If you get this lesson in your heart, it will help you for many, many years to come. It’s that powerful of a lesson.
A naughty person, a wicked man,walketh with a froward mouth. He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers;
Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord. Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.
These six things doth the LORD hate: Yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies,and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Proverbs 6:12 KJV
It’s very important to note that an abomination is a specialized idea, especially when it comes to how it relates to God. An abomination takes things beyond the level of hate. An abomination takes things beyond the level of a strong dislike.
There are things that God just doesn’t care for. There are things that God dislikes. There are things that God hates. And then, ultimately, there are things that are an abomination to God.
And the very implication of that word is that this thing is so antagonistic toward God and is the antithesis of God, His character, and His nature to the degree that it makes him physically ill.
Abominations make God want to throw up. I don’t care for yams very much. But it’s not an abomination to me. Liver, on the other hand…
Our hatred comes in degrees and it is the same idea with God. There are things that He doesn’t like at all. But, if something is an abomination to Him, then it is something that makes Him physically sick.
The phrase, a naughty person, is described in the NIV as a scoundrel and villain. The NLT call them worthless and wicked people.
It’s very, very powerful language and I want to make sure, in a sort of expository way, you understand. The word naughty literally means worthless in this text. To be a naughty person is to be a worthless person. In fact, the original Hebrew word that is translated naughty is the word Belial, which is the same word that in Paul uses in 2nd Corinthians to describe the devil, when he asks says, “What concord hath Christ with Belial?”
This level of naughtiness described in our text, in Proverbs 6, puts you in the same league as the devil. Villain, scoundrel, worthless, wicked. You’re at the same level as the devil when you’re a naughty person. Now, Proverbs chapter 6:16-19 gives us a list of things that naughty, devilish, worthless, wicked people do that makes God physically sick.
When you’re displaying this level of wickedness, worthlessness, and villainy, you’re being like the devil so that we can describe you as the devil when you do these things. You go beyond being disliked by God and end up being abominable to God.
Now, there are seven things listed. A proud look. A lying tongue. Hands that shed innocent blood. A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations. Feet that be swift in running to mischief. A false witness that speaketh lies.
We’re gonna focus on the seventh thing makes God physically ill, which is, “He that soweth discord among brethren.”
Now, verse 16 makes it clear that there’s something special about this seventh thing. There’s something different about this seventh thing. This is evident in the format or syntax of the writing. The passage reads, “These six things doth the Lord hate. Yea, seven are an abomination unto him…”
This is not a writer who is writing “…six things that the Lord hate…” and then it dawns on him, “Wait, that’s silly. It’s seven things. You know what? I’m not going to delete, start over, or erase. That prior line, I’ll just add to it. Well, actually, there’s seven things.”
No, this is not a writer’s mistake but rather a calculated use of vocabulary and writing device. I’m going to give you some proof of that in some commentaries:
• The Jameson, Fawcett, and Brown commentary: “This is a mode of speaking or writing, purposefully meant to arrest attention. It is literally written in a way to arrest your attention.”
• Matthew Henry commentary: “A catalog of those things which are, in a special manner, odious to God. All which are generally to be found in those men of Belial, whom he had described in the foregoing verses, or previous verses. God hates sin. He hates every sin. He can never be reconciled to it. He hates nothing but sin. But there are some sins which he does, in a special manner, hate. And all those here mentioned are injurious to our neighbor. The God of love and peace hates him that sows discord among brethren for He delights in concord, unity, and togetherness. Those that by talebearing and slandering, by carrying ill natured stories, aggravating everything that is said and done, suggesting jealousies and evil surmises, blow the coals of contention are but preparing for themselves a fire of the same nature.
Another theologian says, “This seventh thing, which God hates, has a special emphasis. This passage is saying that, of all the human traits, that God hates the worst is stirring up trouble in the church. Sin has reached its conclusion. The sin that started with the pride has progressed through evil words, the actions, the intellect, the actions, more lies, until finally, by manifesting the ultimate trait that God finds detestable, we find a person doing all they can to stir up dissension in the church. By the time a person has cultivated the first six things into their lives and have encompassed their entire being, all that is left for them now, is to turn to someone else and try to destroy them.”
