How much do you know about pride? I confess that I thought I knew the subject, and I expected that you knew it as well. But do you suppose that it was pride on my part which led me to believe that I understood pride? Looking over my records, I see that I have preached three messages with pride in their title. Only three? And then I opened up my concordance.
I bet no one in this auditorium can guess how many times the word “pride” is used in the New Testament. In Mark 7 the Lord Jesus lists a group of sins. Beginning with evil thoughts He mentions, “thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” The word “pride” in this case is the Greek word which mean’s haughtiness or arrogance. Then Paul, in speaking of a bishop says that candidates for bishop should not be “a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” This is a second Greek word which refers to highmindedness. And then John uses a third word when he says, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” The pride of life points to the kind of pride which manifests in boasting. Not all pride results in egoistical boasting; most pride is a lot more subtle than that. Those 3 verses are all there is in the New Testament, and they refer to three different kinds of pride. Perhaps your surprise will be tempered just a little when I tell you that the people who are “proud” are slightly more common. Tonight I am more interested in pride itself than in the people who harbor it, but they do overlap.
Similarly, “pride” is not nearly as common in the Old Testament as I used to think. Derivatives of four Hebrew words are used 44 times. And three of those words are used either only once or very infrequently.
The subject which the Spirit laid on my heart for our devotional this evening came out of verse 2. “When pride cometh, then cometh shame.” I asked myself how many times does the Bible tells us about the results of pride – the product of pride? And does the Bible speak about immediate results, or is pride a slow-moving, fatal disease? When I began to look for answers I stumbled on to other things which I hadn’t recognized before.
What are the results of pride? Half the scriptures referring to pride don’t relate to our question, so we’ll skip over them tonight. Those which do answer the question – almost without exception – don’t need explanation. They are as obvious as – what will happen if I use drugs – meth, heroine or marijuana? If I slit my wrist, what will happen to me? Yes, I might not die, but there will be all kinds of damage – physical, emotional and social.
Let’s start with what SOLOMON tells us are the results of pride.
Would you be surprised to learn that he uses the word only six times?
My wife is very loving and tolerant toward me; for example, she thinks that I’m sufficiently good-looking. But what if I grew a huge red wart on my forehead – half inch in circumference. Let’s say Judy hated it – really hated it. What if she couldn’t look at me because of my huge wart? I would go to the doctor asking her to cut it off. I would go to the trouble and pain to get rid of it. I would endure the bandage for a while and the stares and the questions. Because Judy hated it.
Now, listen to Proverbs 8:13 – “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” When Jehovah hates something, it is far more detestable than anything you, or my spouse might hate. Cut it off before the Lord removes it with a hacksaw.
Proverb 11:2 – “When pride cometh, then cometh shame.” As night follows day, shame follows pride – it might be hours away, but it is guaranteed. Proverbs 16:18 is a well known corollary – “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” We may all know the verse, and we can quote it at the drop of the proverbial hat. But how many actually take it to heart, and believe it? “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 13:10 – “By pride cometh contention.” Is someone going to be more upset with you when you are humble, or when you are arrogant? Is the Lord more apt to contend with you when you filled with yourself or when you are selfless? Proverbs 29:23 – “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.” As I have said before, it is easier to fall from a height than it is from a depth. By the Lord’s blessing I am sure footed. I cannot remember the last time I have slipped and fallen to the ground. Ice is not a problem for me. But I do not do well on heights. I have difficultly even looking at pictures taken from heights. I would be 10 times more likely to fall off a roof or ladder than on the iciest road on the windiest day. “A man’s pride shall bring him low.” The higher he is – or thinks himself to be – the harder he will fall.
What do DAVID and the PSALMISTS tell us about the results of pride?
“Psalm 10:2 – “The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.” One of the things we must remember in reading the Psalms is that they are more than poetry. When the Psalmist wishes, hopes or prays for something, it is more than just wishes and prayers. Those men were prophets, speaking under the direction of the Holy Spirit. So when David says, “Let them be taken in their devices that they have imagined,” the lesson is – “they WILL be taken in their own devices.” Do we want to feel what we want what others have been made to feel by evil men?
Again, we need to understand Psalm 59:2 in the same way – “For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride.” The proud WILL BE taken in their own words.
Psalm 73:6 – “Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.” There is not a person on earth, including the average Christian, who is not guilty of occasional pride. But we, who are under the blood, may think that Christ’s sacrifice for our sin some how provides for our escape from the practical results of our sin. Isn’t it our pride which makes even consider our escape?
Do the PROPHETS tell us anything about the deleterious effects of pride?
Listen to Isaiah – “We have heard of the pride of Moab; he is very proud: even of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath: but his lies shall not be so. Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab…surely they are stricken.”
Has there ever been anything which the Lord has purposed to do which he has not been able to perform? Isaiah 23:9 – “The LORD of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of ALL glory.” What is that thing in which you are most proud? Tone down your exaltation, lest the Lord see fit to turn that object of pride into something shameful. “He shall spread forth his hands in the midst of them, as he that swimmeth spreadeth forth his hands to swim: and he shall bring down their pride together with the spoils of their hands.” “The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet:”
Jeremiah what is your revelation about pride? Jeremiah 13:9 – “Thus saith the LORD, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem.” “But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD’S flock is carried away captive.”
And what do you have to say Ezekiel? “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy….Therefore I took them away as I saw good.” “Thus saith the LORD; They also that uphold Egypt shall fall; and the pride of her power shall come down: from the tower of Syene shall they fall in it by the sword, saith the Lord GOD.”
Nebuchadnezzar was not commissioned as a prophet of God, but he was sometimes used as one. Daniel 4:37 – “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.” Nebuchadnezzar knew what it was to be proud, but experienced was it was to be abased. “When his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him.”
Obadiah has this to say, “The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord.” And the Lord adds through Zephaniah adds, “I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain.” And through Zechariah he says, “I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.” Only the Philistine’s pride? No the Assyrians’ and everyone else. “And he shall pass through the sea with affliction, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up: and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away…. for the pride of Jordan is spoiled.”
I read through every verse which uses the word “pride.” And there are about just as many more which speak of people who are “proud.” It is safe to say that there is not a single verse using either word which says God blesses them.
There is nothing but prophesied problems for the proud. Pride brings about God’s judgment. There are NO exceptions.