Here are my teaching notes for Bible fellowship tonight. Enjoy and ponder this important message.
Pride is one of the most destructive forces of mind, body and heart on the planet Earth. Since the beginning of time, pride has reared its ugly head and has caused widespread devastation. The most harmful thing about pride is what it will do to our relationship with God. Pride will wreck and ruin your walk with God and erects an iron curtain up against closeness and intimacy with God. Pride replaces God and arrogantly takes its reign on the throne of our hearts. Pride is a king doomed to fail, and unless we deal with pride daily and eradicate all remnants of it from our heart and life, we will never walk with God and bear fruit for His glory. Pride is all about the glory of man not the glory of God. Pride is a subtle enemy of the heart and can be very deceptive to detect in our lives. Pride always exalts self above God. Pride is the great catalyst of all rebellion and idolatry against God. Pride is at the heart of all evil and drives a person farther and farther from the heart of God.
It is amazing what pride can do to the human heart. Pride corrupts the heart and is like a terminal disease that spreads into the heart and brings death. Pride kills your love for God, kills your passion for God, and kills your desire for God. Pride is behind every sin ever committed, every rebellion against God and His Word, and every fall of the heart of a person from the loving embrace of His Creator. Pride is the number one destroyer of relationships in the world including our relationship with God. We must guard our heart against pride or relationship with God will harden and wither away. Pride is the enemy of intimacy with God. Pride is the great destroyer of selfless love for our God with all our heart, soul mind and strength. Pride is a robber who with great stealth comes into the heart and steals our destiny. Pride is the fuel of all idolatry as it always sets itself up against God Almighty and His words of life contained in the Bible. Pride can grow and develop and sets its roots into the heart to where it can become very difficult to uproot it from our lives. Only with the help of God can pride be destroyed and kicked out our hearts.
Proverbs 16:18: Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Pride has made insidious roads into Christianity especially among its leadership, the pastors, the deacons, the missionaries, the authors, the musicians, the evangelists, the preachers and the scholars. Pride, envy, boasting, self-glorification, strife, smugness and arrogance are running rampant throughout the churches, the mission fields, the studios, the Christian television stations and the seminaries. “It is my ministry; look how great it is! Look what I have done! Look at how many people I have coming! I am bigger than you; more important than you; nothing is going to get in my way! I revel in the glory of the masses; I am a famous Christian; everyone knows about me; I am building my kingdom. Jesus is going to have to move over and give me that special place in his kingdom! I will do whatever it takes to get bigger; to get known better; to have more influence; I am the great savior for without me I just don’t know where Christianity would be; my ministry is so much more vital than any other and I demand the recognition I deserve! Bow down to my reputation! Recognize my ministry! Stand in awe of my knowledge and insight for I have God’s ear! ” II Timothy calls them lovers of self more than lovers of God, proud, boasters and covetous only having a form of godliness. It is fake; it is religion at its best; it is dangerous for it comes from a hardened heart that is light years away from the heart of God. God resists this type of arrogant, prideful Christian leadership and it only leads to destruction. Pride is destroying the Christian witness for Jesus Christ. It is simply pathetic how much pride there is in modern day Christianity and it looks so good on the outside, seems so harmless, and looks like it is doing the work of the Lord, yet it is leading many a soul down a path of destruction. Pride is the great deceiver as Obadiah declares that “the pride of thine heart hath deceived you!” God has absolutely nothing to do with pride and pride is never stagnant as it grows and wants to dominate and control everything in its path. If you do not destroy pride in your heart it will destroy your love, your purpose, your calling, your heart and your destiny. In no uncertain words, my plea to every Christian is kill pride now from every vestige of your heart. We were born with a sin nature that embraces pride, that loves pride, and that worships pride. It is so easy to fall into pride, but pride is the great destroyer of marriages, families, churches, communities, countries and individual lives.
Job 20:4-7 Know you not this of old, since man was placed upon earth. That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment? Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds; Yet he shall perish forever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is he?
