The Proud will Not Escape
A. The Proud in Heart
a. The term means literally: tall; exalted; high.
b. It can be used in a positive sense:
• The term was used of Saul: he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward.
• II Chron. 17:6, “Jehoshaphat’s heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord.” (meaning encouraged)
c. The term can be used in a negative sense too.
• The term means high… and is used of arrogance… the attitude of lifting up ONESELF on high…
• Strong’s: a high, lofty, tall; exalted in station; haughty; proud.
• Zodhiates: An adjective denoting high, proud, lofty. The word describes an attitude of haughtiness or arrogance.
2. The proud in heart.
a. In this passage, it is obviously used in a negative sense… since God calls it an abomination. (That’s a hint!)
b. It is used this way in Prov. 18:12 – Before destruction the heart of man is haughty.
c. Ezek. 28:2 – it was used of the king of Tyrus.
• His proud heart reached incredible heights of arrogance! “I sit in the seat of God!”
• His proud, arrogant heart is seen here as a foreshadowing of the character of the devil himself.
• He was proud of his wisdom (28:3); his riches (vs. 4).
• It is no wonder God hates the proud heart.
d. A proud heart is something we too can and DO manifest.
• Pride over our accomplishments; looks; intelligence; spirituality; wisdom; possessions; talents; position; good deeds; popularity; etc…
• Pride is a nasty sin we ALL have to deal with… for it can easily be HIDDEN under a guise of humility… a false humility…
• God hates pride and sees right through our masks when we try to conceal it.
3. Are an abomination to the Lord.
a. Abomination = Detestable thing, repulsion, i.e., an object which is loathsome and abhorrent
b. Cf. Prov. 11:20 – God hates hearts that are not right with Him. Here, froward means: twisted, distorted, crooked, perverse, perverted.
c. Prov. 6:16-17 – God especially hates pride… fallen, corrupt human flesh exalting itself against the Creator!
d. I Pet. 5:5 – God RESISTS the proud!
A. Though hand join in hand
1. This is a figure of speech that speaks of men joining hands in a common cause… seeking to find strength in numbers.
a. Illustration: this morning I saw a news clip of a human chain joining hands to help someone escape a rip tide.
b. What one man would not be able to do alone, perhaps with many hands joined together, they could accomplish.
c. This is true in MOST situations. “Strength in numbers.” (Ecc. 4:9-12)
d. Consider what happens in a riot or a mob scene.
• After the Patriots won the AFC championship, Boston streets flooded with people…
• The people knocked over cars… threw rocks and beer cans…
• And they did all this in the plain sight of the police!
• But because there were so MANY of them doing such things, they felt safe.
• When the World Trade Organization meets, there are always radical groups that demonstrate against them.
• They throw rocks at the policemen! They hit policemen with sticks! And they get away with it—because there are so many of them.
• They would never try that if they were alone on a city street!
• There are times when there is safety in numbers.
2. But this is NOT true in EVERY situation.
a. Solomon speaks of one such exception to that rule here.
b. When it comes to PRIDE, more is not better.
c. When it comes to proud men joining forces in opposition to God, there is NO safety in numbers!
B. He shall not be unpunished
1. This expression is used in Prov. 11:21 too.
a. Here Solomon speaks of another exception to the rule.
b. WICKED men (rather than proud men in 16:5) will not escape punishment simply by virtue of their numbers.
c. Consider the original city of Babel.
• Hand joined hand to rebel against God.
• What men would have been fearful doing alone, when in a throng, they felt safe and secure.
• But there was no safety in the numbers at Babel. God sent confusion and judged them all.
d. Consider the city of Sodom.
• It is likely that this city (like San Francisco or Provincetown) became a magnet for homosexuals…
• Perhaps they experienced persecution in their home town and flocked there… for safety in numbers.
• The sheer number of them in Sodom gave them a sense of safety from judgment… at least from men.
• But they did not escape the judgment of God.
• There was no safety in numbers in Sodom.
e. Consider the wicked in the days of Noah. There was no safety in numbers.
