“This is certainly pride, for it is a lifting up of the heart above God and against God and without God.” –Thomas Manton
It threw Lucifer out of heaven. It cast Adam out of Eden. It caused the earth to be flooded. It built the Tower of Babel. It turned King Uzziah’s pink flesh leprous. It moved Nebuchadnezzar to eat grass. What was it? It was and is pride. The greatest sin? Perhaps. The source of other sins? Certainly. Pride grieves God. Pride deceives the self. Pride receives no one else. Pride points to self and cries, “me, me, me!” While humility points to God and to Christ and his cross and cries, “see, see, see!”
David summarizes the condition of the proud in psalm 36:
Transgression speaks to the wicked
deep in his heart;
there is no fear of God
before his eyes.
2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes
that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
3 The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit;
he has ceased to act wisely and do good. (Psalm 36:1-3 ESV)
David captures the venomous effects of pride in the life of the individual. It poisons man relationship to God. Pride crowns Christ with thorns and self with gold. Pride convinces the self-enamored individual to enter into sacred realms to burn incense in an offensive manner. This was the sin of King Uzziah who did not fear God but took it upon himself to do what only the priest should do. Thus, one scribe writes, “But when he grew powerful his pride led to his own undoing.” (2 Chron. 26:16 NEB)
Pride also leads to self-deception. David observes that the proud individual flatters himself so much that he cannot even detect his own sin or hate it. Pride casts a veil over the eyes and obscures a person’s ability to make sound moral judgments. This sin not only separates us from knowing God and from knowing ourselves, it keeps us from each other. A proud heart leads to a deceitful mouth. This same mouth that exalts self will also tear down its neighbor.
How does God respond to all this pride? By pain and punishment. Pride pains and grieves him and he does not leave the proud unpunished. The prophet Jeremiah reflects the heart of God, “I will weep in secret because of your pride.” (Jer. 13:17) And Solomon notes, “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.” (Proverbs 16:5) In light of God’s promises to punish the proud, how glorious is the cross where God places on Christ the punishment that the sin of pride demands! Pride joins a long list of other sins that are covered by the blood of Christ which he shed for his people. Praise the Lord!
Have a blessed week and we will see you on Sunday. D.V.
Privileged to serve,