Pretty humbling words in Job for all those filled with pride. Should not we look to the example of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Philippians 2:3-11: Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.4Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
NIV: 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Nothing should be done out of strife or vain glory. NOTHING! We are to esteem others higher than ourselves. How we have missed that in Christianity! Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, MADE HIMSELF OF NO REPUTATION. He served God; He obeyed God; He served others and HE HUMBLED HIMSELF. What gives us the right to try to make a reputation or name for ourselves when even Jesus Christ did not try to when he walked in his ministry on the earth? Wake up leaders in the church as our job is not to make ourselves and our ministry known and get a reputation. It is to humble ourselves and serve God and others without the necessity of fanfare, a parade and high school band and our faces and name plastered all over creation. Only God deserves the glory. Would we serve God if no one ever knew about it? Would we humble ourselves and serve God in obscurity in the world where few ever notice or recognize it? God sees it. God notices it. God recognizes it when it is done with that kind of heart.
The devil never learned this lesson. Lucifer was breathtaking in beauty and wisdom as a great archangel and cherubim of God. He was the first being to ever have pride and it destroyed everything and caused an enormous fall from heaven that rocked the heavens and earth. All because of the pride of his heart that allowed sin to pour in. Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 set the framework and the pattern of all pride in the fall of Lucifer. Why do you think God put these sections in His Word? He wanted us to see the devastating effects of pride on our relationship with God first and foremost and how pride can turn a devoted heart to a rebellious heart against God.
Ezekiel 28:1: The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,
2Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:
God draws comparisons between the Prince of Tyrus and the Devil in this chapter and figuratively the Devil is referred to as the Prince of Tyrus. Pride in the most basic definition is lifting up your heart and declaring yourself God in some way, shape or form. It is a glorification of self and a casting down of God. It is to say to God, “You are not needed! I can do this! Look at my achievements, look at my accomplishments! Who needs God!” That is the heart of pride. Pride is to set your heart as the heart of God and that is exactly what the devil did. Pride is a proclamation that you occupy the seat and throne of your life. Simply when you peel away all the layers, pride is a declaration that you are god. We are deceived into not even realizing that this is happen but self-exaltation; self-glorification; self-glory is all rooted in pride and is a subtle proclamation of your deity. Pride always acts like it is God. Pride thinks it knows more than God; is wiser than God; is cleverer than God; is more enlightened than God and is better than God. Pride gives one a false sense of freedom and power. Pride gives one a rush of adrenaline and a thrill of being on top of the world. Pride is at the root of hatred. Pride is at the root of indifference. Pride is at the root of selfishness. Pride is the cause of all wars and conflict in the world. Pride always lead to disaster of the heart, and destroys all who revel in it. To give your heart to pride always will cause one to eventually fall into destruction. Pride is the recipe for death as it thrusts the heart against God and His purposes. Pride lifts up, sits and sets itself against God.
