One of the notable aspects of a wise man’s character is the way that he loves truth. Lies and falsehood are not good things for us to have in our lives. In fact according to the proverb today - they stink!
We read here that a righteous man hates falsehood. Just to review quickly, the righteous man is the one who loves what is right. He does not love what is right in his own eyes - but has learned to love what is right in the eyes of the Lord. This God makes known to us through His revelation of Himself and His will in the Scriptures. They are wholly truth, without any mixture of error. We can know and trust the way that right and wrong are portrayed for us in the Bible for it is God’s revelation of what they are to us. We, by the way, cannot be trusted with such things because we are fallen creatures who can easily be deceived - and honestly, who often deceive ourselves.
Hate is a strong word - and yet it is the word that God uses here to tell us what our relationship should be to falsehood. This is the Hebrew word “sane” which means to dislike, be hostile to, or to loathe something. It is wise to loathe falsehood - to intensely dislike it - and to be hostile to the acceptance of it in our minds and hearts. Falsehood refers to lying or doing something in vain. The phrase “in vain” may be lost to many today because it is not a commonly used word. It has the idea of doing something without meaning or purpose. When we live for things that are unacceptable to God, we are living in vain. There is no purpose or meaning to our actions or words - indeed even our lifestyle. The wise man hates such words, such choices, such a lifestyle. He longs to live in the truth - and to live in fellowship with the God of truth.
The wicked man is different. He acts disgustingly and shamefully. The first of these two words literally means to stink, to have a bad smell and came to refer to those who not only physically stunk, but also to those who were odious in their behavior. To say that the Lord is saying to us the lifestyle and choices of the wicked stink is not an understatement at all. The wicked act in a way that is odious to God. They spiritually stink! They also act shamefully. Their actions are disgraceful. They should be ashamed of how they act. Such actions should bring on humiliation and embarrassment. This is because they live out lies. The way they act is contrary to God’s ways - and as such is something to be ashamed of before Him and others.
The wicked man stinks! He stinks spiritually as he walks through life in rebellion toward God and toward the truth. He loves his own way and his own thinking and reasoning. The problem is that he smells to high heaven of rebellion, sin, disobedience, and godlessness. Fortunately for such people there is a place where they can get the stink of rebellion and falsehood off of themselves. That place is the cross of Christ. There, as William Cowper wrote, is where we can find the cleansing for our sin.
There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel's veins
And sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains
The dying thief rejoiced to see, that fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he , Wash all my sins away
The vilest, stinkiest person clinging to the falsehood of sin can be cleansed - de-odored if you will - by what Jesus Christ did at Calvary through His death, burial, and resurrection. Thus we can be changed from the stench of falsehood in our own ways and the ways of the world - to one who has the sweet smell of redemption and grace having had our sins washed away by our Lord Jesus Christ.