Three Paths of Pride You Might Have Taken
An article by Ryan Pratt
“The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence I will bring thee down, saith the Lord.” Obadiah 1:3-4. Not much is known about the prophet Obadiah, but we can learn much from the nation to whom he made this prophecy; Edom.
Edom was in fact a very wealthy, powerful nation during the Babylonian captivity. Edom was located south east of Judah, important land and sea trading lanes passed right through Edomite territory. Its topography was mountainous and nearly inaccessible in some areas. At this time, Edom was its strongest, stretching from the Gulf of Aquaba in the south, to the southern portion of Judah in the north. They possessed the rich and important port of Ezion-geber on the Red sea and the major road of Canaan — the King’s Highway — passed right through the heart of Edom. This nation was a wealthy and well defended kingdom!
Despite all this, the prophet Obadiah delivered a prophecy telling them they would be destroyed, for during the sacking of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, Edomites took part in the looting (Obadiah 10-11). The prophet declared they would fall, and fall they did. The powerful Babylonian Empire eventually subjugated ancient Edom. While it did eventually gain its independence again, it did not last for long. In about 134-104 B.C., Edom was conquered for good by the new Judean dynasty of the Hasmoneans.
So what can we as Christians learn from an ancient kingdom in power thousands of years ago? The pride of the Edomites mirrors modern man! Pride brought about Edom’s demise, so why should we think we are immune to its draw? Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
A PRIDE THAT SAYS WE DON’T NEED GOD FOR SALVATION
It is common even in the Lords church to think that we alone can grow and be what God wants us to be; it is sad to see brethren with this attitude! Christians must realize that we ourselves can do nothing, Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Only by obedience to God can one be made righteous, works of man alone (attending worship, helping the poor) will not get us to heaven! Only works of God can cleanse a man and make him whole. The work of God is obedience to His will (John 6:29 “ Jesus answered them, This is the work of God, that you believe in Him who He hath sent.”). When we think we can be holy enough without God is when our pride will cause our destruction. 1Corinthians 10:12 “ Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” I pray that we will all rely not on our own strength, but on the strength of the Lord.
A PRIDE THAT SAYS, “I AM GOD!”
This is the pride that says, “I make my own rules, its my life.” We see this epidemic in marriage too often. The world thinks if your spouse makes you unhappy, talks too much, or doesn’t look as young as they did on the day you married, you can simply get a divorce and be fine with God! Another example is in modern “ethics”. We live in a society that says, “Only you can choose what is right and wrong for yourself, you are your own standard of good and bad.” Modern “ethics” can change depending on your situation, making you a god instead of honoring the God. Only God can create a standard of right and wrong; for that, He has given His Word (2 Timothy 3:16). All Scripture was given so that we may know how to live and be pleasing to God! If God’s plan for marriage was followed; divorce, alimony, sexually transmitted disease, and emotional problems that accompany this would not exist! When we set ourselves up as “god” and “rule our own lives”, we effectively become gods of a broken, destroyed world.
God alone can make the standard of right and wrong because He is all knowing! Isaiah 55:9 records, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” In the god of self there is destruction, in the God of truth there is salvation!
A PRIDE THAT SAYS, “GOD WILL TAKE ME FOR WHO I AM.”
A common but sad doctrine taught today is, “I don’t need to change because God will take me for who I am.” Sadly, these people have also bought into the doctrine of self-service. These are those people who live the way they want, no matter how evil it is, but still want assurance that they will be in heaven. So they say, “Since God is a loving God, I have a free pass to heaven.” Nothing could be farther from the truth! When the apostle Paul was in Athens, he spoke before a multitude on Mars Hill. Part of his message can be found in Acts 17:30 where he says, “And the times of this ignorance God overlooked; but now commands all men everywhere to repent.”
Without repentance, man can never be pleasing to God! When speaking to the Jews on Pentecost, Peter told them to repent (Acts 2:38)! He then proceeded to tell them how to contact the blood of Christ that would wash away their sins (Acts 22:16)! Godly sorrow brings forth repentance unto salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10). It is clearly insinuated that without repentance, we will perish (2 Peter 3:9). This prideful attitude should not exist at all! When God has given His commands on anything, it behooves us to obey, not walk in our own path.
Pride is a deadly sickness that will even affect the strongest Christian. It is up to us to make sure we do not live prideful, destructive lives serving ourselves instead of our creator. Like Edom thousands of years ago, we can fall into a snare of the devil (2 Timothy 2:26) and become prideful. We must remember that we alone are not good; the good in us is Christ! Let us trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5), and not in our selves!