“God detests the prayers of a person who ignores the law.” – Proverbs 28:9 NLT
The verse above contains a pretty serious statement. It should grab out attention and make us question what it means to ignore the law. What law is he talking about? And what does it mean to ignore it? You and I certainly don’t want to find ourselves in the position where God detests our prayers. We don’t want to find ourselves crying out to God only to have Him refuse to hear or answer our prayers because of the fact that we have ignored His law. This Proverb, while a collection of independent wise sayings, does have somewhat of a theme. Most of the verses can be tied right back to the Ten Commandments, the original Law of God given on Mount Sinai to Moses during the days of the Exodus. Here they are:
- You must not have any other god but me.
- You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens of on the earth or in the sea.
- You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
- Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
- Honor your father and mother.
- You must not murder.
- You must not commit adultery.
- You must not steal.
- You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.
- You must not covet.
If you notice, the first four regulate our relationship with God, while the last six deal with our human relationships. Now if you go back to Proverbs 28, you will see that most, if not all, of these verses have to do with our outlook on the law of God and its impact on our relationships with others. Throughout this Proverb you see contrasted the wicked and the righteous or godly. One group rejects the law of God while the other embraces and obeys it. “To reject the law is to praise the wicked; to obey the law is to fight them” (Proverbs 28:4 NLT). God’s law is the standard for all life on this planet. How we treat Him and how we relate to one another is contained in the law. It gives us the basis for all our interactions. Without a standard, everyone does what is in their own best interests and according to their own set of self-centered rules. It leads to corruption, graft, greed, abuse, neglect of the poor, and justification of all kinds of harmful actions. We are warned, “Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe” (Proverbs 28:26 NLT). To walk in wisdom is to live your life according to God’s terms, in obedience to His law or standard for life. God cares deeply about our human relationships. He wants us to treat one another with care, concern, respect, dignity, love, and honor – because all mankind is made in His image. But when we reject God’s law and disrespect our parents, murder out of hatred or for personal gain, take another man’s wife, steal what belongs to someone else, discredit another human being, or desire what they have more than we desire a relationship with them, we are fools. We lack wisdom because we are rejecting the conditions for life given to us by God Himself. It results in “moral rot” as described in verse 2. It leads to abuse and oppression. It becomes contagious, leading even good people to do bad things. It causes men to justify their actions and to reject accountability for the wrongs they commit.
The Ten Commandments begin with four statements about honoring God. We are to treat Him with respect, dignity, and honor at all times. As Proverbs 1:7 says, “Start with God – the first step in learning is bowing down to God; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning” (Proverbs 1:7 MSG). Our relationships with men are all based on and dependent upon our relationship with God. Wise rulers are those who know God and honor Him with their lives. They live according to His rules and don’t rule based on their own set of subjective standards. Wise parents are those whose households are God-honoring, where He is lifted up and held as the standard for life. Wise young people obey the law because they love God. Wise vendors don’t try and take advantage of their customers in order to make a buck, because they love God and know that dishonesty is dishonoring to Him. The wise commit sins, but immediately confess them to God, because they know He sees and they value their relationship with Him more than any pleasure their sin may provide.
Loving the law is simply loving God. It is obeying His Word because you trust Him. It is doing what He says because You recognize that He knows best.
Father, You did not leave us here to do whatever we want to do according to our own set of subjective standards. That is what leads us to sin and causes us to harm one another. You have provided us with Your standard for living and You have given us the rules for governing our relationships with one another. But it all begins with our relationship with You. Help us to trust You more, and to rely on the fact that Your law is good, holy and right. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men