I suspect that many readers have heard the admonition “Pride goes before the fall” (Proverbs 16:18). It is talking about one of the things that god “hates.” I suspect some of you are now saying that God doesn’t hate anything? Well, He does and pride and arrogance are on the top of the list. Proverbs 6:16 says there are six things that God hates and one more is an abomination to Him. Yes, “a proud look” or “haughty eyes” is number one, numero uno! This is right before a lying tongue and wicked, murderous hearts. What’s the big deal you might say? It seems that pride is the original sin of Satan and Adam and Eve in the garden. They wanted to be like God or God if possible and they thought it was possible. The fall has been cataclysmic for Satan and mankind. Now that I have your attention, let’s look at some other thoughts of God on the subject.
God has some even more direct words on our subject. “Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate” (Proverbs 6:13). This is from a “Wisdom” book of the Bible. In Isaiah God said, “I will halt the arrogance of the proud, and I will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible” (Isaiah 13:11). He is speaking against Babylon and the coming judgment of His creation. It was considered the crown jewel of religion and evil. How about that in one sentence. It was the “Evil Empire” of not Star Wars but the real world. Remember that Islamic leaders call the United States the “Great Babylon.” Perhaps it takes evil to know evil. Proverbs says, “pride will bring him/her low” (Proverbs 29:23). God speaks of Nebuchadnezzar, the evil King, in Daniel 6:20, saying “But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him.” I am beginning to get the drift of God’s guidance on arrogance and pride. I think it might be helpful now to turn to how boasting or pride might be thought of as OK.
Paul is speaking of boasting in 1 Corinthians 1:31, saying Therefore, as it is written: Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” He is speaking of how God chose us lowly ones to be his in Christ Jesus, so we can boast of God and God alone. Jeremiah the prophet says it well “This is what the Lord says: Let not the wise man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
I am led to think of the worship song by Amy Grant, which says, “If there is anything good that happens in life, it’s from Jesus!” I am getting this concept better and better as I grow in Christ to know God better. I have come to a place to know that there is nothing good in me, except what God has given me. There is a camp song that rings in my ears at times:
“You’ve got to walk that lonesome valley; you’ve got to walk it by yourself; oh nobody else can walk it for you, you’ve got to walk it by yourself.
I have traveled the trail with my horse and saddle; I’ve walked the way of the mountain man. Oh, nobody else can walk it for you, you’ve got to walk it by yourself.”
You might ask what this has to do with life? It is that as I travel the trail, I have learned I pray the lessons of arrogance. It was not long ago that a family Christian friend said to me, “you were very arrogant, but you have changed.” I am glad, but know this admonition of the Lord “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).