At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.Proverbs 28:9
The carnal mind thinks of the externals of religion as somehow “better than nothing.” He knows that he is not the real deal, he knows that he is not “all in,” he knows that other people are a different kind of Christian than he is. But surely . . . surely he can contribute something?
Maybe he could give a big gift or something. Maybe he could go to church on Christmas and Easter. The tendency is to think of such gestures as things that somehow reach “part of the way.” In reality, they usually make things far worse.
If a man turns away his ear from hearing the law, the problem is that he is lawless. He has broken whatever law it was, and as a consequence has becomes a lawbreaker in every respect (Jas. 2:10). That is bad enough. But this proverb then says that to layer over the whole thing with a prayer is an abomination, like putting powdered sugar on a pig’s breakfast. This means that such behavior is loathsome to God. What the man has actually accomplished is to have become disobedient and loathsome.
The exception to this is, of course, any prayer of repentance. God commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30), and so He is of course pleased if they do. But what He cannot abide is for someone to walk into His presence as though nothing were amiss, as though God were so in need of someone to pray to Him that He would take whatever He could get.
But this kind of prayer is a detestable thing. It is repulsive, loathsome, and abhorrent. It is not helping anyone out with anything. God is holy, and so He cannot be gamed. “Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting” (Isaiah 1:13, NKJV).