Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished. Proverbs 16:5
If you even wondered how God feels about pride, this should be enough to cure you of ever wanting to be "proud in heart." Let's take a look at this thing called "pride" and see if we can avoid its pitfalls.
Pride here is the Hebrew word "gaboah" and it means a high, exalted, and proud demeanor. This particular proverb speaks of how dangerous it is to be "proud in heart." How dangerous is this particular heart condition? God says He finds it an abomination to be in this condition. It is not just dangerous - it is eternally deadly!
Pride is having an exalted attitude of self - and a very pitiful mindset toward God. This is the condition of fallen man. Man is fallen - and he has falllen into this sin of pride. At the core of this sin is the idea that we are able to handle things ourselves and that we do not need God. It is an attitude of independence from God and dependence upon self. When man chose to disobey God in the garden - he chose to live by the knowledge of good and evil rather than by the spiritual life that God would have provided by his grace and free gift. Man decided he wanted to be like God by his own efforts. He wanted to decide what was good and evil on his own. He wanted to trust in himself - rely upon himself - live for himself - and make his own destiny. Oh, one last thing - all these things he would be doing for himself - he would also be doing them for his own glory, honor, and praise. Here is the crux of the human condition of arrogance and pride that is at the very core of sin.
This pride began with Lucifer himself - who in Isaiah made the comment that He would raise his own throne above that of God and He would have the honor that he was created to give to God. Oh, how this arrogance reeks before a holy God.
What is interesting to most folks is that often they don't get this whole "pride" thing. In fact - many - when they hear that God wants man to give Him the glory - accuse God of pride. Here is where the greatest disconnect from the fall is manifest in the hearts of wicked men. They are so blinded by their own arrogance that they don't see God for Who He is. This is why God has to reveal Himself to us through the Scriptures - because we are utterly blind to Him in creation and in our own beings. Scripture says that the heavens are declaring the glory of God. Man . . . he invents a theory that says that we are a cosmic accident - a happenstance that just eventually had ridiculous levels of order and design. So man denies the existance of God. Scripture tells us that when we consider the human body we should come away with the thought that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Man . . . again decides that we are what the primordial slim just accidentally belched forth over billions and billions of years. Man will negate God every way that he can - because man will not tolerate a God greater than Himself. In the rare instances when he does - he wants that god to have all of his problems and idiosycracies. At least that way he can continue to exalt himself in his fallenness.
In the rare instances where we see a human being accosted by the glory and majesty of God - the human suddenly hits the deck - falling on his face. He trembles and fears for his life. Even godly men, when experiencing the power and glory of God - are so struck with awe and wonder - that they struggle to breathe. Man faces the truth - there is One greater than himself - there is One to Whom he is accountable - there is One Who is responsible for his very existance - and - there is One who is grieved and angered by his unbending arrogance.
That is why this proverb tells us in no certain terms that this arrogant, prideful heart is an abomination to God. That the one who has such a heart will be punished for it. We are told bluntly in proverbs 16:5, "Assuredly, he will not be unpunished!" There it is for mankind - put as bluntly and as clearly as anyone can put it. A prideful heart is a horrific condition - one that is dangerous and deadly - and one that reminds us that God has every reason to bring punishment upon man to the fullest measure. Yet - the astounding reality shown to us in the Scriptures is that God, Who has every right to condemn us and punish us - chose instead to reveal His glory the brightest by having His own Son face the ultimate cost for our wickedness and pride. His glory shines with full force in the grace He has made available through the crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of His Son. Truly - He is a God of inestimable mercies!
Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, Rather than a fool in his folly. Proverbs 17:12
Here I am standing at a crossroads. If I go down one path I'll meet a mother bear robbed of her cubs. To say she is angry about this is the understatement of the century. She is not subject to reason - but pretty much wants to tear apart anyone of anything that she even considers standing between her and recovering those cubs she so prizes. That particular path has to be one of the most dangerous known to mankind. Only a person with a death-wish would ever remotely want anything to do with that path. Yet as I stand contemplating which to take, I'm seriously considering that path, because to be perfectly honest - the other one is even more dangerous. What in the world could be on that path?!
