There is a Generation that is Proud
There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes!
and their eyelids are lifted up.
1. In Proverbs 30:11-14, Agur paints a picture of one segment of society. He notes that in every generation there is a class of people who could be characterized in various ways.
a. There is a generation of disrespectful rebels. (vs. 11)
b. There is a generation of self-righteous hypocrites. (vs. 12)
c. There is a generation of proud and arrogant ones. (vs. 13)
2. Tonight we are going to consider the third aspect of human nature Agur describes – pride.
a. It is nothing new. It is not a shocking revelation to anyone. It has been around since the fall of man.
b. But Agur wants to remind us that there are segments of society in every age that are still characterized by pride and arrogance.
Pride is Seen in Their Eyes
1. Agur notes that pride (which is an inner attitude of the heart—invisible to others) CAN be seen outwardly, in a man’s eyes.
a. Their eyes are “lofty.” (Lofty: High; exalted; elevated; proud; arrogant.)
b. Their eyelids are “lifted up.” (Lifted up: Exalted; lifted up and carried away; proud; arrogant.)
c. These terms are synonyms. They both speak of that which is elevated, high, exalted, and thus in a figurative sense, both terms are used to describe pride and arrogance.
2. In our proverbs, Agur speaks of the eyes and eyelids as being high, exalted, elevated.
a. This is a description of pride that can be seen on the face—and in the eyes in particular.
b. Elevated eyes look DOWN on others because of pride.
c. Elevated eyes see self as exalted ABOVE others.
d. Agur is describing body language here. And the message this language sends out is haughtiness… superiority… self-importance… conceit.
3. There are other passages that describe the same thing: pride and arrogance that is visible on one’s face.
a. Prov. 6:16-17 – “A proud look” is an abomination to God. It represents a proud heart. In other words, the pride in the heart sometimes manifests itself outwardly – in facial expressions. It is a “proud look.” (literally – a proud eye)
b. Prov. 21:4 – “a high look” which stems from a proud heart.
c. Psalm 18:27 – God will bring DOWN the high look. God has His own ways of humbling the proud and removing their arrogant look.
d. Psalm 101:5 – In this psalm David is describing the kind of people he wants on his royal cabinet. He will not tolerate someone with an arrogant look. Humility was one of his qualifications to be a royal advisor.
e. There are times when you can tell a person is looking down upon another. Often you can actually SEE pride on their face as they respond and react to others.
f. They see themselves as superior… exalted… and others not worthy to be in their presence.
4. I suppose we could expand this expression of pride from the eyes to one’s walk.
a. Isa. 3:16-24 – Here the prophet describes the pride and arrogance of Judah as illustrated by the wealthy women of Jerusalem.
• It was seen in the way they walked… and held up their heads, etc.
• But God has a way of humbling pride and bringing low those who exalt themselves.
b. Sometimes you can actually see pride in the way a person struts around like a peacock… showing off.
• It might be a lady with all her jewels and fine clothes.
• But this kind of pride isn’t reserved for ladies only.
• It might be the guy in the gym or at the beach showing off his muscles.
• You can almost see their pride in the way they walk and strut around.
5. Pride is seen in their eyes; and God hates what He sees.
a. We saw that it is an abomination to Him. (Prov. 6:16-17)
b. Consider the words of Isaiah 2:11-17.
• In the Tribulation Period, God sends severe judgment to deal with this very thing: the haughtiness of man… the high looks of fallen flesh.
• The high looks shall be brought down very low.
• God hates fallen flesh exalting itself.
Concluding Thoughts on Pride
1. Prov. 21:4 – Pride is not simply being rude or a lack of proper manners. It is SIN.
2. Prov. 16:5 – It is sin and God will punish that sin… if not in this life, in the life to come.
3. Daniel 5:20 – Pride “hardens the mind.”
a. It is a kind of paralysis or blindness that sets in. (Harden: To prevail over; becoming overpowered by; hardened; stubborn; willfully obstinate and unyielding.
b. Obadiah 3 – “The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee.”
4. Ps. 10:4 – There is a great danger in pride. It hinders us from seeking God.
a. The proud one thinks to himself, “What do I need God for? I know all I need to know; I can handle this; I don’t need any advice or counsel. I’m pretty much all set thank you!”
5. Prov. 26:12 – A man who is so hardened, blinded, and hindered from seeking God is in a very dangerous position. There is more hope for a fool than for him. His pride will keep him in that dangerous position perpetually—until he humbles himself.
6. Prov. 13:10 – Only by pride cometh contention.
a. The proud man with a haughty look can expect to live in strife and contention with others.
b. The proud man has a hard time getting along with others. He sees himself superior to them… and it shows on his face.
c. That does not lead to good interpersonal relationships.
d. Pride will destroy a marriage; a home; a church. It is a destroyer.
7. Pride can lead to: (1) shame (Prov. 11:2) and (2) destruction (Prov. 16:18)
8. Pride is an insidious thing.
a. And we are ALL infected with it. It is our nature.
b. Thus, it needs to be resisted and rejected continually—day by day.
c. Humility isn’t something we obtain and then possess for the rest of our lives. It is a moment by moment thing.
d. Pride is part of our fallen nature; it is in our sinful heart; and we need to be on guard constantly so as not to allow pride to rear its ugly head. Pride will never stop trying to manifest itself… in our speech… attitude… even in our eyes and body language.
9. One final warning about Agur’s warning.
a. Agur was 100% correct when he said that pride is sometimes seen in the eyes and body language.
b. However, our ability to interpret body language is not 100% accurate. We can misread a look… a walk… a tone of voice… a raising of the eyebrow.
c. We should be very careful about judging others on the basis of outward appearance.
d. I have known people that I assumed were arrogant in the way they looked… holding the head up high… etc., only to discover that they were not proud, but extremely insecure… and walked in a certain way to try to compensate for their insecurity.
e. So let’s be careful about judging others on the basis of body language and outward appearance, because we really DON’T know their heart. God does; we don’t.