The Pride of Life
So why then,
is it so hard sometimes for us to repent: to change our hearts and dedicate ourselves
to pleasing God? The hard and fast answer is:
pride. The bible is full of wisdom about prideful, arrogant, smug, self-important
people. The books of Proverbs and the Psalms provide basic instruction on how
to live and how to understand the heart of God. In Proverbs 8:13 we read:
fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
And in Psalms 10:4:
wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.
is: because of pride, we do not seek after God; we don’t think about what
He would have us do. If we feared and respected God, we would turn away from
prideful and arrogant behavior. And so, the prideful, arrogant man is labeled
as wicked, and God cannot abide in wickedness. So pride removes us from God’s
In 1 John
2:16 we read:
16 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.
From the Old Testament to the New Testament, we find that pride is not of
God. Pride is of this world. And
anything not of God, is of Satan. The more prideful we are, the less likely
we are to consider God in our actions. The arrogant person begins to think that
they are the reason for all their successes and triumphs. And thoughts like this
move us further and further away from God. Until God and His word become a distant
memory; an old fashioned custom that grandma used to practice out of superstition and ignorance. But you’re much too smart for that mumbo-jumbo. You
don’t need silly traditions and rituals. You have your laptop, your Blackberry,
your Ipod, your Xbox, your DVD and your HDTV. Everything you need to know can
be Googled. You have no need of a God who expects you to admit when you’re
wrong. And certainly, you don’t need a God who requires worship. You have plenty of electronic gods to worship and of course, yourself.
is not only for the individual, but entire nations have fallen under its spell. The
bible is full of examples of proud, arrogant kingdoms and cities that, collectively, thought that they were above the needs
of an omnipotent God. Such was the case of the city of Sodom. We all know the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. We’ve read and heard how Lot was the only man in an entire city that loved God, and as such, was spared. But we read in Ezekiel that Sodom had more
problems than just sexual sin.
In Ezekiel 16:49 we read:
this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness
of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
they had an abundance of food and luxuries, the citizens of Sodom
were prideful and lazy. They became smug and arrogant and looked down their noses
at the poor and needy. They became those who look at the homeless and say, ‘Get
a job!’ They became those who generalize that every person on public assistance
is lazy. They should just pick themselves up by their own boot straps. No one ever gave me anything. I had to work for everything
I got. They became those who sweep the homeless off the streets of their city
and deposit them on Skid Row. Out of sight, out of mind. Sodom became a city of proud, conceited,
arrogant people whose thoughts moved further and further away from God; until He became, for them, just a nuisance to be mocked
and derided. And anyone who believed in such a God became the subject of ridicule.
I am reminded
of scripture found in John 15:25
But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written
in their law, They hated me without a cause.
I find it interesting that in a country as abundantly blessed as America, that so many so adamantly hate Jesus Christ. In my work, I regularly research the internet; various chat rooms and bulletin boards. Just the mention of the name of Jesus evokes so much venom and hatred from some, it
might surprise you. You can discuss rape, murder, demons, angels, aliens, UFO’s,
Big Foot, sexual perversion or homosexuality and your computer screen will light up with responses. Lucifer is admired and the devil is just a figment of the imaginations of old church leaders. But you start talking about Jesus Christ, and you will be run out of that chat room on an electronic rail.
There are millions of people in this country who claim to love God, as long
as He is conformed to their image of a loving God who gives them what they want, when they want it and asks for nothing in
return. A God who will allow them to be reprobate and debase and who will give
them an infinite number of warnings, never to be followed by consequences. But
you start talking about a God who gave His only son Jesus Christ in remittance for your sins, and you might have a fight on
your hands. Those same millions who claim to love God, really just love themselves. They just put an old, wise-looking face on their idea of what God is. In their hearts, they are god. In their hearts, they hate
Jesus without a cause.
And so, we come back to America, or
was it Sodom? Full
of pride and arrogance. Full of self-importance and conceit. We sometimes hear people say, ‘Pride goes before a fall’.
But the word tells us in Proverbs 16:18:
goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
a big difference between a fall and destruction. When you fall, you can usually
get back up. But destruction is very final.
There’s no getting up from destruction. Pride separates us from
God and His protection and guidance. So when our consequences come to bear, there’s
no one standing in the gap, so to speak. It’s just us and our pride to
bear the brunt of the coming destruction.
example of the pride of a king and his kingdom is found in Daniel
28 All this came upon the
king Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. 30 The king spake,
and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for
the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? 31 While the word was in the king's
mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.
32 And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to
eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men,
and giveth it to whomsoever he will. 33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and 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.
34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding
returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting
dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: 35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing:
and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand,
or say unto him, What doest thou? 36 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine
honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom,
and excellent majesty was added unto me. 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.
The Lord had used Nebuchadnezzar to accomplish His chastisement of Israel and Judah
by allowing him to rule over them. And in doing so, Nebuchadnezzar was introduced
to the God of Israel through Daniel. After much turmoil and rebellion during his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had finally come to
a time of peace and prosperity in his kingdom. But instead of thanking God and
giving Him the glory for the abundance of his kingdom, Nebuchadnezzar began to praise himself.
He became prideful and removed himself from God’s presence. And
so, God removed Nebuchadnezzar from his kingdom. Many try to rationalize that
Nebuchadnezzar simply had a bout of mental illness; which could be true. But
the reality is that God affected Nebuchadnezzar’s mind; his ability to reason and control himself. Nebuchadnezzar became like a beast of the field. And for seven
long years, Nebuchadnezzar lived like an animal: enduring the elements, eating
grass and looking every bit the part of an animal.
And while those who rationalize that Nebuchadnezzar was simply schizophrenic, it becomes
apparent that God was in control of this situation. Because after those seven
years, Nebuchadnezzar looked up; for, as it is said in the word, his redemption was drawing nigh. And suddenly, he remembered who he was; and whose he was. He
remembered that God is the author and finisher of our faith. He remembered that
he would bless the Lord at all times; God’s praise would continually be in his mouth.
Through his disgrace and dishonor, humility took the place of pride. And
instead of Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom being destroyed, pride and arrogance were abolished, and with it Nebuchadnezzar’s