Look down that ominously dangerous path - through the fog as the eerie music plays in the background. What do you see - a werewolf - a vampire - a hideous monster - a rabid, ravenous beast? Well, not exactly . . . what you do see is . . . wait for it . . . some fool acting according to his or her foolish thoughts - let's call those thoughts, his folly.
Really? You'd rather face a bear robbed of her cubs than that fool acting according to his own folly-filled thoughts? The answer to that question is a resounding YES. Proverbs warns us that the fool is considerably more dangerous. WOW! Maybe we should investigate just what this means.
First of all the danger is not just from any fool - a specific one is mentioned. The fool while in his folly is the dangerous one. So don't panic if you simply run into a fool - the really dangerous fools are those who are active in their folly. But what does a fool in his folly look like?
Proverbs 10:8 says a fool babbles - just keeps talking about things that are of no consequence. They would rather talk than receive any kind of direction or command. Meet one of these and you are in danger. By the way - this babbling fool is also mentioned in verse 10 of this same chapter. In Proverbs 18:2 we see him again wanting to tell everybody what is on his mind instead of listening to others. This talking/babbling thing is dangerous. Evidently listening to words that are foolish can be a cause of deep trouble.
Because there is so much said about the fool I'll try to expedite this overview of the fool. He spreads slander, loves doing wickedness, and is arrogant and careless. He rejects his father's discipline, doesn't respond to correction, and does not stay away from strife. His speech is perverse and his eyes are on the ends of the earth rather than on payin attention to his immediate surroundings. He always loses his temper and trusts his own heart when making decisions - because he considers himself wise in his own eyes.
Run into someone like this - and you are taking your wisdom and discernment into your own hands. Better to depart from this man and find far better company. Spend some time with him and your own views will be warped before long. Spend a lot of time with him and he will corrupt your character and lead you down a path of destruction from which it will be hard to return. Believe the Word for it tells you that his map is defective and he is unable to read it anyway. Examine what has happened to those who met up with him - destruction - devastation - being misled. Spend enough time examining all the disaster that comes from meeting up with him in his folly - and having that folly become your wisdom - and soon that path with the crazed mother bear is looking better all the time.
The sluggard says, "There is a lion outside; I will be killed in the streets!" Proverbs 22:13
Ah, the things a lazy person will do to keep from working. The imaginations of his own mind - which does little else than making up new things that will keep him from work - run amok when the thought of actually getting up and doing something threaten.
The sluggard always sees the imminent danger - no matter how ridiculous. This keeps him from having to go outside and work or do something profitable. Ever notice that the world will give you a thousand reasons NOT to do something. If we actually listened to all the "dangers" that are out there - we would do nothing but sit in our homes (which we've learned lately can be just as dangerous as going outside) and be concerned with a thousand imagined dangers that lurk just outside our door.
The wise man seeks the Lord to discover what is dangerous. He does not live in fear of the supposed evil that lurks everywhere behind every new turn. Instead, he looks to God for direction for each new day - then walks out the door to work hard as unto His Lord.
I'm not making light of the real dangers that are out there - but too often we learn everything is bad for us - everything is dangerous - and everything is harmful to our health. If we actually listened to all this - we'd be like the sluggard who looks for any excuse not to be doing something valuable. The real danger in all this is that we will become so consumed with the imagined dangers of life that we become good for nothing. The sluggard does this to keep from having to ever work.
Here's my encouragement for each day from this verse. Seek the face of God each morning - listen to what He has to say through His Word and through His Holy Spirit. After you do this - strike out into each new day energized by what God has to say. This will give you a passion for your life - and for the work He has for you to do each day. It is His will that you work hard - doing something valuable each day. It is His will that you go out and be a change-agent in this world. The fact is that we will all die of something before this life is over - just don't let it be laziness!
Proverb a Day
Each day, we'll take a look at a verse from the chapter of Proverbs for the day. Our hope is to gain wisdom each day - and from that wisdom - to have understanding to make godly decisions in the throes of everyday life.
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