Pro 16:17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil:, he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.
Pro 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Pro 16:19 Better it is to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
(Finger waggling in front of your nose) "Pride goeth before a fall, you know."
How many times did your mom or grandmom say that to you? I know I heard it sometimes when I was little, and I would be strutting around, all full of myself and my own importance! They may have shortened the verse, but they had their eyes on the scripture as they admonished us! I am sometimes amazed at the wonderful way that our guidebook, the Bible, shows us examples of people who have lived out some of the good, bad, and ugly things that it (God's word) tells us about. I'd like to examine three of these today, and then ask for your input when we're done.
I've pulled three for us to consider. These three bad boys of the Bible were what I'd call "textbook examples" of pride, arrogance, and haughty attitudes. But they got theirs . . .
Pharaoh was annoyed and insulted when a lowly sheep herder came before him and told him God wanted Pharaoh to let the Hebrew people go. What was the Hebrew God to Pharaoh? He had no knowledge of Him until now, and the more that Moses demanded he act, the more obstinate and proud Pharaoh became. I imagine that Moses' presence in the magnificent court of Pharaoh was a nuisance, and agitated the ruler mightily! Pharaoh was a proud, vain man, and even though he seemed to relent after each plague, he hardened his heart when the plagues were lifted. Finally, when he led his army after the Hebrew nation as they left Egypt, God intervened and destroyed him and his army.
Sennacherib is someone that you might have to dig a little to find . . . you don't hear many sermons on this black-hearted guy! It's an amazing story, but I'm going to be sneaky and not tell you where to find it --- I want you to search out and enjoy the tale! Sennacherib was an Assyrian monarch who had been capturing cities right and left in Judah. King Hezekiah offered tribute (usually money and other valuables) trying to entice the Assyrian into stopping his attacks -- he was poised to pounce on Jerusalem. Sennacherib accepted the tribute and then sent three of his top dogs to intimidate King Hezekiah into surrendering anyway! King Hezekiah made up his mind to seek God, and to do the things necessary to restore the nation's relationship with their God. The citizens of Jerusalem followed Hezekiah's leadership, and not one arrow was loosed toward their city! In fact, 185,000 of the Assyrians were wiped out in the dark of the night, and Sennacherib fled in terror.
Nebuchadnezzar may be more familiar to us (especially those of us who have enjoyed VeggieTales with our kids!) and he's another good example of the perils of pride. God had tried to bring the king to Himself, through Daniel and others, but Nebuchadnezzar had resisted. In the fourth chapter of Daniel we see him enjoying a walk on the palace roof, admiring all that HE had done, and the wealth that HE had amassed, and the majesty that HE was living in . . . he never gave honor to God, who had blessed him so abundantly. Check out the rest of chapter four to see how God humbled him, and then ultimately restored him, when he repented and asked.
I know this has been a lengthy study, but I'd like to encourage you to read these passages on your own, and meditate on them. I think we can learn a lot, and grow in Christ. I'd also like to get you to stretch your study time a little --- find another example in the Bible. I'm going to make it easier on you . . . you can comment on a prideful person you found, or you can choose to comment on an humble one. Let's dig in!