What happens when we do not live according to the wisdom of God? What happens when we reject God's view of things - beginning with His work in creation - and then widening to include an ever greater rejection of what He says and commands? That is what today's Proverb tackles.
This proverb meantions two views of God's wisdom. The first is to sin against wisdom. The second is to hate it. This speaks progressively of where we go in life as we convince ourselves that it is OK to reject the wisdom of God. The first step is to sin against wisdom. The word used for "sin" here means to miss the mark. Things begin as we miss the mark concerning what God says. It starts as simple as rejecting a command of God - or questioning whether we can even trust what God says. We miss the mark. The Hebrew word is "hata" and it means to miss the mark - but it also means to go wrong, to sin. The word was used of those who would miss the mark as archers or slingers. They would miss the target. But it also meant someone who would fail to reach a goal. Some miss wisdom by simply being ignorant of it - or not having any desire to read or study God's Word so as to grow in it. Their missing the mark, though unintentional at first - grows into a basic level of ignorance which is willfull. They see no real need to get God's wisdom - seeing that they think so highly of their own. They will do just fine in their own thinking - therefore to spend time studying to know God's viewpoint is silly and unnecessary.
When we live like this, the Bible tells us that we "injure" ourselves. Injure is the Hebew word "hamas" and it means to be violent - or to act violently or wrongly. It was used to describe unethical behavior. When we miss wisdom - we are hurting ourselves. It is not just an error we are committing - we are hurting and injuring ourselves. To reject God's wisdom is injurious to our well-being because God's ways are always best for us. This comes back to seeing that God created us - and therefore knows exactly what we need and what is the way we should live. If we are just the sum of purely accidental happenings over billions of years - it really does not matter what we do. Everything is meaningless anyway. But if we are the creation of God - there is not only a purpose - but a plan for us to follow to become what we were created to be and to do what we were created to do.
The latter stages of mankind's rejection of God is to eventually hate wisdom. At first the wicked are just annoyed by the wisdom of God. They are annoyed at a being who would claim absolute power, wisdom, and authority. But soon that annoyance would grow to become anger - and anger will give rise to hatred. The hatred grows out of a rejection of the notion that anyone or anything besides us have the right to control or even comment on our lives. The more one runs up against God's commands and against the consequences of rejecting them - the more they resent the God Who wrote them. That is why any sin - embraced long enough will bring us to the point of hating God. It is alway why the Word of God says in James chapter 4 that friendship with the world is enmity against God - the one who loves the world, hates God.
We are told that those who follow their sin to this point are ones who "love death." God came to give us life and life abundantly. His Word and His wisdom are filled with life. When we embrace it we receive an abundance of life and joy. But when we reject it - we begin to love death. It is fascinating to see how the more a society rejects God - the more it begins to embrace self-destructive, even death-loving behavior. This makes perfect sense when we see that a rejection of wisdom is the love of death.
May God give us grace to learn to love His wisdom. May we learn to treasure what He says to us - and to also treasure what His Word relates concerning the origins of all that He has made. These choices will lead us to love and embrace God's wisdom. To do otherwise is to love death. We've watched our society reject God's wisdom over the years - and also embrace a culture of death more and more. May we be those who embrace wisdom - the the overflow of life that comes with it.