Moderator's Comments - Posted 14 July 2015
According to Solomon, of the seven things God hates, pride tops the list (Proverbs 6:16 – 19). CS Lewis called pride, “that complete anti-God state of mind – it leads to every other vice!”. Martin Luther claimed that his greatest enemy was not the Pope or Cardinal, but the enemy within, his own pride.
Pride is on display all around us – from the tennis courts of Wimbledon to the strange thinking of the Greek Finance Ministers.
Pride is at the core of one of the shortest books in the Bible, Obadiah, it comes between Amos and Jonah. Obadiah is a prophecy against Edom, the descendants of Esau, who having been deceived by Jacob, now themselves drip with the pride of self deceit (v3). Their confidence is in their impregnable position in the plateaux (v3), their confidence is in their allies and advisors (v7 – 8) and in their standing army (v9). Their pride has driven their cruel inhumanity, for in the day their national cousins Judah fell to the Babylonians, they stood aloof (v11) and did nothing to help.
That’s pride, it drives self deceit, it causes people to trust in the untrustworthy and it never forgets a wrong, it seethes and plots as it seeks revenge. Such pride is evidenced in the Family Law Court, in criminal networks, in battlefields and in church dissensions. It is everywhere.
But the biggest problem with pride is that it makes God the enemy, at the beginning of this prophecy, God says “I will make you small” (v2), “I will bring you down” (v4), “the day of the Lord is near for all nations” (v15).
Pride is a dark, subtle, loathsome enemy, God hates it in foreign nations and He hates it even more so in His own people. Pride is as old as Adam, the spirit of Edom is the spirit of Adam.
The statistics, the personality driven growth, the guru status of our leaders are all indicators of pride even within God’s own people.
The non-existence of Edom today, she didn’t survive the Roman Empire, is the gauge of the effectiveness of God’s enmity against pride.
There is no easy answer to pride. Trace the line of Esau and the line of Jacob through the Bible and the last time they meet is in Luke 23:8 – 12, where Herod of Edom meets Jesus of the line of Judah. God uses Herod and his new-found friend, Pontius Pilate, to bring about the greatest act of deliverance from pride, in a way which makes no concession to pride, the death of God’s own son. The sinless, pride-free Jesus, dies and his death is the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24) which truly humbles us and brings us into a right relationship with God.
The answer to pride is to go where we are most humbled:
“When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride!”
The cross excludes human boasting, it is where our proud rebellion is most obvious, it is God’s prescription for this pride-filled world. It may be a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Greeks but in reality, the cross is the “power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). It is God’s ever present antidote to pride.
Rev David Cook