Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.(Proverbs 16:18, NIV)
Pride is one of the most serious sins, and it is easy for everyone to fall into. Pride was the first sin of humankind and the reason Satan was corrupted as he tried to exalt himself. Even the fathers of faith such as David and Hezekiah were guilty of pride during a moment of inattention, which caused God’s wrath. The reason pride is serious is that a person intercepts the glory that God will receive. It is a deed of giving him- or herself the glory that should be raised to the Lord, and it is conclusively insulting Him. God surely lowers the proud and reins in their pride with the most severe punishment. It is written in Malachi 4:1 that the arrogant, who do not repent to the end, will be set on fire, and no root or branch will be left to them.
Pride may appear in many forms or in stages. It arises from considering oneself great by attributing what is given to the individual to his or her ability. In Daniel 4:30, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was enraptured by the size and status of the kingdom he ruled over, and he exalted himself by saying he had built the great Babylon as the royal residence by his mighty power. God judged his pride by taking his royal authority from him. Then, Nebuchadnezzar was mentally ill and driven away from people. For seven years, he lived with a wild animal, eating grass like cattle. When his sanity was restored, he realized that the Lord is the ruler of the world, and all authority, power, and majesty come from Him. At last, he raised his eyes toward heaven and praised the Most High God.
When Jesus stood before Pilate, the governor of Rome, before being crucified, Pilate said to Jesus that he had the power either to free or to crucify Jesus. Jesus answered he would have no power if it were not given to him by God. A man thinks he has gained by his power, and he deems highly of himself, but he will get nothing if God does not grant it.
Pride also appears in the form of showing off what a person has or has achieved. Someone may boast of money, property, knowledge, achievement, honor, authority, or something else. In 1 Chronicles 21:1, David took a census of Israel, but its motive came from his conceit. He was proud of ruling millions of Israelites and wanted to show his dignity with a specific number. However, Israel’s prosperity was originally the plan of the Lord. God blessed Abraham and said that He would make a great nation through him, and the promise had been fulfilled. David was trying to glorify himself with what God had done. God was greatly angered with David’s pride, and He brought down an epidemic on Israel. As a result, the catastrophe caused the death of seventy thousand Israelites. David was incited by Satan and tried to show his status with the number of people, but paradoxically, he was judged with many people’s deaths.
But Hezekiah’s heart was proudand he did not respond to the kindness shown him;therefore the LORD’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.(2 Chronicles 32:25, NIV)
King Hezekiah got a fatal disease, so he earnestly prayed to God. The Lord heard it and healed his disease, so he could live another fifteen years. Baladan, king of Babylon, heard of his illness and recovery. Through his messengers, he sent Hezekiah letters and a gift to celebrate his restoration. Hezekiah was very pleased to see them and the gifts from Babylon. He felt flattered at them because he received them from Babylon, one of the greatest powers of the time. Hezekiah had an impulse to boast to them of how much riches and honors had been accumulated and how great the Israelite defense strength was. He expected that they would speak what they saw to the king of Babylon. Hezekiah took them to his storehouse and showed them the gold, the silver, the spices, the fine oil, his entire armory, and everything found among his treasures. He was proud of showing his majesty. His boasting was a conceit. Hezekiah glorified himself, just as if he had achieved all of this on his own, which the Lord let Israel gain. It had brought up the Lord’s wrath, and its cost was very severe. God said to him that everything in his palace and all that his fathers had stored up would be carried off to Babylon, and some of his descendants would be taken away and become eunuchs in the palace of Babylon. Like David, Hezekiah suffered the pain of boasting about things he was proud of.
Nowadays, many things tempt people to be proud.
They consider what is seen with the eyes to be important and give people a sense of vanity or make them feel superior to others. Occasionally, they evaluate people by ranking or level in a competitive environment. Therefore, we must be careful regarding the worldly elements that make us proud, and we should always consider others better than ourselves in humility. Humility means not only lowering ourselves but also acknowledging the fact. That means we must thank God for what He has given and glorify Him for what He has done. It appears we have gained something naturally on our own, but we can never get anything if God does not allow it. James 4:10 says that God will lift us up if we humble ourselves before Him. Praise and glory are not what we give to ourselves but what God gives us. What we show off must be not ours but the Almighty Lord, who supplies all to us. We must boast that the Lord is merciful and loves us and does justice and righteousness on the earth and that we know the Almighty God.