully; and we must speak the truth in love. For God loves His truth and those who are faithful to it.
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