Today’s reading: 2 Kings 12-14.
When King David lived, he would seek to know God’s will before undertaking a risky endeavor such as war. Now, two hundred years later, his descendant, Amaziah, makes his own judgments rather than seeking counsel or God’s will. Convinced that he is stronger than King Jehoash in Israel, he challenges him to meet him in battle.
He was the one who defeated ten thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt and captured Sela in battle, calling it Joktheel, the name it has to this day. Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, with the challenge: “Come, meet me face to face.” But Jehoash king of Israel replied to Amaziah king of Judah: “A thistle in Lebanon sent a message to a cedar in Lebanon, ‘Give your daughter to my son in marriage.’ Then a wild beast in Lebanon came along and trampled the thistle underfoot. You have indeed defeated Edom and now you are arrogant. Glory in your victory, but stay at home! Why ask for trouble and cause your own downfall and that of Judah also?” 2 Kings 14:7-10
Pride seems to have motivated Amaziah. The success of his early campaigns caused him to overreach. He greatly miscalculated, and Israel marched down to Judah, breached the walls of Jerusalem, and took many captives including Amaziah. In the end, his own people rose up against him and assassinated him.
God lists pride among the most despicable sins:
There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood; a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. Proverbs 6:16-19
Pride caused Satan’s fall from grace, and many a man and woman has fallen in the same trap. Proverbs is full of warnings against pride.
- God considers arrogance an abomination (because we put ourselves above his will)
- Pride leads to disgrace, because it demonstrates a lack of wisdom
- There is more hope for a fool than a proud man
- It is not glorious to seek your own glory
- The proud man fails to seek wise counsel
- A proud man does not like to hear when he is wrong
In the end, pride is sin. It’s listed among the three root causes of sin: the lust of the flesh (seeking wrong pleasures), the lust of the eyes (seeking wrong possessions), and the pride of life (seeking wrong power) (1 John 2:16). Jesus, on the other hand, gave us the supreme example of humility as opposed to pride. In his own words, he said he only did what he saw his father doing. His will was to do his father’s will. Paul said (Phillipians 2) that though equal with God, he took the form of a servant, humbled himself, and was obedient unto death.
Humility leads to all the benefits that pride prevents. It gives wisdom, salvation, and honor. The proud man is sure to fall, but God will exalt the humble.
Image by BeckyCortino on Flickr, CC by 2.0