What God hates
So what does God hate?
‘I abhor the pride of Jacob
and detest his fortresses;
I will deliver up the city
and everything in it.’ Amos 5:8
God hates pride and all that it leads to. He detests that self-sufficiency that says ‘It’s OK, God, we’ve got this. We don’t need your help this time.’ He abhors that attitude of ‘We can take care of ourselves, thank you very much.’ He loathes that His own people do not trust Him enough to protect them and build their own defences.
Do they not realise that no human walls are thick enough and no fortresses strong enough to protect them from the power of God’s commands?
For the Lord has given the command,
and he will smash the great house into pieces
and the small house into bits. Amos 5:11
God created His people to trust Him and obey Him. He knows how things work. He understands humans better than they understand themselves. He knows the best way to live and He wants His people to walk that way.
Living any other way is just making like harder for yourself. Working against your own body rather than with your own body. Working against the laws of the universe rather than with the laws of the universe. Working against God rather than with God. It’s such hard work.
Do horses run on the rocky crags?
Does one plough the sea with oxen?
But you have turned justice into poison
and the fruit of righteousness into bitterness –
you who rejoice in the conquest of Lo Debar
and say, ‘Did we not take Karnaim by our own strength?’ Amos 5:12-13
God’s people have chosen the hard way. The path of resistance. They have taken God’s justice and righteousness and turned them into something else. And when God has led them into victory, they’ve chosen to claim that for themselves.
You see! Look what we can do. We don’t need God or anyone to protect us. We’ve got this sorted. We can do this. We can do anything we put our minds to!
He doesn’t require us to say ‘I can do all things.’
Instead, He wants us to be able to say like Paul ‘I can do all this through him who gives me strength.’ (Philippians 4:13).
For when God’s people stand in self-sufficiency and take pride in their own strength, then He has to remind them who is really sufficient, who is really strong.
For the Lord God Almighty declares,
‘I will stir up a nation against you, Israel,
that will oppress you all the way
from Lebo Hamath to the valley of the Arabah.’ Amos 5:14
It’s simple really, isn’t it? Why would we choose to stand alone when then God of the universe is promising to stand with us? Why would we choose to do it our way when the God of the universe is offering to show us the way? Why would we choose to face a situation armed just with our own resources when the God of the universe has all the resources of the universe at hand and is promising to give us everything we need?
And yet so many of us find it so hard to trust. To ask for help. From other people, let alone from God. I know people who resolutely refuse to ask for help and make their lives so much more difficult in the process. I don’t understand it, I really don’t. It’s a defence mechanism, I guess. If they don’t trust, they won’t get hurt. If they don’t trust, they can’t get let down. They see relying on someone else as weakness. We’ve been brought up in a society that encourages us to think that way – to think as an individual, to prove that we can go it alone, that we don’t need anyone else. Much of the self help material encourages us to look inside us to find all the strength that we need.
But to leave God out of the equation just seems bonkers to me. When I look inside for strength, I’m not expecting to find that strength in myself alone. I am trusting God to give me that strength. I’m standing before Him and saying I can’t do it alone. I’m opening up and allowing Him to fill me with what He knows I need. With the resources and love and peace and wisdom of the God of the universe there and available, why on earth would I choose to go it alone?
God hates it when we go it alone. He created us to be in relationship with Him. He hates it when when we decide to go it alone. That must seem like utter madness to Him. He longs for each one of us to be in relationship with Him.
To trust Him and obey Him.
There is no better way.