These commentaries give us depth about these passages and confirm that this was no grammatical mistake or twist of vocabulary.
This was not laziness in literature, but rather a specialized and relevant, pertinent, important emphasis on the fact that the seventh abomination listed is the culmination of the prior six. It is the seventh, “he that soweth discord among brethren,” that gives God the ultimate sickness that He will ever experience.
The original Hebrew word for discord is Madon. The word discord only shows up twice, both times right here in Proverbs 6, once in verse 14 and once in verse 19.
Discord means strife, contention, or questionings. Now the idea of sowing discord is illustrated here using the mental image of a farmer who is throwing out seed, sowing for future gain that he expects, not today, but at some point in the future.
When sowing discord, a man or woman is putting things out there, not for right now, but for future use. Just like a farmer does not expect instant corn to pop up so he can break off ears of corn and get some mayonnaise, tahini, and butter. No, no, it’s for a future use. It’s for a purpose that is yet down the road.
Sowing discord is similar. It’s purposeful, deliberate, and carefully timed. It’s something that has been prepared ahead of time and has been well-thought out. It’s not a knee jerk reaction on somebody’s part. It’s not a moment of instant gratification. There’s careful planning. There’s thought put into it. Somebody is seeking to harvest future gains at some distant point in the future, based on what was planted earlier.
Think about this…
The soil of the field, or the heart, has been carefully chosen and cultivated over time so they can plant the crop of contention.
I know this is a lot, but I’m trying to be methodical and slow because I want you to get all this.
It is never accidental when we sow discord. It is never an oversight. It is never a quick knee-jerk reaction and we sow discord. It is never that. It is literally deliberate divisiveness. Deliberate divisiveness.
Proverbs 6:13, the NLT version, says this, “Signaling their deceit with a wink of the eye, a nudge of the foot, or the wiggle of fingers.”
Here’s what the commentary says on this, “By sinister body language, the scoundrel’s actions contradict what he says. By winking and gesturing in some way with his feet and fingers, he signals certain messages to his fellow conspirators. He plans evil actions from a deceitful heart so that people are not aware of his intentions until it is too late. Though he feigns or fakes sincerity. Underneath he is perverted and causes dissension, drawing others into discord or strife.” That’s the commentary.
Now, what we know very practically, is that discord is rarely blatant and obvious.
It is very rare that somebody would come to you and say, “Brother, you have a minute? You have got to hear what I heard about Brother So-and-So. It might even be true, I don’t know, but it’s gonna destroy him. Are you ready for this?”
No sister goes to another sister and says, “Hey, come on, you gotta go to Starbucks with me tomorrow morning because I have something so, so juicy. Woo! I don’t even know if it’s true. I don’t even care if it’s true, to be honest with you. It’s just that juicy. This is good stuff! This is gonna ruin them. Come and meet me at 10 o’clock and we’ll talk about it.”
That’s not how sowing discord works.
“Hey, let’s get together sometime. I really want to talk about Brother So-and-So with you. Let’s tear him down. Are you available tomorrow? We can do breakfast. We can do lunch. Let’s tear him down tomorrow. You guys want to, let’s do it! Let’s get together and just mess up his life.”
If you’re doing that, you need a lobotomy maybe. I mean that in a nice Christian way, by the way.
Discord doesn’t work that way. But rather, discord is cloaked in humility, in sincerity, and sometimes, cloaked in spirituality.
“We need to get together and pray for Brother So-and-So over there. We need to get together. There are some things…He needs help and I feel like you’re a mature Christian. I feel like we want to bless him. We want to help him. But I got to tell you some of this stuff that’s going on.”
That’s what it looks like typically. That’s how it works.
Here’s what the Bible says,
Let me tell you how sowing discord happens. Maybe, you’ll get off your keyboard. Off your phone.
I say that because it’s amazing how we can so discord, technologically safe and sound.
We’re keyboard warriors. We got those two opposable thumbs and 98 words a minute, whatever it is.
Here’s what the Bible says:
An ungodly man diggeth up evil, and in his lips there is as a burning fire. A froward or perverse man soweth strife, and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
– Proverbs 16:27-28 KJV
Torching people. Burning people.
