KNOWING GOD IN HIS GLORY
The Downfall Caused By Pride
Jerry A Collins
P How does God deal with the sin of pride?
P What makes pride such a major sin with God?
P What is the nature of pride?
Here is what CS Lewis in Mere Christianity has to say about pride:
The essential vice, the utmost evil is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness and all that are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.
It is about pride that the Bible differs most sharply with the world. Worldly people may agree that theft, murder, adultery and drunkenness are wrong. Unbelievers may even admit to such vices. But you will never hear him say his sin was pride! I have never heard a TV program, movies, books, magazines or classrooms declare Pride to be evil. Dictionaries even define pride as displaying excessive self-esteem; having proper self-respect and humility as showing a low estimate of one’s importance. Pride is a virtue and humility can be detrimental. In the Bible, just the opposite is true.
Biblically pride is always bad and humility is always good like James 4:6 But He gives greater grace. Therefore it says God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble (Num 12:3; Psa 25:9; Prov 16:5; Isa 66:1-2; Micah 6:8; Matt 5:3; 11:29; I Cor 13:4; 1 Pt 3:8). The nation of Egypt, the last of the seven surrounding nations of Israel, is prophetically judged because of her pride! At least four times Ezekiel indicates that Egypt’s pride is the reason for her downfall.
(1) Pride of her power will come down 30:6. This is always a major sin with God. Here we learn that all the nations who supported Egypt will be frightened and in anguish when she falls.
(2) Pride of her power will cease in
her 30:18. Here Ezekiel announces that the strength of the entire nation would be ended. A cloud will cover her in the verse is a way of saying that as gathering clouds herald an approaching storm so covering Egypt with clouds would herald her coming judgment on her pride.
(3) Its heart is haughty in its loftiness 31:10. This is a reference to the previous world power, the nation of Assyria, which was also destroyed by Nebechadnezzar, the very one God will use to do the same to Egypt. Assyrias fall was an object lesson to other nations and Egypt will suffer a similar fate. Assyria would have had great significance to Egypt for two reasons: First, Assyria had been the only world power to invade Egypt entering and destroying its capital some 50 years previous. So this would be the only nation that could be compared with Egypt. Second, Assyria had been destroyed by Babylon the same nation Ezekiel said would enter Egypt and destroy her. If there was no hope for Assyria, a world power, there would be none for Egypt, a regional power. Assyria, Judah, Tyre, Egypt all be judged by God.
(4) Devastate the pride of Egypt 32:12. The source of Egypt’s pride was its power. That power will be shattered at the hands of King Nebechadnezzar and his army as Pharaohs army and country would be crushed by these ruthless Babylonians and the land decimated by them. Both man and beast would be destroyed and deported. After this devastation, Egypt would be humiliated and never again become powerful. We know the Greeks conquered Egypt and set up one of their generals, his army and family to rule there in the 300’s Ptolemy. Egyptian blood became mixed with Greek. Their last attempt for greatness was by Cleopatra who was defeated by August Caesar just before Christ was born. The Egyptians were never heard from again. Today’s ‘Egyptian’ are Arabs unrelated to the ancient Egyptian. Because of their pride Ezekiel supplies 7 prophesies against Egypt each of them beginning with the phrase the word of the Lord came to me saying the first one given about 7 months before the destruction of Jerusalem or nearly a year after the siege of Jerusalem by Neb began. These seven prophecies are given in chapter 29-32.
(1) The certainty of judgment 29:1-16. Twice Pharaoh said to considered himself the creator of the Nile river which travels over 4000 miles through the continent of Africa (vs 3,9). God takes seriously a denial of him as creator which is seen today in evolution, the new age pantheistic teachings. 40 yrs God says he will judge them and when they return to the land they will be a lowly kingdom, the lowest of them never again lifting itself up
(2) Defeat of Egypt by Babylon 29:17-21. Egypt just completed her 13yr siege of Tyre and worked hard for a meager return. Evidently Tyre had shipped off her wealth before surrendering. Neb needed money to pay soldiers and looked to Egypt prompted by economic necessity attacked it and plundered its wealth to pay the army.
(3) Destruction of Egypt and allies 30:1-19. Egypt’s allies would be caught in her judgment and the mercenaries in her army from these nations. The news spread rapidly down the Nile causing panic. Babylon treated her captives cruelly. King Zedekiah forced to watch soldiers kill his sons then put his eyes out so last thing he ever saw was sons deaths 2 Kgs 25:7.
(4) Scattering of Egypt 30:20-26. Egypt had made a feeble attempt to counter Babylon on its way to defeat Jerusalem but was soundly beaten back. That was a prelude to their ultimate destruction once Babylon had taken care of Judah. Egypt could only wait with broken arm until their complete destruction.
(5) Egypt and Assyria similar 31. Egypt needed to learn from Assyrias example.
(6) Lament over Pharaoh 32:1-16. The Pharaoh was Hophra who reigned from 589-570BC whose pride would destroy him as it had kings of Judah and Tyre.
(7) Egypt’s descent into sheol 32:17-32. Poetic description of the humiliation of this nation like the many before it who being used by God had refused to acknowledge God but instead became proud.
(1) Pride is competitive. It gets pleasure not from having something but from having more of it than the next guy.
(2) Pride is for power. Pride always divides people because its real goal is power over other people. The rich man rarely pursues more riches to have more things but for the power he can exercise over peoples lives with the money or the things.
(3) Pride makes God serve us. Pride expects God to give us what they want. So we really create an idol in our minds.
(4) Pride is spiritual. Many other sins pervert us physically, personally but pride is a spiritual perversion even used to control other sins when we keep students, team members, children in line by appealing to their pride.
(5) Pride gives birth to covetousness. I might compete because I covet approval, a trophy, income or position. This is based in pride when the standard to reach/beat is found in people, others or myself. Humility pursues accomplishment which is rooted in God and gives glory to Him James 3:13-17.
(6) Pride puts self over everything. Selfishness pursues autonomy at expense of others. Pride an abomination since it pursues power you have simply because you have it.