A Short Study of Proverbs 15:8

“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.” (Proverbs 15:8)


There is a manifest difference made in His elect by grace and the Holy Ghost. God makes His children “upright” and inspires them with the “Spirit of grace and of supplications” (Zechariah 12:10), and in the prayer of the upright are to be noticed the following things:

1. A plain confession before God that He would be just in sending them to the lowest hell for their own iniquities. Their mouth is stopped from boasting, neither dare they arraign God’s sovereignty, nor charge Him with injustice.

2. There are plain tokens of a broken and contrite heart, which the LORD will not despise. “He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.” (Psalm 102:17)

3. There is a laying hold at times, with a string hand, of mercy of the LORD in Christ Jesus. “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” (Luke 18:38); “God be merciful to me a sinner.” (Luke 18:13)

4. There is a clear proof in the prayer of the upright that none but Jesus can save and help them. “O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name” (Isaiah 26:13), which clearly shows that Christ is the soul’s only stay and resting place and secure abode. Those prayers that go up to God in the name of Jesus are His delight, and will be sure to meet with acceptance and bring down answers. “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” (John 16:23) That which makes the prayer of the upright God’s delight is that their prayer is produced by Himself and under the immediate operation of the Holy Ghost: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26) We ourselves delight to hear our little ones lisp out what we have taught them, and so, “The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.” (Psalm 147:11)

How condescending and how kind the LORD is to draw nigh unto us and to bless us when all helpers fail! He makes the upright His particular care and makes them love Him in return: “Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.” (Song of Solomon 1:4)

An upright soul will often have to complain of the coldness of his love, but if there were no love to Christ in him, he would not be the subject of such complaints. Put his love to the test and it would cleave to Christ in the very fires, as the martyr said: “I cannot dispute for Christ, but I can die for Him.”

God does not think so meanly of our prayers as we think. Those prayers which are often our burden are His delight. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6); for “the prayer of the upright is his delight.”


Henry Fowler (1779-1838)

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