There are two words used for “God” in this verse to emphasize the incredible pride of this prince and the Devil. This haughty prince declared he was Elohim and El. Hebrew is a pictographic language and each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet represents a picture that can add incredible insight into the meaning of a word. The Hebrew word “El” is the Hebrew letter “alef” which is the picture of an ox and symbolizes the strength of an ox, and what goes first. The other letter is “lamed” which is the picture of a cattle goad or shepherd’s staff and means to control or prod forward and thus the word picture of “El” is God is the strong authority, the ox with strength and symbolizes that God leads with strength, that God is the one that directs us in the paths of His strength and that His strength should be the first authority in our lives. God is to be the first strength, the strong controller, the first voice and the strong shepherd. El means “might, strength and power.” Who occupies the El position of strength in your life? God or pride? God or self? God or an idol? Pride places ourselves as our strength instead of God. Pride tries to be the “El”, the strength of God, instead of relying on God’s awesome strength. Pride tries to be the first controller, the first voice, and the strong shepherd in our lives. Pride’s strength is fleeting and rests on sinking sand. Pride breeds weakness not strength for only God is “El”
God is El Echad “The One God”; God is El Hanne’eman “The Faithful God”; God is El Enyon “The Most High God”; God is El Emet “The God of Truth”; God is El Shaddai “The All-Sufficient God”; God is El Olam “The Everlasting God”; God is El Roi “The God who Sees Me”; God is El Yeshurun “The God of the Righteous”; God is El Gibbor “The Mighty One”; God is El De’ot “The God of Knowledge”; God is El Haggadol “The Great God”; God is El Hakkavod “The God of Glory”; God is El Hakkadosh “The Holy God”; God is El Hashamayim “The God of the Heavens”; God is El Chaiyai “The God of my Life”; God is El Channun “The God of Grace”; God is El Sali “The God of my Strength”; God is El Erekh Apavim Avi-Ha Tanchumim “The God of Patience and Consolation”; God is El Rachum “The God of Compassion”; God is El Malim Rachamim “The All-Merciful God” ; God is El Yeshuati “The God of My Salvation”
Any doubt who El really is? Who would even dare to occupy El’s throne? No matter how hard the devil tries or how much he desire, he can never be El. No matter how much pride tries and brandishes its chest it can never be El. Pride or the Devil can never occupy the position of El with any success for they do not unify but divide; they are not faithful but unreliable; they are not the Most High but the Most Low; they are not truth but lies; the are not all-sufficient but all-lacking; they are everlasting but fleeting and temporal like a shadow; they do not see with the heart of God but only see for their own selfish gain; they are not righteous but evil; they are not might but weak; they are true knowledge but false knowledge; they are not great but of no worth; they are not the glory of God but the glory of man; they are not the god of the heavens but simply of the world; they are not the true God of your life but the false God of your life; they are not patience and consolation but strife and agitation; they are not compassionate but hateful and hurtful; they are not merciful but critical and condemning; they cannot save but only destroy.
Weakness can be our greatest friend or greatest enemy-the great question is where will we turn in weakness? Weakness can be our greatest spiritual asset if know where to turn. Do we grab a hold of ourselves or grab a hold of God? Do we turn to the face of man or the face of God? We should be constantly staring in the face of God, El, as our strength. We should have faith in God’s strength rather than man’s natural strength. Look in God’s face that is where confidence and strength is. In weakness we gain strength by focusing on Him. God’s strength is made perfect in weakness.
II Corinthians 12:9-10 (NASB):And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
II Corinthians 4:7 (NIV): But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
O God forgive us for trying to be the strength in our own lives without you, trying to be mighty without you, trying to be powerful without you; trying to be the El of our own lives. O God let us always rely upon you as the strength of our lives; our power and our might. We are nothing without you. We absolutely fail without you. We crumble without you. Jeremiah 9:23 (NASB): Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.
The Devil also tried to become Elohim when he pridefully try to usurp the throne of God and had the cataclysmic fall from heaven. Elohim means “God the Creator” and it is the first word used in the Bible so there maybe no doubt who is to come first. Genesis 1:1 “God (Elohim) created the heavens and earth in the beginning.” Elohim is the only Creator and Sustainer of Life. The Devil in his pride thought he could be the great Creator and Sustainer of life. But the Devil does not create anything or sustain life. He is a parasite that feeds on life in his attempt to corrupt it; he is a counterfeiter not an originator. Evil is the absence of God’s goodness, light and love and pride turned the heart of Lucifer away from God into evil. Pride gives the illusion that it is creating something fabulous and lasting but its foundation is always sinking sand. Pride never sustains life but only destroys it. We can never be Elohim; not even close but oh how the heart of a person wants to be self-made. Pride tries to be the creator in your life but such arrogant foolishness only leads to confusion and catastrophe.
