Preachers condemn it. Spin doctors cloud it. Sports fans and superstars practice it. Few guilty parties will admit to having it. It's called pride. From the school yard to the church yard, from pulpit to pew, from the masters of television sound bytes and computer gigabytes to the gods of the scrimmage line and the free throw line, the children of pride rule the present world. Babylon the Great may also rightly be called, Babylon the Proud. The children of pride presently enjoy their hey day, and all the world listens to their music, marches to their drum beat, and bows to their pomp and golden images. Soon they will fall, and "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision" (Ps. 2:4). It is a true saying, those who laugh last, laugh last. Will you laugh or will you cry, when the children of pride all fall down?
by Jerry Gentry
"He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride" (Job 41:34).
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall," (Prov. 16:18), wise King Solomon warns. "Let not the foot of pride come against me" (Ps. 36:11), the psalmist cautions. God's great challenge and lesson to King Nebuchadnezzar was that "those that walk in pride he [God] is able to abase" (Dan. 4:37).
Pride is often seen in others, seldom in ourselves. Pride degrades the spirit, weakens the body, depraves the soul. Of the children of pride, the Bible says, "Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment" (Ps. 73:6). Yes, pride is an all encompassing sin, the soul brother to violence. The sin of pride, when present, enslaves every thought and every action of the human being. Pride is the ultimate indiscretion: "As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion" (Prov. 11:22). Whether by man or woman, a fall into pride is "As a dog [that] returneth to his vomit" (Prov. 26:11). A child of pride is "a fool [who] returneth to his folly."
But what is pride? How must the Christian understand this heinous, contemptuous affair of the human heart, and remove from it? Who are the children of pride, and who is their master, that we may part company with them?
Their master is that "great dragon [who] was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." (Rev. 12:9).
He is that Leviathan, the serpent of the sea, the "king over all the children of pride" (Job 41:34). And all his children, one third of all the angels, followed him. Pride was born in the heart of "Lucifer, son of the morning!" (Isa. 14:12), "who said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north" (v. 13). It is fair to say that Lucifer developed a high opinion of himself. Thus, pride was born and her children followed.
"Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
"They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms" (v. 15-16).
This prideful attempt at dethroning God was met with miserable defeat: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!" (v. 12).
That great light bringer defected to the dark side. His great shining light faded into a dismal fog of darkness. He who had dwelt at the throne of God, one day, let pride lift up his heart against his creator. He thought he should replace God.
Satan, now King of Pride, with all his children, live in the earth. He goes about as "your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1Pet. 5:8).
Have you ever received a tongue lashing from a proud person? Then you know what the scripture means, "In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them" (Prov. 14:3).
Pride supports one leg of the great worldly triunity of the reprobate one: 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" (1John 2:16).
Pride evaluates others from what it imagines and from the outward circumstances it sees, from its own self-perspective: "But the LORD looketh on the heart" (1Sam. 16:7). Pride praises wealth, and despises the poor: "The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor" (Ps. 10:2). Pride is deceptive: "The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?" (Obad. 3). The children of pride know not the fear of God.
There was once a man of Israel named Kish. "And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people" (1Sam 9:2).
God told the prophet Samuel to "anoint him to be captain over my people Israel" (1Sam 9:16). Upon such a suggestion, Saul responded with humility, saying, I am "a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me? (1Sam 9:21).
Pride is that principle sin, when who you are and what you know eclipses God's specific will in your life. Pride clouds your life vision, pulls your heart away from the straight and narrow way, and pounds others over the head with your own impossible standards.
King Saul did many mighty acts: "A company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them" (1Sa 10:10). "Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets?" (v. 12).
Time passed and Saul forgot the humility of his youth. Pride lifted him up; jealousy took over his heart; bitterness set in.
Samuel instructed Saul concerning the arch enemy Amalek: "Utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass" (1Sam 15:3). Instead, after numbering an army of 210,000 soldiers, Saul "took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive" (v. 8), "and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly" (v. 9). It was a day of tremendous victory; yet defeat lay at Saul's doorstep.
Samuel confronted Saul after the slaughter of the Amalakites: "Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying" (v. 10).
"It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night" (v. 11).
"And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal" (v. 12).
"And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD" (v. 13).
"And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear" (v. 14).
"And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed" (v. 15).
" Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on" (v. 16).
"And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?" (v. 17).
"And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed" (v. 18).
"Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?" (v. 19).
"And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites" (v. 20).
"But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal" (v. 21).
"And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams" (v. 22).
"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king" (v. 23).
"And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice" (v. 24).
"Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD" (v. 25).
King Saul was ultimately rejected, because pride had led him into great delusions of heart and soul. Later, upon teenage boy David's success in slaying Goliath, Saul initially rejoiced. But when the women of Israel sang, "Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands" (1Sam. 18:7), Saul became furious.
"And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom?" (1Sam. 18:8).
"And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul's hand" (1Sam. 18:10).
"And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice" (v. 11).
"And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul" (v. 12)..
Pride took over Saul's heart more and more from that day forward. His decisions were hampered through a constant guilty conscience grown from pride, until the day of his death. He continually blamed David for his problems.
Finally, while fighting against the Philistines, "the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers" (1Sa 31:3).
"Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it" (1Sa 31:4).
Thus ended the life of a once humble man who joined the children of pride. Thus fulfilled the scripture: "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall" (Prov. 16:18). Thus endeth the life of a once great men, fallen into the sin of pride and destroyed.
Have you personally identified and rejected fellowship with the children of pride in your life? Are you one of those children whose heart is lifted up in pride against others? Here are five early warning signals of pride, and scriptural antidotes. Catch these now, nip pride in the bud, and know that God is with you always. Hear these following warning signals, and get the P-R-I-D-E out of your life.
Five Points of Pride, and their Antidotes:
P) Are you a saved Christian, justified and blood washed by personal faith? If not, pride will bring you eternal Punishment of hell fire.
Antidote&emdash;"If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Rom. 10:9).
R) Do you feel like a woRm at times? Do your personal faults bother you to tears on occasion? Can you say, with the apostle Paul, "that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief" (1Tim. 1:15)? If not, then pride is holding you in sin.
Antidote&emdash;"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16).
I) Do you begin every day alone with God in prayer and reading His word? Do you have good Intentions, but never seem to get around to acting? Then pride will be your downfall.
Antidote&emdash;"Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded" (James 4:8).
D) Do you run for the cover of heaDship? If not, your heart is filled with pride and you are at risk of receiving the rod of God's chastisement.
Antidote: "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God" (1Cor. 11:3).
E) Do you maintain your own rEputation by speaking openly of the faults of others? Then pride grips your heart, and you are in for a fall.
Antidote&emdash;"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble" (James 4:6).
Will you personally stand when the children of pride all fall down? Then you will know and apply the single key to destroying pride, found in Prov. 29:23: "A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit."