All Who Hate Me Love Death
It is pandemic in the church. We tote our Bibles around. We affirm our commitment to the Word’s inerrancy. We may even read it faithfully. This, however, is well short of believing what it says. We still have to deal with our propensity to diminish the plain teaching of the text, to metaphor-phosize the text into oblivion. God says something straightforward, but shocking, and we turn it into something vapid, safe.
Consider, for instance Proverbs 8:36b, “All those who hate me love death.” Jars the ears, doesn’t it? To make it more palatable we have a few options. First, we can reduce the subject. That is, we’re willing to confess that Stalin, Hitler, Jeffrey Dahmer, bin Laden, they hate God, and we can see from their fruits that they love death. Trouble is, the rest of the Bible reminds us that all of us, in our natural state, are “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3), are all at enmity with God (Romans 8:7). Before He gives us new life, we hate Him.
What we’re left with then is diminishing the object. “Love death” has a certain macabre poetic ring to it. It must be, because it sounds poetic, a metaphor, and therefore we can tame it. Maybe all we’re supposed to get is that haters of God are self-destructive. They would rather rule in hell than submit in heaven, and so in that sense they “love” death. But in the here and now, as our neighbors, they are nice, normal people, right? They keep their lawn trimmed. Wear their seatbelts. Some of them even give to the United Way. That doesn’t sound terribly bloodthirsty, does it?
God, however, didn’t give us His Word to remind us of the banal. He isn’t given to belaboring what is right before us, pointing out the noses on our faces. Rather He gives us His Word so that we might better see what we are otherwise blind to see. We live in a world of zombies. Polite, seatbelt wearing zombies.
Consider the perverse practice of homosex. In God’s created order when a man and wife come together there is natural fruit, children. Without a man and a woman, however, no life will come forth. Children are seen as a burden, a hardship. Even the President, in describing his own pro-abortion convictions suggested, that if either of his daughters should conceive he wouldn’t want them “punished with a baby.” We hate death when we embrace barren behavior.
Of course the grisly reality that we live in a world of zombies is never more clear than with respect to the wanton destruction of the unborn. We live in a land where every year over 1.2 million moms, usually accompanied by husbands, boyfriends or fathers, murder their own unborn children. More than one out of four (28%) women in America aged 15-64 have killed their own babies. Among women 40-55, four out of ten American women (40%) have at least once intentionally killed their own baby.
Because, however, it is done in secret, in the shady part of town, because we don’t talk about it, we miss what we are, even though God tells us in His Word. Because we willfully prefer to live in a make-believe world of sterile denial we do not believe what God has told us. We are haters of God, and lovers of death. That’s not poetry, but cold, sober-minded calculation.