During this first month of a brand new year, I have asked my congregation to study and read Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. The last couple of readings in Proverbs dealt with pride. It is one of the characteristics that God said He hated. In Proverbs 6: 16 He actually tells us that there are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him. I don’t know about you but the word detestable is a strong word for hate. Then it goes on to list those seven things: “haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”
The nature or spirit of pride is something that is mentioned all through the Bible. Pride is what got Satan kicked out of heaven. Pride is what got into Saul and cause God to snatch the kingship of Israel away from him. Pride is what caused the Pharisees to harass Jesus who ultimately led the Romans to arrest, convict and sentence him to death.
All of us have a bit of pride in us. Some of it is cloaked in false humility, timidity, shyness, but ultimately at the root of it all is pride. We tend to think more highly of ourselves even though we are warned in scripture not have an overly exaggerated opinion of ourselves. We are told in the Word to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. God is the one who will exalt establish and settle us.
I was came across a devotional that dealt with the issue of pride. There was an individual, I don’t know if it was a male of a female that attended a Sunday worship service. This individual found themselves distracted and somewhat annoyed by a person who was sitting next to them. He sang loudly off key and was out of sync during the unison readings. This individual said that when he bowed his head during a time of prayer, it struck him that the Lord must surely be more pleased with that individual who sang off key, whose heart was in the right place, than He was with the judgmental feelings He saw in mine.
I am certain, if we would admit it, that we are selves have experienced a similar occasion or action. We are good at making judgment calls against our neighbors, even in the church for example” Why is Deacon Johnson praying so long, does he think he is the only one that can pray, why does it sound like he is singing his prayer instead of speaking his prayer? I can pray better than that, it don’t take all day to get a prayer through! I don’t think we realize that our God is a mind reader! HE KNOWS WHAT YOU AND I ARE THINKING BEFORE WE SAY IT. WE ARE SNARED BY OUR OWN THOUGHTS, SPOKEN OR UNSPOKEN!
Listen, it doesn’t take much for that spirit of pride or even a proud look to cause us to slip into an area of judgment and sin. Remember, God says he hates pride! Today I read in Proverbs 8:13 where it says that wisdom personified declares, “I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” Throughout this chapter, wisdom tells us to gain a prudent or understanding heart (5) and to find life and obtain favor from the Lord (v.35). The alternative is to develop a sense of entitlement and superiority over people who you think are less important than you. The tragedy of this mistake is that we die inside in the process (v.36) because PRIDE is a sword that wounds the person who uses it along with those whom it is used. Arrogance robs us of all God longs to gives us, but “humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life” (v22:4)
THE BOOK OF PROVERBS: 10 REFLECTIONS FROM OUR DAILY BREAD. ARROGANCE AND PRIDE, DAVID McCASLAND
Embellishment by Pastor Lydia P. Ford