Am I fulfilling the purpose for which Elohim created me or is pride getting in the way? Does the way I live give a proper opinion of the majesty and power of my Elohim? Or rather the pride of my own heart? Have I accepted the fact that Elohim is my Creator and that He did not make a mistake in the way He created me and that he knoes better than me?
Ezekiel sets forth the progression of pride trying to be the El and the Elohim in the heart of Lucifer.
12Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.13Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.15Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 16By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.17Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. 18Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. 19All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.
Lucifer’s heart also became filled with violence which in the Hebrew means: cruelty, injustice, and to act violently and vehemently in thought, word, or deed against truth, right, justice, and goodness. Lucifer became the chief enemy of His loving Creator, and became cruel in every fiber of his being. Lucifer does not care for anything but to inflict violence, injury, and destruction on all of God’s creation. He cruelly wants to hurt the heart of God in anyway possible. Lucifer does not care who he hurts, who he kills, or who he destroys to get at the heart of God. Lucifer violently opposes the goodness of God. Lucifer hates the goodness of God and does everything in his power to blind the hearts and minds of people to God’s goodness. Lucifer also vehemently attacks the truth of God’s Word and its good message. He became selfish and so full of himself that he ruined his perfection before God. His brightness and splendor blinded him to the love and goodness of God. Intense pride in his beauty caused him to commit evil against God. His heart was so lifted up with pride that he ceased to praise and exalt his Creator. See how destructive pride is to your relationship with God?
Isaiah 14:12-20 (NIV): How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”
15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit. 16 Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: “Is this the man who shook the earth
and made kingdoms tremble,
17 the man who made the world a wilderness, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?”18 All the kings of the nations lie in state, each in his own tomb.
19 But you are cast out of your tomb like a rejected branch; you are covered with the slain, with those pierced by the sword, those who descend to the stones of the pit.
Like a corpse trampled underfoot,you 20 you will not join them in burial, for you have destroyed your land and killed your people. The word
Lucifer means “the shining one, the morning star, the light-bearer, and the day-star.” Lucifer was the light-bearer and brilliant morning star of God’s original creation. Lucifer’s brilliance and light were so beautiful and breathtaking he was referred to as God’s angel of light, the shining one. He was to shine the light of glory upon God, not himself. Lucifer was to bring great light to God’s creation; he was to enlighten God’s creation on the magnificent glory of God and His goodness. His wisdom, his light, and his beauty were all given to Lucifer so that His Creator, the one true God, would be glorified. The incredible knowledge that Lucifer had of the nature and character of God, namely, His goodness, His mercy, His love, and His greatness makes his fall from heaven almost incomprehensible. How could God’s trusted guardian of light betray him? How could this beautiful light-bearer turn his heart to darkness? How could the most beloved of God’s created angels plot to destroy his loving maker?
Lucifer became obsessed with himself and his beauty, power, and wisdom. His heart became filled with intense selfishness and pride, as illustrated by the repeated use of the pronoun “I” in verses 13 and 14. Lucifer said “I will ascend, I will exalt, I will sit, and I will be like.” He thought he was just too good, too wise, and too beautiful to play second fiddle to anyone. God needed to move over for Lucifer wanted to be worshiped and praised by all of God’s creation. A better translation of a part of verse 13 is “ I will exalt my throne above the star, God.” That is arrogant talk to say “my throne” and to say that it will be exalted above the throne of God Almighty. It is amazing how pride will cause someone to exalt himself above God and to foolishly think that he does not need God. Pride hardens one’s heart to where they become blind to the goodness and love of God. Lucifer’s obsession was to be like God, to occupy His throne, and to direct all worship, loyalty, and praise toward him.
