1 Pride 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. 11:2 When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. 13:10 Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom. 15:25 The LORD will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow. 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. 18:12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility. 21:4 An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin. 28:25 He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat. The single worst thing you can have is pride. It will cost you more than anything else. Conceit will deceive and trap you in folly, which will quickly and surely bring shame to your life. But humility leads to wisdom, which protects men from foolish mistakes and the resulting shame. Dear reader, do you grasp the importance of this lesson? You will never hear or read a more important warning for your life! Never! Pride will destroy you, but it will destroy you disgracefully and shamefully before all men. A fool is a horrible thing, as Solomon teaches often. But there is something worse than a fool - a proud fool! He said, "Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (26:12). There is little hope for a fool, but there is no hope for a proud fool. His arrogance will not allow any instruction or correction. Pride blinds men. They cannot perceive wisdom to avoid trouble and shame. They resent being taught or corrected by others. They are confident! They arrogantly rush on in their high opinions of their own thoughts and ideas. Pride brings folly, which brings shame. Dear reader, hate pride! Fear the Lord! "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate" (8:13). Pride is a heinous evil. It began with the devil. It caused Satan's downfall. Lucifer was not content as God's anointed cherub; he wanted to be like the most High (Ezek 28:14; Is 14:14). So God threw him out of heaven to his everlasting shame (John 12:31; Rev 12:9,12). The smoke of his torment will be heaven's incense (Matt 25:41; Rev 14:11). Dear reader, do you hate it yet? Pride is the devil's sin! Pride ruined the glorious life of the universe's highest creature! Pride caused his everlasting shame and torment! Pride is the worst thing you can have in your life! It will cost you more than anything else! Due to pride, Pharaoh, the greatest king of that time, destroyed himself, his family, his nation, and his army (Ex 5:2). And men have laughed at his destruction and shame for the last 3500 years (Ex 15:1-21; I Sam 4:8; 6:6; Neh 9:10;,Ps 136:15; Rom 9:17)! Even children rejoice and laugh at the frogs in Pharaoh's bed and bread (Ex 8:3)! Due to pride, the Philistines fought against Israel, in spite of remembering what God had done to Egypt 500 years earlier (I Sam 4:7-9). After capturing the ark of God, they put it before their idol 2 Dagon, which fell down and worshipped it (I Sam 5:1-5)! God then gave the whole nation an epidemic of hemorrhoids, and the only way they could find relief was to return the ark with five golden hemorrhoids as a peace offering (I Sam 6:1-5)! Consider their shame! The whole nation scratched their secret parts (I Sam 5:9), and there was no Preparation H! Their only relief was to mold five golden hemorrhoids! God laughed at their shame! He inspired Psalm 78:66 for this event, which rejoices, "And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts: he put them to a perpetual reproach." Indeed! They were put to perpetual shame for pride! What a peace offering! Who modeled for them! Due to pride, Nebuchadnezzar, the greatest and most glorious king of all time, spent seven years crawling around a field on his hands and knees! He ate grass like an ox; his hairs grew out like eagle feathers; and his nails grew out like bird claws (Dan 4:33)! And he wrote the whole story down and sent it to his entire kingdom (Dan 4:1-3)! What trouble! What shame! And all because of pride (Dan 4:30-31)! Due to pride, Herod Agrippa I, the King of Judea from 37-44 AD, who killed the apostle James and tried to kill Peter, was eaten of worms for receiving the excessive praise of men (Acts 12:1-4,20- 23). Josephus confirms his death (Antiquities; Book 19; 8:2). Don't forget the Tower of Babel, Miriam, Korah, Balaam, Uzziah, Haman, Absalom, and Belshazzar. But now, dear reader, celebrating the shame of others, which is an act of holy worship to God, is over! It is your turn. Where is the pride in your life? God is jealous. His name is Jealous (Ex 34:14). He is able, and He will, abase those who walk in pride (Dan 4:37; Job 40:11-12). He sees and knows the very thoughts and intents of your heart (Heb 4:12). You must examine yourself closely, find the seeds of pride in your life, and root them out quickly and completely. What is pride? It is a high or overweening opinion of one's own qualities, attainments, or estate, which gives rise to a feeling and attitude of superiority over and contempt for others; inordinate self-esteem. What is conceit? It is an overweening opinion of oneself; overestimation of one's own qualities, personal vanity or pride. Pride thinks you are important. Pride enjoys conversations and events about you. Pride believes your thoughts and opinions are right. Pride resents correction and instruction. