The Proud and the Lowly
When pride cometh…
1. Note that word pride is italicized, and was thus added.
a. Pride comes (a statement of declaration!)
b. Solomon states an obvious fact: pride comes.
c. Hence, the word WHEN (although not needed) does capture the correct meaning here. It is not a matter of IF, but WHEN.
d. Pride will come. Count on it.
2. Pride is so deeply embedded into our fallen human nature, that it is our NATURE to be proud.
a. Pride is our constant enemy.
b. We need to KNOW our nature… and BEWARE of our pride.
c. It does no good to hide and try to proclaim, “I’m not a proud person!” We ARE proud people. God says so. No exceptions apart from the Lord Jesus.
d. The act of denying that we are proud is an expression of pride!
3. I Tim. 3:6 – pride was the original sin in the universe.
a. The sin of pride is here called “the condemnation of the devil.”
b. It was pride that condemned Satan and caused him to be cast out of heaven.
c. His 7 “I wills” were expressions of his pride. (Self-will opposing God’s will—that’s sin—that’s pride!)
d. He became proud of his beauty and intelligence.
4. I Tim. 3:6 – pride is commonly found in new believers.
a. It is only a new or untaught believer who would ever make such a claim as to say, “I’m not a proud person.” It is a display of pride and immaturity… and inexperience in the Christian life.
b. I’ve heard people say, “I don’t have a proud bone in my body.” Poor soul—he doesn’t know what he’s made of! He hasn’t got much of a grasp of human nature.
c. He may genuinely believe it—which can only be attributed to the fact that the heart is deceitful above all things… who can know it?
d. Obadiah 3 – The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee (speaking to Edom)
e. Pride is there. Our hearts are proud. Rather than trying to deny it, we should face up to reality and learn to deal with it God’s way.
f. Denial is of no help. That’s what Peter did.
• Matt. 26:31-33 – Peter in pride said he would NEVER be offended in the Lord. He had to eat his words that night.
• What pride! The Lord said that they would be offended in Him, and Peter said that the others might, but he NEVER would!
• He had a puffed up view of himself… of his strength… of his bravery… (We always think more highly of ourselves than we ought—don’t we?!)
• Matt. 26:75 – why do you suppose he wept so bitterly? He realized that he had denied the Lord AND he got a glimpse at how sinfully proud and deceitful his own heart was. That hurts!
5. Solomon wrote: Pride comes. It will come. It will rear its ugly head… in your life and in mine.
a. Come: to go; to come; or to enter in;
• Entering in seems to fit best here.
• Pride enters into our minds and hearts—when we let it.
• It resides in our fallen heart and it will come in and take over unless we keep it in check.
• If we DON’T keep it in check—it will come…
b. If we know that pride will come… and if we know that it is our nature to be proud… then we should be on constant alert for it in our lives.
c. Beware of it. Watch for it. Learn to nip it at the bud.
d. It is EASY to see pride in others.
• And we hate it when we see it.
• It is disgusting… repulsive… obnoxious… nauseating…
e. But somehow, it is not so easy to recognize it in ourselves.
• We seem to have blinders on when it comes to our own faults. We like to call it by some other name… to justify it… excuse it… tolerate it…
f. We would do well to be looking for pride—not in others, but in ourselves.
g. Turn a blind eye to the pride in others… but be critical about the pride in our own heart. DEAL with it, don’t ignore it.
h. That is the only pride we can DO anything about: our own! There’s enough there to keep us busy till the cows come home.
Then cometh shame…
1. Pride brings shame… either as the natural consequence of the foolish things pride does—
a. Luke 14:8-11 – exalting self leads to shame!
b. How much better to walk lowly… and let others exalt you!
2. OR God may bring the proud to shame Himself.
a. God hates pride and cannot tolerate it. (Prov. 16:5)
b. Nothing is more detestable to God than fallen creatures with sinful flesh (which has NOTHING to be proud of) that exalts self.
c. NO flesh should glory in His presence.
d. There are six things the Lord especially hates—pride was at the top of the list! This is no small matter with the Lord. He hates it. So should we.
e. We should cut off pride in our life because God hates it. That’s a good enough reason in itself.
3. We should avoid pride also because it leads to shame.
a. Pride comes. So does the shame. This is a certainty.
b. Pride itself is shameful. It leads to more and more shame.
c. Pride manifests itself in countless ways… with all kinds of disastrous results… all of which could be characterized as shameful!
4. Prov. 28:25 – proud hearts stir up strife. (shameful!)
a. Prov. 23:10 – only by pride cometh contention!
b. Fights; arguments; strife—can all be traced back to PRIDE.
• I demand my way! I demand to have the last word.
• I think I’m right! My way is the only way!
• This kind of fighting is shameful all by itself.
• But it can lead to divorce; church splits; friendships breaking up — shameful behavior… trace it back to pride.
5. Prov. 29:23 – a man’s pride shall bring him low (humiliate; abase)
a. Dan. 5:30-33 – King Nebuchadnezzar exalted himself in pride… taking all the glory to himself—as if he single-handedly built Babylon to its height of splendor!
b. God brought him low—like an animal for 7 years!
c. How shameful… and how ashamed Nebuchadnezzar later was—think of it—a king going from the ruler of the world to walking on all fours and eating grass like a madman… like an animal!
d. God knows how to bring proud people DOWN to earth!
6. Prov.16:18 – pride goeth before destruction
• Destruction: breaking, fracture, crushing, breach, crash, ruin, shattering
• Pride fractures, crushes, and ruin all kinds of relationships: marriages; parent/child relationships; church families; work relationships…
• The deterioration and abasement brought about by pride will result in shame.
• Such destruction causes people to say and do shameful things… hurtful things…
• Nebuchadnezzar learned the lesson. He learned that God is able to ABASE (crush) those who walk in pride! (Dan. 4:37).
• Pride is a killer.
But with the lowly is wisdom.
1. Here again, Solomon uses a common poetic form – a parallelism that highlights a contrast: the proud and the lowly.
2. Pride is associated with shame. Lowliness is associated with wisdom.
a. This of course makes perfect sense.
b. If a person knows that pride results in destruction… being abased… and shame, then it isn’t very wise to be proud. It is quite foolish!
c. Thus, those who humble themselves are the truly wise ones.
3. The world doesn’t see it that way. The world associates lowliness and meekness with weakness!
a. The world’s way is to demand our rights… to seek for self esteem… to aggressively push to advance self… to step right over people in order to climb the ladder… take care of number one… to be assertive… and don’t let anyone push you around…
b. God’s way is quite different. God honors the meek… and the lowly. God says things like “humble yourself”… “turn the other cheek”… “walk… in all lowliness and meekness”… walk humbly with God…
c. God’s ways are certainly not the ways of the world—that’s for sure.
4. While walking in lowliness and humility might seem foolish to the world, God says it is WISE.
a. It is wise because it keeps us from the destruction and shame that result from pride!
b. Prov. 3:34 – it is wise because God gives grace to the lowly!
c. Prov. 15:33 – before honor is humility. (In other words—humility is followed by honor! Pride is followed by destruction, shame, and a fall… but humility is followed by honor) It makes good SENSE to walk humbly… to be lowly… exercise humility…
d. Isa. 57:15 – It is wise because only the lowly can have sweet fellowship with God.
e. James 4:10 – it is wise because it is the lowly that God lifts up!
f. Prov. 22:4 – by humility are riches and honor!
• Proud arrogant people cannot keep a job; cannot keep friends; cannot handle life well…
• It is wise to be humble if it results in true riches in God’s sight… and honor before the Lord!