Consequently, Lucifer fell from heaven and was cut down to the ground. The word “fallen” in verse 12 in the Hebrew means: to fall, to drop, to prostrate, to be overthrown, and at it root is a violent circumstance or event. The words “cut down” in the Hebrew mean: to cut off, to cut down, to cut asunder, to break off, to hew down, and implies a degree of violence. The word “ground” in the Hebrew means “earth” and refers to the planet Earth in this verse. This was a violent confrontation against God orchestrated by Lucifer. It was not a debate; it was not an argument; it was not a campaign; this was an all out war. Lucifer caused a mutiny in heaven and convinced a third of God’s angels to forsake their loving Creator and follow him into battle. Lucifer and his angelic army were overthrown and fell from heaven. He lost his exalted position in heaven and was cut off from the throne of God. He was cut down and broken off to the earth having forfeited his exalted position as mighty guardian archangel and light-bearer because of his rebellion.
Lucifer became creation’s first criminal, first rebel, first outcast, first evildoer, and first liar. He hated God even more intensely for having kicked him out of heaven and
taking his authority and high rank from him. He no longer was God’s trusted archangel, and by his choice, he became God’s chief enemy and antagonist. The devil’s heart burned within him with unrelenting rage to get back at God and destroy all the good things of God. The devil is the father and originator of evil, as his entire nature became corrupted with every evil characteristic. The fallen angels who followed his folly became his captains, lieutenants, sergeants, and devoted servants in the kingdom of darkness. This army of evil spirit beings became the sworn enemy of the goodness of God and His purposes . They would do everything in their power, under the direction of the devil, to obstruct, impede, limit, confuse, and deceive the world about the true knowledge of God, and the truth of His Word. It was a battle of worship and allegiance of the souls of every man, woman, and child on Earth. It is the classic battle of God’s goodness against the devil’s evil and the devil uses his major tool of pride to get people to fall into the some trap he did. Pride blinds you to what it is doing to your relationship with God until often it is too late as pride finishes its destructive path.
The first recorded sin in all of God’s creation involved pride. Ezekiel 28:17 states, “Your heart was lifted up [margin, “proud”] because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.” Not only was what Lucifer thought about himself the overall cause of his downfall, it also corrupted the wisdom that should have kept him from falling. Pride blinded him to its own existence and to the impossibility of what he was trying to do! It set in motion a reaction to God that continues to today.
The first phrase in that verse is the key one here for this sermon. “Your heart was lifted up.” Here we find the beginning of pride. This pride that is flowing from him is pretty serious business. In Job 41:34 is an interesting statement. In this chapter “leviathan” is being described and the one He is talking about is Satan the Devil, and this verse says:
Job 41:34 He beholds all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.
Symbolically, “leviathan” represents Satan. Animals are not proud. Animals act according to the patterns that are established by God in their brain. They can only act and react according to those things, and pride is not part of what they are equipped to feel and exhibit. But Satan was different. He is the king of pride. We know that he is the one who generates pride in human beings. It is what pride promotes in the way of conduct that is damaging. It is its fruit that causes multitudes of problems. These problems will never be eradicated until pride is eradicated, because as long as the seed of pride is alive there is a very good chance that it is going to spring forth in ugly relationship-damaging conduct.
In Ezekiel 28 we read that pride motivated Satan, moving him to talking against God, thus gaining sympathizers for his point of view that God is unfair. When he felt ready, he made war against the Almighty. That is hardly designed to make friends, and be at one with your Creator.
“A haughty look, a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked are sin” (Proverbs 21:4). This seems to confirm that pride gives birth to more tangible sins. As plowing prepares the earth to produce crops, so pride prepares the way to produce other sins. Some Bibles translate plowing as “lamp,” indicating lighting or guiding the path into other sins. Haughty look shows comparison is taking place and reveals the very essence of pride: perverted comparison, a wrong judgment regarding the value or importance of self, skill, intelligence, etc.
Beauty, as expressed in Ezekiel 28:17, should not be confined to how Lucifer judged his outward appearance, because it is later expanded to splendor. God says of him, “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (verse 12). He “had it all”—good looks, brains, skill and power! And it got to him. His very gifts, his strengths, deceived him into misjudging his value in comparison to others.
Psalm 10:4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.
