Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling. Proverbs 16:18
Pride causes us to have an ego. An egotistical person has an exaggerated sense of self importance and they brag about themselves and tend to treat others like they are of less value.
Prideful people are an abomination to the Lord because they boast of themselves and say “Look what I did”. They try to take all the glory away from God and put it on themselves, when in reality it’s not what they have done, but what God has done.
Pride causes us to get big headed and to forget that if it weren’t for the grace and mercy of God, we wouldn’t even be where we are today. Pride causes us to forget all the blessings that God has poured out for us and we become thankless and self conceited.
One of the biggest problems with pride, though, is seeing when you are doing or have done wrong. If you can’t recognize and admit you have sinned then you won’t humble yourself, repent and be forgiven. I truly believe that when you are this full of pride that God will give you a word and let you know. There are a many examples of how God deals with the prideful, but let’s take a look at the two that the Lord put on my heart.
The first one is David. David was such an awesome man of God. David loved to worship the Lord and give thanks to Him and to praise Him. It is hard to believe that he became prideful, but he did. The Lord sent a word to David to he may see how he had become.
Then the LORD sent Nathan to David.
And he came to him and said, “There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb which he bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, and was like a daughter to him.
Now a traveler came to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.
Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.”
Nathan then said to David, “You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:1-7)
David recognized that the person who had committed such a wrong should be punished, but what David didn’t recognize is that it was he himself that Nathan was talking about until Nathan told him so. David’s pride had gotten in the way and he couldn’t see the wrong he had done until it was shown to him.
But David, once he was shown his wrong, was able to humble himself and admit his wrong doing. He sought forgiveness from God and God forgave him, with a slight slap on the rear as a reminder.
God absolutely does not like prideful people. God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6) When you oppose something, you don’t just dislike it, you go into battle against it.
God is His awesome way, will do whatever it takes to get a person to drop their pride and repent. There do seem to be some, though, who have been shown their wrong doing, but still belittle others and take all the glory for themselves. There are some who have received a warning from God to repent, but they just would not listen.
Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon was just such a person.
In the book of Daniel we are taught how Nebuchadnezzar became king. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were among those chosen to serve.
Daniel was blessed by God and was given interpretations of the dreams which the Lord gave to Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel made sure that Nebuchadnezzar understood that the interpretations were given to him by the Lord and only the Lord. Nebuchadnezzar recognized that God was the revealer of what the dream meant. He gave glory to the Lord and blessed Daniel with a high position as prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.
But Nebuchadnezzar went on to make an image of gold and gave orders to proclaim to people that they must worship this image or be thrown into a blazing fire (Daniel 3:6) When Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah would not worship the image because they worshipped the Lord God, Nebuchadnezzar ordered them to be thrown into the fire and to make the fire seven times hotter than usual.
What Nebuchadnezzar saw next just totally astounded him. Instead of three people in the furnace he saw four. He also saw that they were not burning up, but were walking around, unscathed. Nebuchadnezzar recognized that the fourth was from God, sent to protect the three. Nebuchadnezzar then let Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah out of the furnace and blessed the Lord, giving a new decree saying that if anyone speaks against God and causes offense that they will be punished. He recognized that is was God that gave him everything he had.
Still Nebuchadnezzar didn’t seem to see that it was God’s kingdom and didn’t recognize that God was in charge. God then gave Nebuchadnezzar a dream which Daniel interpreted. Daniel told him that the dream was about him and how he would be driven away and given grass to eat until he recognized that it is God, the Most High that is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever he wishes.
Daniel, knowing that God was giving a warning, gave the advice to Nebuchadnezzar to break away from his sin and iniquities and to do righteousness and to show mercy to the poor.
Still Nebuchadnezzar would not recognize that he was king only because God put him there. Nebuchadnezzar even said to himself; look at what the power of my might and the glory of my majesty have built. (Daniel 4:30) Even as Nebuchadnezzar was saying those words a voice came from heaven saying his sovereignty has been removed and spoke a word over him which then came to pass.
Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws. Daniel 4:33
The word spoken over Nebuchadnezzar was that he would remain like this for seven periods of time, or seven years. What a difference that time made, though. After the seven years Nebuchadnezzar became a man again. He raised his eyes to the heavens and praised, honored God almighty.
“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” Daniel 4:37
Nebuchadnezzar had learned a lesson and when he humbled himself, he was restored to his sovereignty and he ruled once again.
But what God wants everyone to see in this is that He could have just zapped Nebuchadnezzar from the face of the earth, but because God loved Nebuchadnezzar, He wanted to do whatever it would take to get Nebuchadnezzar to drop the pride and turn from sin.
In the same way, God loves each of us. He will show you signs and wonders and He will bless you greatly, but if you don’t recognize it as having come from God, but take all the credit for yourself or if you continue to live in sin and desire to not do what is right then God will try to get your attention and let you know to drop the pride.
What happens next if you don’t drop the pride, humble yourself and repent is between you and God. But, my heart says that God will do whatever it takes to help you see the truth with your heart and not just with your eyes, even if it means putting you out to pasture for a few years because He loves you so very, very much.