Proverbs 15:8, 9
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
With whom is God well pleased? A great question, that has had many answers. The statement of the text gives us -
I. GOD'S ATTITUDE TOWARD THE WICKED.
1. Their whole life is grievous to him. "The way of the wicked is an abomination," etc. And this, not because they hold some erroneous opinions, nor because they make many serious mistakes, nor because they are betrayed into occasional transgressions; but because they determinately withhold themselves from his service; because they claim and exercise the right to dispose of their own life according to their own will; because they deliberately disregard the will of God. They are thus in a state of fixed rebellion against his rule, of settled disavowal of his claims upon them, of consequent neglect of his holy Law. Therefore their entire course or "way" is one of disobedience and disloyalty; it must be painful, grievous, even "abominable" in the sight of the Holy One.
2. Their worship is wholly unacceptable to him. If we "regard iniquity is our heart, the Lord will not hear us" (Psalm 50:16-22; Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 1:15). God "desireth truth in the inward parts;" he cannot and will not accept as of any value whatever the offering that comes from a heart in a state of determined disloyalty to himself and hatred of his law.
3. Their worship is positively offensive. It is "an abomination" unto him. And it is so, because:
(1) It is an act of conscious rejection of his claim; the worshipper is taking his Name and his Law upon his lips, and at the very time he is consciously keeping back from God what he knows is his due.
(2) It is an act of positive insult, inasmuch as it supposes that God will be indifferent to the wrong things the worshipper is doing, that he will take a few words or offerings instead of purity, truthfulness, integrity, submission.
II. GOD'S PLEASURE WITH THE RIGHTEOUS.
1. Who they are.
(1) They are not the absolutely perfect in creed or conduct; for these are not to be discovered.
(2) They are those who recognize in God the One whose they are and to whom they desire and intend to surrender their hearts and lives. It may be, it must be, an imperfect sacrifice; but it will be a genuine and therefore an acceptable one.
2. With what, in them, God is well pleased.
(1) With the whole spirit and aim of their life. "They follow after righteousness;" they have set their heart on being just, - to God their Creator; to their neighbours, and especially those closely related to them; to themselves. And their daily and hourly life will be an honest and devout endeavour to realize their aim (see Philippians 1:20; Philippians 3:12-15). It is they who truly desire and steadfastly endeavour, against whatever obstacles and with whatever stumblings and haltings, to be right and to do right, with whom God is pleased.
(2) With their devotion. The prayer of these "upright" souls is God's "delight." He is pleased when they reverently approach him, when they humbly confess their failures, when they gratefully bless him for his patience, when they earnestly ask him for strength and grace for coming duties and. struggles. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
WEB: The sacrifice made by the wicked is an abomination to Yahweh, but the prayer of the upright is his delight.