It is pride that hinders us from seeking God. For those of us who are already called, the seeking is not to find God, because He has already revealed Himself to us. The seeking urged upon us is to be like Him. This seeking requires day-to-day application of what is already revealed. In Psalm 10:4 we find that pride stands in the way. Pride resists God rather than seeking Him. How, then, can one be with God without seeking Him? It is impossibility. This lays bare the central issue here.
An alternative translation of the last phrase is: “All his thoughts are that there is no God.” This is interesting within the context because it begs the question: What does a person who is not mindful of God think about? What can he think about? He can only think about himself and those who are close or important to him? say, those who are part of his family. Nevertheless, they are not God. The person can see who they are and what they do. He looks around him and all that has been accomplished. His proud thoughts are of the greatness of man because he perceives that man has accomplished all of this, not God. In the minds of those who believe man is so great, considering all of his vaunted achievements, there is room for none greater, because that person cannot see anything greater.
We can see in this why God has such a strong issue with pride: because pride generates self-sufficiency, and self-sufficient people will not seek what they do not think they need and therefore do not want. They think they are all right the way they are. Pride blinds people to their needs.
Daniel 5:20 But 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.
Pride precedes the fall. “Hardness of heart.” Pride makes a person hard, whether against God, or people. Rather than being tenderhearted, kind, and forgiving, and sensitive to God and man, childlike and easily appealed to, the person becomes uncooperative and resistant, and insistent that his one way is the only way. Nebuchadnezzar paid a bitter price, living seven years as an animal. God apparently left just enough mind in him that he could repent, but it still took him seven years.
This verse is saying that just as surely as ploughing precedes and prepares for the productions of the earth, so does pride prepare for the production of sin. It is at the base of almost every sin. In some Bibles the word “plowing” may be translated “lamp,” but it has the same sense, meaning, “That which guides or lights the way into sin is pride.”
Now we are going to see why pride produces sin.
Obadiah 1:3,4 The pride of your heart has deceived you, you that dwells in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high: that says in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though you exalt yourself as the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars, thence will I bring you down, says the Lord.
Here we find a simple statement to help us understand how pride ploughs the way to sin. Pride deceives one into believing wrongly, and thus doing wrongly. Now into what does pride deceive? The context here clearly shows Edom is quoted by God as saying, “Who will bring me down to the ground?”
Edom dwelt in the mountainous territory south of Judea where Petra was its stronghold. They thought that the combination of their military strength and impregnable position made them impossible to defeat. You might notice that verse 4 adds a bit of the answer actually to this picture.
What had pride done? It had deceived them into believing that they were secure, self-sufficient, quick-witted, intelligent, and strong enough within themselves to stand. You see, therein lies pride’s power—the power to deceive one into thinking that one’s position is unassailable, absolutely right, and self-sufficient.
Pride springs from an unjustified sense of well-being, wealth or strength. The righteous are justified in looking to the Lord for safety, but the wealthy and proud man falls to his destruction because, in his perverted judgment, his confidence is in the wrong place.
Isaiah 2:6-18 amplifies this theme clearly. In the vanity of our pride we put our trust in material strengths. A sense of strength perverts our judgment and soon we are in conflict with God and men. Twice in this brief section God says He will bring low the haughtiness of men. Lucifer’s pride hardly endeared him to God—it eventually brought him into open conflict with Him! He was cast down (brought low) to earth, but because his pride is still influencing him, the worst is yet to come. And in the interim, he is infecting us with his most dangerous attribute.
His influence over humanity is seen in Ephesians 2:2. “In which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” Though written in the past tense, this section does not mean we are free from the influences broadcast by that wicked spirit. If we do not guard against them, we are fully capable of receiving his attributes, which pride is the first and most prevalent. Remember Job 41:34 “He is king over all the children of pride.” There is no doubt who this is describing! James 4:6 and I Peter 5:5 both quote a version of Proverbs 3:34 “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
One of the primary themes of Scripture is fallen man’s desire to be God rather than submit to the God who created man in His own image. If we are honest, we see that in ourselves again and again. Set within the incredibly enlightening context of verses 18-32, Romans 1:25 talks about how man “exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator.” How’d that work? Not well, because, as everyone on earth knows from the yellow-Post-it-Notes scene in the movie, Bruce Almighty, man makes a very poor God.
