There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.
What does God think about lying? There are two passages of the Bible that give us an idea of God’s perspective on lying.
Let’s look at a passage from the Old Testament: Proverbs 6, beginning with verse 16. This list arrests our attention immediately. “There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him” (v. 16). David Letterman has his “Top Ten” list. Well, God has his “Top Seven” list. Here are the seven things God hates the most: “haughty eyes, a lying tongue, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers” (vv. 17–19). Notice that out of the seven things God hates most, two of them have to do with lying: a lying tongue and a false witness who utters lies.
We also read in the New Testament about God’s attitude toward lying. Acts 5 records the first lie ever told in the church in the well-known story of Ananias and Sapphira. In Acts 4 we see that the church was receiving a collection, and the people were giving generously; they were laying their gifts at the feet of the apostles. Acts 4 concludes with the story of Barnabas, who sold everything he had and gave it to the church. He “owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:37). I’m sure Barnabas received a lot of praise for doing this.
Well, there was a couple in the church who saw that happening and they thought, Boy, we would like receive that kind of praise. We see their scheme in Acts 5: “A man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet” (vv. 1–2). Now the problem was not that Ananias didn’t bring all of the money; the problem was he was claiming to bring all of the money when he laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Peter knew right away that Ananias wasn’t being truthful. He said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control?” (vv. 3–4). In other words, Ananias and Sapphira could’ve done anything they wanted with the money. Nobody said they had to bring it all to the church. But they said the amount they brought to the apostle was all of the proceeds. Peter continued, “‘Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.’ And, as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and he breathed his last and great fear came upon all who heard it” (vv. 7–8).
God struck Ananias dead for lying to the Holy Spirit—lying to the church—in front of them. I have a friend who says that Peter missed a great opportunity. Had he taken a collection right then and there, he would’ve received the biggest offering in the history of the church. We preachers think that way. But that’s how God thinks about lying. He judged it immediately in the church so we would clearly understand His attitude about deception and falsehood.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “To Tell the Truth,” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.