What a challenging statement that is, “all who hate me love death”! It is the final statement in Proverbs 8, a chapter which begins with the question, “Does not wisdom call?” (compare Proverbs 1:24, “I have called and you refused to listen”.) In today’s chapter it is followed by the question, “Does not understanding raise her voice?” How many fail to understand the reason for life, what it is all about.

This remarkable chapter personifies wisdom as a person who is wise in the way they live. “My mouth will utter truth” says wisdom, “wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are righteous, there is nothing crooked or twisted in them” (verses 7,8). Wisdom has a sister called “Prudence” – a word defined as the quality of being foreseeing and discreet – and so in verse 12 we read, “I wisdom dwell with prudence and I find knowledge and discretion”.

The next verses say, “The fear (awe) of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. I have counsel and sound wisdom; I have insight; I have strength. By me kings reign and rulers decree what is just”. Is there a ruler who can be described in this way now? Even Solomon in his old age faltered.

In the New Testament James states that, in contrast to human wisdom, “the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (3:17). Jesus is the embodiment of wisdom and one day soon he will return from his Father’s side to reign with true wisdom and those who have loved wisdom will rejoice and receive fruit because of their love.

My final quotation is “My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold … granting an inheritance to those who love me … (verses 19,21). And what an inheritance! In contrast – remember how the chapter ends, “all those who hate me love death”. Of course they do not “love” death but because they turn their back on wise thinking and doing, in God’s eyes they “love death”. There is no in between position in life, it is either the broad way or the narrow way! How increasingly uncomfortable it must be to try to ‘walk’ having a foot on each path! Too late – it is realised it is impossible!