“Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor, and do not love a false oath. For all these are things that I hate,” says the Lord.” (Zechariah 8:17)
What God Hates
Hate is a strong word. It connotates a feeling of strong antagonism and dislike. The idea of hatred is seldom referenced to God’s character, but there are many things the scriptures say God hates. Among them are pride, lies, murder, wicked hearts, falsehood, and the spirit of discord, to name a few. The purity of God is manifested by His love for righteousness and His wrath described by his hatred of those who defile His name and His character. When men begin to rationalize the nature of God to be a kind and loving, benevolent Father incapable of discipline or wrath, they fail to understand the character of the Lord’s righteousness fully. What God hates comes from what God loves. Men hate with a cruel passion. The hatred of God is the purest form of righteousness against the works of the evil one, Satan.
There is no middle ground with evil. The message from the beginning of time is there are only two paths a man can walk. He can choose the broad way of self-satisfaction and pleasure or choose a narrow and challenging path of obedience. The roads of life have an inevitable ending, and that is where God’s nature is discovered. Willful disobedience to the word of the Lord will bring the wrath of God because the Lord God hates those who rebel against Him. The broad path of life ends in destruction. Only at the end of the narrow path of righteousness will joy and life be found. There is no other path a man can follow. He will choose the path that leads to the eternal love of God, or he will find the way leading to the eternal condemnation of the Father.
Zechariah the prophet lived in a day after the captivity of Israel to Babylon and Persia. Returning to their fathers’ land, the Jews struggled to regain their place in the worship of the Lord. The prevalent sins in the prophet’s days were not idolatry but cheating and lying, and injustice. Captivity had cured the hearts of the people from the idolatry that destroyed their nation earlier. Sin stilled burdened the hearts of the people with their neglect to consider their neighbor, and the prophet Zechariah admonishes the nation to see God’s view of their evil. God hates sin. He punished the generation before them, and He would punish them if they did not turn from their wickedness. Why does God warn of impending doom? He hated sin before, and He still hates sin.
God is a loving and kind Father, but He hates sin. His desire is for His children to speak truth to their neighbors with judgments of truth, justice, and peace. Anything short of that God hates with divine wrath. Men try to excuse their actions by pleading to the mercy and kindness of the Lord. This does not change the nature of God that He hates what sin does to His people. The hatred of God will determine the damnation of those who refuse to follow His word. This hatred is not a spiteful and evil emotion but the purity of divine righteousness. It is real. God’s love is unsearchable, and His hatred of evil is unending. He is a God of mercy and kindness, and He is a God of severity and punishment. It is proper to view God for whom He is and for whom He will be when all men stand before Him.
“For all these things I hate,” says the Lord. These are hard words. It is difficult to image God hating anything, and while He is not willing that any should perish and that all men should come to the blood of Jesus Christ – the wrath of God is against evil. The nature of God cannot abide by the spirit of rebellion. Sin was so severe and hated so much by God that it took the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to die for the sins of all men. God’s love is found in how He answered the question of sin. He loved the world and gave His only begotten Son. The cross is the answer to sin. Found in the blood of Christ is the love of God against all that He hates.