Slandering people. Sowing discord.
Let me tell you, sowing discord in a church has the power of hurting a church more than anything the devil can throw at us. I’m telling you the truth tonight.
We are not ignorant of the devil’s devices. We know that he is walking about seeking whom he may devour. We know that he is a liar. We know that he is out seeking to destroy. We know all that about him, but let me tell you something…
The church is powerful and strong against the enemy of our soul. We have every weapon we need. We have every tool we need. Yes, sometimes his fiery darts get to us and we must help one another. Pull them out of our chest or our back, whatever it might be.
But we have weapons. We have the shield of faith. We have the sword of the spirit. We have the breastplate of righteousness. Our feet are shod with the gospel of peace.
But I’m going to tell you what really hurts us is not from the things that are outside, but when things are from the inside. If I can say this, “Et tu, Brutus?”
To be wounded in the house of a friend, to be in the house of God and have them pull out daggers for you. Let me tell you, the devil has all kinds of weapons, and we have all kinds of defensive weapons. But sowing discord can destroy a church faster than culture going bad and Hollywood being stupid. They’ve always done horrible things.
But it’s that which is from within that can be very deadly and be very destructive. And that is why God says, I hate it. No, it’s more than hate. It’s an abomination to me. It makes me sick. Let me tell us something, all of us tonight. We better learn to hate what God hates.
We better also get queasy at the things that make God sick. The things that, that make God ill ought to make us ill, right? I want to love what God loves. I want to hate what God hates. Let’s not be sick and hate it when we see it in others only. But let’s hate it when we see it in ourselves as well.
God, help us to hate what you hate.
This sin of creating or fostering conflict and strife, whispering question marks into somebody’s mind, whispering and fueling discontent with our untamed tongue, means we’re not managing our mouths.
We’re not managing our opposable thumbs. We’re typing, we’re writing, we’re sending, we’re emailing, we’re texting, we’re posting, we’re this, we’re that, we’re whispering, we’re saying, we’re whatever it is and we’re sowing discord.
Let me tell you, instead of adding to gossip and dissension, let’s stop it in its tracks.
It takes two to tango, and it takes two, at least, to successfully sow discord. Don’t let it fall in your heart. Don’t let it fall on good soil in the sense that it takes, and all of a sudden, you start wondering about brother So-and-So and sister So-and-So.
Let me tell you, we are the people of God. We are the church of God. We’re not perfect. Nobody here is perfect, starting with me. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, because I’m almost done, and it would be premature. But let me tell you, don’t buy into this idea of fostering dissent, of creating question marks in people’s minds about other people, about adding fuel to a fire.
Let’s not do that.
The Bible says:
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. – Ephesians 5:6-7 KJV
It’s interesting that the Bible says, because of vain words come at the wrath of God. It tells us, “Be not ye, therefore partakers with them.” That word partakers is really where we get our word participator or participant. Don’t be a partaker of that conversation. Don’t be a participant in that thread. Don’t join yourself to that group that is creating more questions than answers. Let me tell you, stay away from those who sow discord. I don’t care who they are.
If somebody’s sowing discord, stay away from them.
“But this is where I get all my information.” Exactly.
“But this is all we talk about.” Exactly.
“But I need to know what’s going on so I can pray for people.” Right.
I don’t care how good of a friend they are. Don’t partake in what God hates.
Don’t involve yourself in what makes God sick.
All right, I’ll take a little more time to prove it.
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you. – 2 Thessalonians 3:6 KJV
This verse is not mealy-mouthed, weak-kneed, or spineless.
It doesn’t say, “Listen, maybe you ought to stay away from them.” No, rather, he says, “We command you, in the name of God, stay away from every brother that walketh disorderly.”
Nothing is more disorderly than a person that is doing things to cause dissension, strife, contention, and questionings. This is what makes God sick. That is the ultimate disorder.
As Paul says, “Listen, stay away from people like that. Let me tell you, evil communications doth corrupt good manners (1 Corinthians 15:33).”
