The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him. The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but he loves him who pursues righteousness. ~Proverbs 15:8-9 ESV
The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but gracious words are pure. ~Proverbs 15:26 ESV
The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. ~Proverbs 15:29 ESV
According to Proverbs 15, wicked people:
- offer sacrifices to God, which are rejected
- make lifestyle choices that disobey and displease God
- are filled with habitual thoughts that do not honor God
- are distant from God, who doesn’t listen to their prayers
By contrast, righteous people:
- pray to the Lord, who accepts and acts upon their petitions
- pursue a life guided by godly wisdom, which endears them to God
- can expect God to listen to their prayers
But who is actually righteous? Who can enjoy these benefits? Romans 3:10 says, “as it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one…'”
If you are a Christ-follower, you have been redeemed by the death and blood of Jesus. God no longer sees your own righteousness, which scripture describes as “filthy rags.” The Bible teaches that Christians are seen by the Father as clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
All of us were once considered wicked, as described in these verses. But by the grace of God – undeserved favor – he drew you to himself. When you approached the Lord and sincerely asked for forgiveness, you instantly crossed from being one whose sacrifices were rejected to being a person whose prayers are embraced by the Creator.
Quoting from Isaiah 49:8, the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:2:
for He says, “At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”
There was a time, not long ago, when the Lord did not listen to you. But your contrition and repentance activated God’s favor on your behalf.
Today is the day of salvation, and God stands ready to listen to you and help you. Do you have friends or family members who God considers to be wicked? As you pray for them today, ask the Lord – who is not willing that any should perish – to lead them to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.