Here is a very small sampling of what the Bible explicitly says about human pride.
Proverbs 11:2 - When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom
Proverbs 15:25 - The LORD will tear down the house of the proud, but He will establish the boundary of the widow
Proverbs 16:5 - Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; assuredly, he will not be unpunished
Proverbs – 16:18 - Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling
Proverbs 18:12 - Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, but humility goes before honor
Micah 6:8 - He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
James 4:6 - GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE
1 Peter 5:5 - All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.
How can it be any clearer? God hates pride! He resists the proud! He will humble the proud!
Does this apply only to the one who doesn’t know Christ? Won’t the Christian be given a free pass? After all, he/she is forgiven the penalty against their sins, so won’t God just overlook the pride or arrogance of one of His children? To answer that, let’s consider an Old Testament King.
When the Old Testament historical books were written, a summation of a King’s reign was given before the events of the reign were discussed. It was stated up front whether the King was good or bad in the eyes of the Lord. That was the customary pattern, and one need only read the books of Kings and Chronicles to see this pattern.
Uzziah was a godly King that reigned for over 50 years in Judah (2 Chron. 26:1-5). After many years of walking with God and experiencing God’s gracious blessings, he became full of himself and arrogant (2 Chron. 26:16). In his arrogance, he sought to offer sacrifices, the work of the priests of God.
The priests confronted Uzziah and sought to stop him (2 Chron. 26:17-18). Instead of responding in humility and listening to the truth, Uzziah became enraged. His authority was being questioned, and he was being challenged. Imagine that, “mere” priests challenging the King!!!!
When Uzziah refused to listen, God struck him with leprosy (v. 19-20). Uzziah lived the rest of his life as a leper, cut off from Israel. His burial and tomb were that of a leper. In spite of his previous godliness and faithfulness, he suffered the fate of being considered a social outcast. All of this transpired because he was filled with pride and refused to listen to the truth. He knew the truth. He was even confronted personally with the truth. However, he thought he was above any ramifications.
As Paul addressed the Corinthians (1 Cor. 10) and referred to Israel’s past failures, he did so in order to admonish and instruct them not to follow Israel’s example. In verse 12, I want to quote Paul’s words to the Corinthians and refer them back to our consideration of pride and the Uzziah’s example:
“Let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.”
The moment you and I think we have overcome pride and won’t fall like Uzziah did is the our moment of failure. We have already fallen because in our pride, we have already declared ourselves above such temptation and failure! Take heed to yourself. If you stand and have not fallen because of pride, thank God! It is only because of His marvelous grace.
One more thought before I close. Notice that pride (in a person refusing to be broken by the truth), when confronted, strikes out in anger. Uzziah knew he shouldn’t offer the sacrifices. He was confronted with this truth again, and he struck out in proud, selfish anger. How dare anyone tell him he was wrong? How dare anyone call him into question? He could do whatever he pleased!
How would you respond if someone pointed out areas in which you were selfish or acting arrogantly? What if you are so full of yourself that you are blind to it, but everyone else sees it clearly? Out of love, one of your friends seeks to call it to your attention. How do you respond? Your response will speak volumes.
In our next post, we will see how someone broken by the truth responds when he/she is confronted.