After studying civilizations across the whole span of history, noted historian Arnold Toynbee concluded that the paramount religion of mankind is self-worship…of man as god. Tal Brooke agrees, stating that the great lie that man is God is:
“…the foundation stone of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sufism, Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism, the Kabala, the Greek Hermetic, Eleusinian and Gnostic beliefs, Neo-Platonism, all the occult creeds from Theosophy and the Masonic orders to the Rosicrucian’s (and) the New Age movement. The Great Lie is…the belief that man is God, that his true identity is the immortal self…that as God, he will never die (and) sin and depravity are…illusions since this inner divinity is at man’s core.” (The Great Lie, Tal Brooke, SCP Journal, Vol. 29:2-29:3, 2005)
Every false faith system, including Classical Darwinism (and, in essence, no-faith systems like atheism and agnosticism), teaches that man can and will save himself. Is that not man making himself God? Everyone who does not believe in the God of the Bible is making up another God, and thus, in essence, making himself God.
At the root of man’s craving to be God is his desperate desire to repudiate the truth of original sin so that he is not accountable for his selfish behavior. That necessitates the obliteration of the transcendent God and His prescribed moral order for man, His crowning creation. In his book, Connecting, Larry Crabb writes:
“Sin is any effort to make life work without absolute dependence upon God. It is giving higher priority to my satisfaction than to God’s pleasure. It involves a follow-up commitment to find joy for my soul outside of God, a commitment rooted in the belief that there is something truly good that God does not provide. It boils down to self-dependence, self-preoccupation and self-centeredness, attitudes that look to other people and things for the satisfaction we were designed to enjoy.”
James 4:4-6 in the Phillips Paraphrase …
You are like unfaithful wives, flirting with the glamour of this world, and never realizing that to be the world’s lover means becoming the enemy of God! Anyone who deliberately chooses to love the world is thereby making himself God’s enemy. Do you think what the scriptures have to say about this is a mere formality? Or do you imagine that this spirit of passionate jealousy is the Spirit he has caused to live in us? No, he gives us grace potent enough to meet this and every other evil spirit, if we are humble enough to receive it. That is why he says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’
Leviticus 20:26 “You shall be whole because I am whole, and therefore I am separating you from the peoples in order that you should be mine.”
That, finally, is what God is aiming at. He wants us to be his. Here the verb tense becomes very interesting. In our English text, this is in the future tense: “you shall be mine.” But the Hebrew has a strange usage, very different from English. You can put all three tenses in one word, and that is what we have here. God is saying, “You were mine, you are mine, you shall be mine.” “Mine,” he says, that’s all:”Mine!” It includes all the tenses of life—the past, the present, and the future.
Pride is the root of all sin and through which all sin flows.
FOR GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD:
Opposed (498) (antitasso from anti = against + tasso = order, set) means to set an army in array against, to arrange in battle order (to line oneself up against). Antitasso was a military term found in the papyri meaning “to range in battle against” and pictured an army arrayed against the enemy forces. It means to oppose someone, involving a psychological attitude and also corresponding behavior. It means to “to be an enemy of” or “to resist with assembled forces.” Antitasso in this context conveys the idea of preventing the plans of the proud from succeeding.
Antitasso is in the present tense which signifies that this is God’s continual attitude of Himself against the proud and self-sufficient! The middle voice speaks of a “reflexive” action, wherein the subject initiates the action and participates in the carrying out of the action. The idea is that God continually continually sets Himself against the proud. God is continually in full battle array against the proud for pride is the basic sin from which all others issue. This fact alone should be enough to cause us to run for cover from the sin of pride! The upshot is that if our life if filled with pride, we will find that God is actually fighting against us (and guess who will win that struggle)!
