Ancient Wisdom for a Modern World: Wise words from the book of Proverbs

Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall

No one, other than the proud himself, likes a proud person. God likes the proud least of all. One of the seven things that are an abomination to God is ‘a proud look’, Prov. 6. 17. This is because pride is the exact opposite of what God looks for in His creatures; it is ‘the fear of the Lord’ that is the beginning of wisdom, and those that are proud, self-sufficient and arrogant will never begin to fear God.

Solomon reminds us that those who set themselves up over others inevitably invite a humbling. Sometimes this humbling comes from their own folly and pride. Proud people often overstretch themselves, trust more in their own abilities than they should, and so bring trouble upon themselves. Sometimes the proud make so many enemies that others delight in humbling them. More often than not, however, it is God who brings them down, ‘Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased’, Matt. 23.12. Proud King Nebuchadnezzar, for instance, was turned out of his palace in his madness to live rough in a field because of his pride, Dan. 4; King Uzziah was struck down with leprosy because he thought too much of himself and behaved as though he were a priest, 2 Chron. 26; King Herod was eaten by worms because he accepted the worship of people, Acts 12; Lucifer was thrown out because he tried to make himself equal with God,Isa. 14. God resists the proud, Jas. 4. 6, and He will destroy the house of the proud, Prov. 15. 25, ‘for every one that is proud is anabomination unto the Lord’, Prov. 16. 5.

Even the wisdom of the world says, ‘The bigger they are the harder they fall’. The trouble is, everyone waits for the proud toget their come-uppance and most rejoice when the proud are humbled. ‘The most proud shall stumble and fall, and none shall raise him up’, Jer. 50. 32. Don’t set yourself up over others; don’t boast about yourself or your gifts; don’t have a higher opinion of yourself than you should. ‘Let each esteem the other better than himself.’ And remember, if you want to be exalted by God, yo must humble yourself. After all, ‘Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off’, Ps. 138. 6; and God has said, ‘To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word’, Isa. 66. 2. The advice once given to a young man is still good advice – ‘Go slow, keep low and don’t blow’.