Paul talks more about discord in Romans 16:
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. – Romans 16:17-18 KJV
Paul tells us here that those who sow discord “serve their own bellies”, literally saying that they are slaves to their own appetites. Remember, that’s why they’re sowing discord the first place. They are trying to satiate their own appetite. It’s their own will that they are seeking to promote and make progress toward accomplishing, even if it means destroying another person or persons.
Paul also tells us that, “by good words and fair speeches,” these sowers of discord deceive the hearts of the simple.
Sometimes it’s not real easy to discern what is “questionings, and contentions, and strife, and divisions.”
Sometimes, it actually sounds pretty good. In fact, sometimes it sounds pretty spiritual.
Sometimes it’s eloquent. Sometimes, people can be wordsmiths and really put together good words and fair speeches.
That’s how the Bible describes it, “good words and fair speeches to deceive the hearts of the simple.”
Stay away from people who talk about your church.
Stay away from people who talk about other people in their church.
Stay away from people that are going to use good words and fair speeches to deceive you.
Mark them. Avoid them. Because they are not serving the Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew 12, 34 37, O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things?
O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. – Matthew 12:34-37 KJV
It matters what we say. It matters who we talk about. It matters what we’re sowing. It matters what we’re planting. It matters whether we’re putting questions in people’s hearts and minds about one another. It matters!
That word idle sometimes even mean the opposite of premeditated discord. It can just be a word that kind of slipped out. It’s a idle word. There was no real long term intention or purpose behind it.
But the Bible says we’re going to be accountable for even for those words in the judgement.
We are responsible for what comes out of our mouth.
We are responsible for what we post.
We are responsible for what we text.
We are responsible for what we email
To sow discord in the church is to soil the church. It’s dirties up the church.
To judge and be critical of the kingdom of God.
Every church has imperfections, shortcomings, and areas to improve in.
Where no oxen are, the crib is clean (Proverbs 14:4).
You want a perfect church? Let’s clear everybody out of here and that’ll be a perfect church.
“Well, I’m looking for a perfect church.” Well, when you join it, all of the sudden, you no longer have a perfect church. You just messed up all the perfect people in that church.
It’s not about minimizing the bad. It’s about maximizing the good.
There’s a story about Reverend I.H. Terry when he was teaching a mid-week Bible study about gossip.
He had a five-gallon bucket full of mud. Yes, real mud. And, as he was teaching, he would reach into that five-gallon bucket of mud and start flinging it around and on people.
People were getting splattered. Their clothes got ruined.
The girls were like, “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! What’s wrong with this? What? Throwing mud?”
You know what? He’s making the point that, when we gossip, that is what we do with our words.
As Confucius said, “He who throw mud loses ground.”
Let’s not throw mud! Let’s not fling mud!
We better understand whose church this is. Jesus said, “This is my church.” This is my church!”
Before you go around spreading your never-to-be-humble opinion about everything and everyone, let’s remember whose church this. Let’s remember this belongs to God.
Do you realize, do you realize something? The Church is the only thing God ever had to pay for.
He didn’t get a discount, either, but He paid the full price.
When God wanted the Andromeda constellation, He just spoke it. When God wanted Pleiades out there, He just flung it out there. When God wanted a perfect solar system, whether or not you include Pluto in that, He just spoke it into existence. God wanted the Grand Canyon and He just created it.
He didn’t buy any of that stuff. But the church, he paid full price for it. He bought us with His own blood.
I’ve been married to my wife for 27 years and she’s the love of my life. And the soy sauce and the chop suey of my life. And the… you get the point.
You come messing with her…
I don’t care if you’re seven foot three and, and got six fingers on each hand.
I’m gonna go after you, let me tell you.
Right? Come on man, this is a good opportunity for you. Yeah, me too. Yeah. Come on, get a little testosterone man. I’ll fight you tooth and nail. Wow. I’ll take out your kneecaps, I’ll, whatever I gotta do. You don’t mess with my wife.
How do you think God feels about his bride? If we tell Him, “I love you Lord, but I hate your wife.”
If we say, “I love you Lord, but I can’t stand sister So-and-So.”
And God is telling us, “Yeah, but I bought her with My own blood. I redeemed her, I redeemed him.”
Let’s be careful with the church. It belongs to Him.
The Bible tells us, in Proverbs 6:15, that the result of sowing discord is sudden calamity.
