God’s Response to the Proud and to the Humble
1. This is yet another proverb of contrast.
2. The contrast:
→ Proud vs. widow
→ A house destroyed vs. boundaries established
The LORD will destroy the house of the proud
1. This proverb speaks of God’s hatred for pride
a. Prov. 21:4 – pride is SIN!
→ The proud defy God who is above them.
→ The proud trample under the poor and the weak who are under them.
→ Therefore, God hates pride.
b. God hates the proud. (Prov. 6:16-17)
2. It also speaks about what God does about pride.
a. He destroys the house of the proud!
→ Translated variously: pluck up; plucked out; plucked off; tear down; root up; rooted out; pull down; destroy.
→ Up, down, off, or out!
c. God abases the proud.
→ Example: Nebuchadnezzar! Dan. 4:30-33
→ Example: the Pharisee and the publican who went to the Temple to pray! (For every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.)
→ God hates pride and is dedicated to bring down the pride of fallen flesh—regardless of where it is found… on Nebuchadnezzar, on a proud Pharisee, or on you or me!
d. God resists the proud. I Peter 5:5
3. The house of the proud
a. Speaks of a physical house or one’s offspring/posterity.
b. It isn’t that God is angry at the building where a proud man lives.
c. God’s anger is vented against the CHARACTER of the man who lives in it.
d. God stands opposed to proud, wicked men and to all they do.
e. They can build up large houses, but God reserves the right to tear them down.
f. Prov. 14:11 – The house of the wicked shall be overthrown.
g. Prov. 2:22 – But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.
h. Prov. 12:7 – The wicked are overthrown, and are not: but the house of the righteous shall stand.
i. Prov. 29:23 – Sometimes God doesn’t even have to destroy the pride. Their proud ways often bring destruction on themselves! [A man’s pride shall bring him low.]
But he will establish the border of the widow.
A. The Widow
1. It is assumed here that Solomon is speaking not about ANY widow, but he has a particular KIND of widow in mind.
a. God is on the side of the poor, afflicted widow who is being taken advantage of by the powerful.
b. Of course, some widows are wealthy, powerful, and proud. Solomon is not talking about that kind of a widow.
c. Remember, this is a contrasting proverb. The exact concept of widow Solomon had in mind is only understood by comparing it to the opposite in the proverb.
d. In this proverb, this widow stands in contrast to the proud.
e. Hence, he is speaking of a humble woman… a poor woman whose property is being stolen by proud, greedy men who seek to take advantage of her weakness and helplessness.
f. A widow is an example of one who is weak and helpless… and without personal resources—normally in those days.
B. The Border of the Widow
1. Border: boundary line of one’s land or piece of property’
2. Deut. 19:14 – one’s land was marked by border markings to identify the parameters of one’s property. It was one’s inheritance.
3. Prov. 22:28 – (law of Deut. 19 repeated) Jews were forbidden from removing a neighbor’s landmark. This was stealing property… one’s divinely appointed inheritance.
C. God Establishes Her Border
1. Prov. 23:10-11 – God establishes the border of those in a lowly position (fatherless; widows; helpless; etc.)
2. God is on the side of the outcast, the helpless, the weak, the poor when they are taken advantage of by the wealthy and the powerful.
→ Consider the widow of Zarephath in I Kings 17:10-24. Elijah was sent to her to care for her needs in time of difficulty.
→ Consider the widow mentioned in II Kings 4:1 – God sent Elisha to her to provide for her needs because the creditors were ready to take her house and her son as a bondman.
→ In the midst of preaching and prophesying before kings, generals, and the rulers of the world, God commanded these prophets to stop what they were doing and go minister to a couple of poor widows.
3. In a cursed earth, the powerful often trample over the weak.
→ When that occurs, God is on the side of the weak.
→ He doesn’t forget their cause. Ever.
4. The weakest, most desolate, most helpless and most vulnerable woman that has God on her side is in a much safer position than the wealthiest and most powerful and most secure men on earth!
5. Prov. 16:19 – Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
D. This passage tells us about the CHARACTER of both man and God.
a. Men are often proud thieves who take advantage of the weak.
b. Men are more than willing to use their position of power to promote self and hurt others. This is human nature.
c. People in positions of weakness often have no one to help, no one to plead their cause, no one to defend them from the proud thieves BUT God.
2. What is God like?
a. He observes such things. He defends the weak, the lowly, and the poor.
b. Ps. 138:6 – Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.
• God is exalted in the heavens, but He is not too high to be concerned about the lowly.
• God knows the proud—He is aware of all their doings, but He is distant from them.
c. Isa. 2:11 – For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low.
• God is a God of justice. He is always on the side of justice.
• And while justice is not always carried out on earth—one day—justice WILL prevail!
• The Day of the Lord is the day of judgment upon the earth when the Lord takes back control of the earth which was usurped by Satan.
• In that day, the proud will be crushed.
• The Judge of all the earth does what is RIGHT.
• Wealthy, greedy, powerful, proud men will stand before God and must give an account!
d. Deut. 10:17-18 – God stands up for the poor and needy and is no respecter of persons.
• God stands up for the lowly and the oppressed.
e. Ps. 146:9 – The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.
f. I Pet. 5:5-6 – God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.
• Application: HUMBLE yourself! Get down off that proud horse of yours… before God knocks you down!
• Application: Jas. 1:27 – we too should show compassion for the lowly, the oppressed, the weak, and the helpless.
• And when God sends a troubled teen to our church, don’t shriek in horror because his hair is green or because you don’t like his clothes.
• Thank God he is here and minister to him. Demonstrate the indwelling LIFE of Christ… show compassion to this down and outer!
• That’s what godliness is: being LIKE God… being LIKE Christ.
• Christ’s ministry was NOT just to the rich, the powerful, the famous, and to the beautiful people.
• He ministered to the outcasts… to publicans… harlots… the poor… to widows… to the afflicted—and they heard Him!
• He ministered to such because He is Jehovah-God and therefore demonstrated what the heart of God was like!
• Mark 12:37 – And the common people heard him gladly.
• Not many noble are called. But the common people heard Him gladly! Don’t ignore common folks.
• Concern for them is a manifestation of Christ in us.