• They heard Noah preach for 100 years and still didn’t repent.
• Only Noah’s family listened. (II Pet. 2:5-6)
• Perhaps the rest thought that his message of judgment could not possibly be true—since there were so MANY of them and so FEW who believed.
f. Today, men trust in the same principle: MOST men around the world do not believe in Jesus. SURELY God will not send them ALL to Hell! (Matt. 7:13-14)
• But wicked men will be punished regardless of how MANY there are.
• There is no safety in numbers before God.
2. There is no safety in numbers for us either!
a. Young people often tell their parents, “Well, everyone’s doing it! Or Everyone’s going… or Everyone’s wearing this. It must be ok! You’re too old fashioned! Too strict!”
b. This kind of thinking makes it difficult to stand against spiritually unhealthy trends in the local church too (pop music; social drinking; dancing; women preachers; etc.)
• When “everyone’s doing it”, the thinking is that it must be ok…
• That is a very POOR means of determining that which is acceptable. What if everyone is living together? What about gay marriage? What about drugs?
• Democracy doesn’t work when it comes to morals.
• Just because hands join in hand, that doesn’t make it right before God.
• In a democracy, it might make it LEGAL, but not necessarily right.
• The standard is NOT what men are doing or what men deem to be acceptable.
• The standard is God Himself! A holy God!
3. The proud of heart will not escape punishment either!
a. God assures us here that He will punish the proud of heart.
b. This is a promise (or threat?!) from God that WILL come to pass… and God will not back down just because there are millions of proud men.
c. God is a God of justice. Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
d. It is RIGHT for God to punish pride… and He will… whether there are 6 proud men or 6 billion proud men.
e. Men do not always think like God the righteous Judge thinks.
• Men might say, “Since EVERYONE is now smoking marijuana, we might as well ignore the problem. We can’t arrest everyone!”
4. There are a couple of features that seem to give sinners confidence in their sin.
a. Ecc. 8:11 – the fact that sin is not judged immediately gives men the sense, that therefore it will NOT be judged!
• Set = full; fulfill; satisfied; accomplished; finish; complete; etc.
• Once they commit a sin, and see that the roof didn’t instantly cave in, they feel confident that they have escaped divine judgment…
• From that they deduce that they can continue to sin and the same thing will happen: nothing!
• When their sin isn’t instantly judged from heaven, their hearts are set—filled with confidence—that they may continue to sin.
• But they are dead wrong in their conclusions.
b. Another cause of sinners becoming confident in their sin is the strength they derive from sheer numbers.
• Men join hand to hand to derive extra strength and confidence from each other.
• The threefold cord IS harder to break.
• Sinners assume that a cord consisting of 6 billion people in the world is impossible to break!
• But nothing is too hard for the Lord.
• God said He would BREAK pride and He will… regardless of how MANY people join together in their proud rebellion against Him.
• Though hand joins in hand, the wicked AND the proud will not escape punishment from God.
c. If God doesn’t like something, it doesn’t matter WHO or HOW MANY are involved in it.
• To God an abomination is an abomination.
• Ps. 2:2 – “The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His anointed…”
• Rev. 16:14 – “The kings of the earth and the whole world gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”
• Ultimately, the TRUTH of Solomon’s words will be demonstrated in an unmistakable manner.
• In the age of grace, it APPEARS that Solomon’s statement is not true.
1. Wicked men and proud men seem to do so WELL in the world… (Ps. 73:3-5)
2. They are proud and seem to go without judgment… (vs. 6)
3. But their day is coming! (Ps. 73:18)
5. Pride SHALL BE punished.
a. Prov. 16:18 – a fall and destruction are right around the corner…
b. Prov. 18:12 – pride before destruction. God repeats this so that it will sink in!
c. Nothing the proud do to AVOID punishment will ultimately work.
d. God hates proud hearts and is not impressed with their combined power.
e. It is as easy for God to break a cord of 6 billion as it is to break a cord of 6… or even a single cord.