Ray Stedman rightly remarked…
It scares me to think that whenever I am trying to live for myself, for my own advancement, that God is lined up against me, he resists that kind of thinking.
Vincent writes that antitasso is
A strong and graphic word. Literally, setteth himself in array against, as one draws out a host for battle. Pride calls out God’s armies. No wonder, therefore, that it “goeth before destruction.
Jamieson writes that opposed literally means…
“sets Himself in array against”; even as those like Pharaoh, set themselves against Him. God repays sinners in their own coin. “Pride” is the mother of “envy” (Jas 4:5); it is peculiarly satanic, for by it Satan fell.
But when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean. From now on will go to the Gentiles .” (Acts 18:6)
Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. (Romans 13:2)
But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE .” (James 4:6)
You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you. (James 5:6)
Vincent writes that antitasso is
A strong and graphic word. Literally, sets himself in array against, as one draws out a host for battle. Pride calls out God’s armies. No wonder, therefore, that it “goeth before destruction.
pride calls out God’s armies. No wonder, therefore, that it ‘goeth before destruction’.
Proud (5244) (huperephanos [word study] from hupér = over, above, + phaíno = shine) is the haughty person pictured with his head held high above others. Huperephanos designates the man who, from a feeling of his own superiority, regards others with haughtiness. It describes persons puffed up with a high opinion of themselves, and regarding others with contempt, as if they were unworthy of any intercourse with them.
As Kenneth Wuest says
The word “resisteth” in the Greek is a military term, used of an army drawn up for battle. Pride calls out God’s armies. God sets Himself in array against the proud person. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
Vincent writes that huperephanos is derived
From huper = above, and phainesthai = to show one’s self… It is the sin of an uplifted heart against God and man. Compare Pr. 16:5; Ro 12:16 (mind not high things); 1 Ti 3:6.
Barclay adds that huperephanos
literally means one who shows himself above other people. Even the Greeks hated this pride. Theophrastus described it as “a certain contempt for all other people.” Theophylact, the Christian writer, called it “the citadel and summit of all evils.” The real terror of this pride is that it is a thing of the heart. It certainly means haughtiness, but the man who suffers from it might well appear to be walking in downcast humility, while all the time there was in his heart a vast contempt for all his fellow-men. This pride shuts itself off from God for three reasons. (i) It does not know its own need. … It walks in proud self-sufficiency. (ii) It cherishes its own independence. It will be beholden to no man; it will not even be beholden to God. … (iii) It does not recognize its own sin. … A pride like that cannot receive help, because it does not know that it needs help, and, therefore, it cannot ask. It loves, not God, but itself.” (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press or Logos)
I John 2:15,16: Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
Pride brings you into war with God and His will and purposes on Earth. Pride is always of the world and never of God. You cannot have an intimate relationship with your heavenly father with a heart full of pride. Your relationship with God will be deader than a doorbell with a heart full of pride. II Timothy says pride causes us to fall into the snare of the devil where he can use us at his will and for his purposes. This is why pride is such a devastating enemy because it causes us to change masters and lords. Pride causes us to serve the things of this world rather than God. Pride is always the great heart turner away from God and we must guard our hearts day and night against it.
As in the words of Tim Highes song “Everything,” God truly must become our everything to eradicate pride out of our lives. Nothing deserves our exaltation, our praise and our worship but God and God alone.
God in my living
There in my breathing
God in my waking
God in my sleeping
God in my resting
There in my working
God in my thinking
God in my speaking
Be my everything
Be my everything
Be my everything
Be my everything
God in my hoping
There in my dreaming
God in my watching
God in my waiting
God in my laughing
There in my weeping
God in my hurting
God in my healing
Christ in me
Christ in me
Christ in me the hope of glory
You are everything
Christ in me
Christ in me
Christ in me the hope of glory
Be my everything
© 2007 Sparrow