In chapter 6, the Spirit told us – “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” First on this list of things which God hates is pride. As I have asked before, isn’t it a shame that it isn’t homosexuality or abortion – sins in which you and I have never participated? Why isn’t it a sin confined to the person whom we might be most quick to despise? Why does God hate something which rises so near to the top of our own depraved hearts?
I wonder how many times I have been guilty of pride since the last time we met. I spent only a quick minute asking myself that question, because I didn’t really want to know the answer. I was guilty, or perhaps nearly so, when I was able to up load some sermons to our Facebook page. I don’t think I was as much proud of the messages as I was of my success at uploading them. And I was slightly proud of the fact I lost two pounds recently. But about how many other things have I been proud recently? Does God hate all my pride equally? And what about yours?
Tonight, I have very little more for you than an incomplete Bible survey. My thoughts began last week when I read in verse 10 – “only by pride cometh contention.” Is the Holy Spirit saying that pride is the only source of contention? That seems a little restricted. For example, doesn’t greed ever produce contention? And what about jealousy? Aren’t there a number of sins which might develop into the further sin of contention? Might the source of the infection in our body come from a wound, something we breathed, a bug bite or any of a number of other things? To answer my own question, I suppose that if we looked deeply enough we might find that pride is a part of greed and jealousy.
Despite those thoughts, I think Solomon is saying that pride produces contention and not anything good. Pride does not create eternal joy, it doesn’t glorify our Saviour and it cannot bring friends closer together – except in sin. Pride is not a good thing, and it doesn’t create good things. It isn’t something blessed by God; pride is at the top of God’s most hated list.
Besides contention, what else does the Old Testament tell us about the product of pride?
Psalm 10:2 – “The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor.” Pride produces persecution. Proverbs 14:3 adds “in the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride.” Going back to our messages last Lord’s Day, pride plays a role in the oppression we see around us. With what kind of attitude does the homosexual or ACLU lawyer approach his case against the conscientious Christian? Humility and respect? No. With pride and unrighteous anger. In promoting their life-style, do Sodomites have “Homosexual parades?” No, they celebrate “Gay pride.” Despite the rhetoric, it isn’t fear or shame which push those people to prosecute Christians with Biblical principles and morals, it is pride and anger.
Psalm 31:20 ties together pride and the strife of tongues. Doesn’t much of the homosexuality controversy boil down to “strife of tongues?” But getting back to ourselves, how many times have we felt it necessary to defend ourselves in an argument, because our pride had been hurt in some way? It was as though we were chained to some idea or deed – something about which we were proud – and we were dragged into defending our pride. “Pride compasseth them about as a chain” – Psalm 73:6.
But what if that thing about which we were so proud a few minutes ago was not worthy of pride? What if we were proud of an error in opinion or fact, and our neighbor exposed our mistake? Right at the heels of pride runs the bulldog of shame. Proverbs 11:2 – “When pride cometh, then cometh shame.” How quickly do you think I will regain those two lost pounds plus one or two more? Is there really any room for pride in such a trivial and transitory victory? And then what will follow when I do regain that weight? “A man’s pride shall bring him low” – Proverbs 29:23. Would I have not been better off, not even mentioning my two pound victory?
Not only does God hate pride, but Isaiah 23:9 adds another dimension to that hatred. “The LORD of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth.” Therefore as Peter says, in his first epistle – “be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” Jeremiah 13:9 tells us that God will mar the pride of man. To “mar” something is usually understood to mean – scratch or somehow deface. And certainly the Lord can do that. But the Hebrew word is 15 times more often translated “to destroy.” God will destroy the pride of man. Proverbs 16:18 is very often heard whether or not it is often understood or applied – “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” “Is that a threat”
demands the proud man? No, that is a promise.
Do you remember the history of Nebuchadnezzar as recorded in the Book of Daniel. Ignoring the warnings of the man of God who was in his employ, the King of Babylon became filled with pride over his foreign conquests and local improvements. So God took away from him his sanity and his pride, flinging him to the earth like an animal. “He was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.” But then the Lord was gracious towards that unworthy man, restoring to Nebuchadnezzar everything he once had an even more. And he publically testified, “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.” The God who hates pride is God enough to abase the proud.
As Daniel later explained it, “when (the king’s) heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed.” Pride produces a hardened mind. Pride makes it difficult for even rational people to think clearly – pride produces spiritual dementia. Isn’t that the cause of much of today’s evolutionary thinking? Obadiah 1:3 – “The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee.” Psalm 10:4 – “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance (and heart), will not seek after God; God is not in all (or any) his thoughts.” There is no room for the Creator in the heart of the person whose pride has made him his own god.
Although saying much about pride, the New Testament speaks only twice about its product and outcome.
When Paul was talking to Timothy about the qualifications necessary for someone seeking the office of a pastor, he said, ” Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” One of the effects of pride is “the condemnation of the devil.” What is this? One interpretation, within the context, is the just accusation and criticism of God’s enemy – the devil. The word “devil” in this case literally means “slanderer.” The more proud the man of God, the more exposed he will be to the attacks of God’s enemies. And flowing out of that, he comes also, under the judgment of God – the same judgment which is due to Satan and any other proud man or angel.
Our last reference to this subject comes from I John. John tells both the proud of heart and his victim, “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. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof.” In the presence of the Lord there is never any room for human pride. There will never be any pride, glory or boasting before the Almighty God, except in God Himself.
So the point of all this is that we must learn to hate and avoid pride as much as the Lord Himself hates it.