That is not a judgment that you and I want to live with. Calamity, not from life but from God, will come upon us and be so powerful in our lives that we will be broken without remedy.That’s what the Bible says is the consequence of hating His church and His people, of sowing discord and bringing division into the house of God.
The opposite of sowing discord is to bring unity and unity into the church.
The opposite of sowing discord is to uplift and edify.
To minimize the negative and maximize the positive.
It’s to look at people who have faults and flaws, just like you and me, and not magnify the things that are wrong with them.A
But rather, we are to say, “You know what? They belong to God just like I belong to God. If they have rough edges and things they need to work on, I’m gonna let God work on them. I’m gonna befriend them. I’m gonna help them. I’m gonna teach them a Bible study. I’m gonna have some conversations over a cup of coffee with them. I’m going to bless my brother I’m gonna build up my brother. I’m gonna strengthen my sister. I’m gonna hold them up.”
This attitude is the opposite of sowing discord.
The devil brings disunity and strife, but God brings harmony and unity.
The devil brings jealousy, but God brings love.
The devil brings doubt. God brings faith.
The devil subtracts and divides. God adds and multiplies.
Whose work are we doing?
Great revival comes from great unity.
Ecclesiastes chapter four
And Psalm 133.
The word together shows up 32 times in 31 verses.
Just in the book of acts, the word “together” appears 32 times in 31 verses.
One of them, Acts 2:44, says “And all that believed were together and had all things common.”
Another translation says, “And all believers were in wonderful harmony.”
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” — John 13:35 KJV
Not because you look so good. Not because your hair is just right.
Not because your hairbow is just right. Not because your sleeve length is just right.
Here’s how they’re gonna know you’re his disciple, if we have love one to another.
We are going to be judged whether we are disciples of Christ by how, and if, we love one another.
With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
– Ephesians 4:2-3 KJV
Longsuffering means putting up with people even when you don’t really want to. That’s what it means to “endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.”
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
– Hebrews 10:25 KJV
Usually, when we see this verse, we say, “We’ve got to get to church more often,”and we do. But here’s what should happen when we get to church, “…but exhorting one another.” It’s not just gathering. What really matters is what we do when we gather.
Let me tell you, the closer we get to the coming of the Lord, the more we ought to be exhorting one another. Helping one another. Lifting up one another. Edifying one another. Loving one another. Forgiving one another. Being kind one to another. Forbearing one another.
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
– Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 KJV
I’m not sure how many times I’m gonna fall in my life or how many times you will fall, but if and when we fall, two are better than one. As this verse says, “one will lift up his fellow.”
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. – Psalm 133 KJV
Here’s what I know about this particular anointing oil that was flowing from Aaron’s beard and that is that this particular oil was heavily perfumed. This particular oil had a very strong fragrance.
So powerful was the fragrance, it’s said that when it was poured and somebody was anointed, the entire area or room was permeated with the scent of this anointing oil. It would waft throughout the area and people would know there’s been an anointing here. Not just because they see the oil flowing, but because they smell the oil. Scholars say that this anointing oil was so powerful, so strong, so fragrant that it overcame ad eradicated all other scents.
So it is when a church binds together in unity…
We’re all different. We all were different races. Different colors. Different socioeconomic backgrounds. Different educational levels. Different likes. Different interests. Different hobbies. Different.
We’re all different, but I’m gonna tell you what will overwhelm all of our differences. What will overwhelm all the things that we have against each other and the flaws that we see in each other.
You let unity come into a church body and that oil start flowing.
We must make up our minds to never sow discord again.
• Number one, it makes God physically ill, and I don’t want to do that.
• Number two, it’s His church, and it belongs to him. And there are consequences disturbing the unityin His church. I don’t want to be irreparably harmed and broken without repair.
Let’s all manage our mouths so we don’t start fires. So we don’t plant seeds. So we don’t throw out questions. So we don’t plant seeds for a future harvest or crop that will benefit me and nobody else.
Even when we have differences and even when we have little squabbles, instead of talking about them, posting about them, writing about them, going to the newspaper about them, telling brothers and sisters about them. Instead of doing all these things, let’s be bound together and so much the more as we see the day approaching.