The Results of Pride and Humility
1. This passage seems to be part of the context (which is rare in Proverbs!) of the preceding two verses.
2. vs.10 – to the righteous man, the name of the Lord is his safety.
3. vs.11 – to the rich man, his wealth is his so called safety.
4. vs.12 – to the proud man, there is no safety… apart from repentance and becoming humble.
Before destruction the heart of man is haughty
1. Heart (Dict. Of Bib. Lang. gives 23 definitions for this term!)
a. Inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding.
b. Inclination, resolution, determination (of will).
c. The source of life of the inner person in various aspects, with a focus on feelings, thoughts, volition, and other areas of the inner life.
d. The immaterial inner self or being.
2. Man: often refers to a male, but on other occasions it refers to mankind—male and female—anyone.
a. So ladies, this is for you too!
b. Pride is a male problem… but also a female problem.
c. It is sometimes translated “whosoever” (Lev. 15:5)
d. Thus, pride is a human problem… and one Solomon, as the observer of human behavior, wrote about often.
a. to be high, be exalted, arrogant
b. exaltation of self
c. It literally speaks of anything TALL: in either a positive or negative sense.
d. Used in a positive sense:
• Used of tall trees, walls, gates,
• Used of dignitaries—in a tall or high position
• Used of men lifted up and exalted by the Lord
• Used of Jehoshaphat whose heart was “lifted up in the ways of the Lord”
e. Used in a negative sense
• But more often it is used of men lifting themselves up on high… arrogance…
• Used of pride—tall thinking about oneself… (exaggerated, puffed up thinking… thinking of self more highly than we ought)
f. Clearly, Solomon is using the term in a negative sense here: pride, arrogance, self righteousness, vanity, conceit, self exaltation, etc.
4. The picture Solomon conveys in this passage:
a. A man whose inner thought life is full of self exaltation…
b. He describes a man full of himself…
c. A man, woman, or child who is full of pride…
d. Solomon observed that this kind of pride always seemed to precede a great fall or some sort of destruction.
a. Breaking; fracture; crushing; crash; ruin; shattering.
b. A downfall, a state or condition of moving from a high status to a low status.
c. Isa 30:13-14 – used to describe a high stone wall that comes crashing down to a pile of rubble; used of a potter breaking his clay pot and leaving it in many broken pieces… useless…
6. When Solomon observed people whose lives came crashing down around them, he noted that it was usually preceded by PRIDE of one sort or another.
a. Solomon saw people’s lives smashed like broken pottery…
b. He observed families crumble… like a high stone wall and left as a pile of rubble…
c. He saw lives fractured, crushed, broken, and ruined…
d. He observed as many shattered lives as we observe today…
e. So he studied those lives… he thought about what LED up to the destruction and ruin.
f. And time and time again, his observations led him to conclude that pride was at the root of very many of those ruined lives.
g. Prov. 6:16, 17 – Perhaps this is why he included pride as one of the seven deadly sins. In fact, it is on TOP of the list!
h. Prov. 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
• The fall could be a physical fall—chastening.
• The fall could be a moral fall—into sin.
• I Cor. 10:12 – “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall!”
• We are warned repeatedly, especially in gray areas, about pride.
• Pride says, “I can handle this. It won’t bother me.”
• I can skate on thin ice. I won’t fall in!
• I don’t need God. I can do this myself.
• I can handle reading all these romance novels; I can handle watching all these movies; I can handle a little flirting; I can handle a beer once in a while; I can get by just going to morning service; it won’t affect me! I can handle reading the Word once in a while… I’m strong!”
• I can handle going out with this unsaved girl or guy. I’ll win them to Christ. I can handle this situation.”
• Paul WARNS us about that kind of pride that pushes liberty to the edge…
• Solomon isn’t directly warning us. Rather, he is giving us his own observations in life: People who THINK they can stand (because of pride) often fall… and they fall hard.
i. Prov. 11:2 – Pride usually results in shame…
• The man who THOUGHT he could stand soon discovers that he was not able to do so…
• His fall brings him shame… embarrassment… even disgrace.
• He THOUGHT he could flirt and get away with it… but it led to something far more serious—and he fell morally.
• He brought shame into his life.
• The man who THOUGHT he could handle working three jobs to buy all the best things… ends up loosing his kids to drugs… and instead of bringing joy, they bring him shame…
• The proud teenager who BOASTS that he can jump off cliffs with his motorcycle—or some other silly stunt, ends up in a wheelchair… and is ashamed of how stupid he was.
j. Prov. 17:19 – He that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction.
• Here Solomon adds another note: the person who exalts himself is actually SEEKING for destruction!
• Obviously, the proud person would disagree.
• When calamity strikes, he usually bemoans himself: poor me! How did this ever happen?
• But Solomon has already given him the warning. He KNOWS the outcome of pride—it is followed by destruction.
• Hence, the one who KNOWS that… and continues in his vain, proud ways, is in reality SEEKING for destruction.
• In other words, he’s LOOKING for trouble… and he will eventually find it.
And before honour is humility.
1. Solomon also noted something else about the results of a humble life. It was usually followed by some sort of HONOR. Prov. 15:33
a. Humbleness, unpretentiousness, i.e., a state or quality of being straightforward and sincere, suggesting a lack of arrogance and pride.
b. Solomon probably did not come in contact with too many of these folks—especially in the royal and noble circles in which he traveled.
c. But he did observe humble people…
d. And as he observed, he noted the similarity in each of their lives…
a. Glory, honour, glorious, abundance, dignity, reputation, reward.
b. Solomon observed that those whose lives were unpretentious, humble, meek… selfless had a special HONOR about them…
c. Their lives were characterized by a dignity that was missing in the lives of the proud.
d. It wasn’t just the difference that one was proud and one was humble… he observed some CONSEQUENCES that seemed to follow the various heart attitudes.
e. There was a sense of shame to the lives of the proud… and a sense of honor in the lives of the humble.
f. The lives of the proud were shattered… but there was a sense of quiet dignity in the lives of the humble…
g. The proud nobles often had an abundance of material things… but they lacked an abundance of real friends… they did not have an abundant life… but the humble did!
h. The humble were characterized by a dignified honor.
4. Prov. 29:23 – That honor UPHOLDS the humble spirit
a. Uphold – to hold fast; make secure; i.e., give aid and help so as to keep it from falling…
b. It is used figuratively of supporting someone inwardly, morally, spiritually.
c. Thus, the humble spirit is accompanied by a sense of honor and dignity… and that honor UPHOLDS him and keeps him from falling.
5. Prov. 22:4 – Humility results in true riches, honor, and life!
a. It can save your life…
b. Pride results in a fall… calamity… a shattering…
c. Humility keeps us from that fall… and it may even save your life!
6. Jas. 4:6 – “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
a. This tells us that when pride is in our hearts—GOD Himself stands AGAINST us. (What a formidable opponent!)
b. When humility reigns, God lifts us up. (What a Person to have on our side!)
c. God’s response to us is always the same: He resists pride and gives grace to the humble.
d. I Pet. 5:6 – Peter wrote: Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”
e. James, Peter, Paul, and Solomon are all in agreement on this issue.
f. We are warned, admonished, commanded, and given consequences for both pride and humility. The choice is ours.