Proverbs 8:13 (NIV)
“All who fear the Lord will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech.”
I start this series of scriptural musings with a familiar verse widely shared among platforms in response to the national and international events that would be of great contrast to this verse. To select a verse for this reflection, I utilize an online randomized that returns a query with a single verse. Surprisingly, this verse reflects what I deeply feel as I write these words.
The year 2020 was so unpredictable with numerous events that media could only refer to as ‘unprecedented:’ the COVID-19 crisis, the economic collapse, the rise of hatred and violence, and other human woes. As many struggled to keep their faith and focus on what they have in their bubbles, others have seen their beliefs grow, cultivated by the sheer impatience and helplessness that the physical distancing and quarantine rules force on them.
For any person of faith, this is a happy thought. There is a longstanding culture among the faithful that those who find themselves in need of a higher power to guide them would also seek righteousness. This is in line with that person’s “fear of the LORD,” a concept often misunderstood yet profoundly important for a person to initiate a relationship with God.
This fear is of reverence in contrast with the fear associated with danger or misfortune. To fear God is to see His greatness above everything else and to aspire to fathom the unfathomable power of God.
The proverb tells about how those who fear God would hate evil. I see this as equivalent to the notion that simply hating evil would immediately mean honoring God. We do not indulge in evil things in fear of retribution; we hate evil because God abhors it.
When a person fears God, there is less tendency to glorify themselves above the creator. This diminishes pride and arrogance. This takes away personal credit and promotes personal abandonment. This removes man from the center and places the Creator into perspective.
As man’s pride is decreased, so is the tendency to be corrupted. Man can never be too powerful enough to do all things. They will refrain from expelling perverse speech. There is no need for that since they see others as equal, all under heaven.
Human beings have been scrambling, trying to find ways to honor God, and they make all things: sacrifice, service, offerings, and others. But fearing God is hating evil; hating what God hates makes us aligned in Him. And though the world may not see this as a great effort at all, it must be enough to those who yearn for honoring Him. Hating evil and all of its succedents is placing God at the center of our lives.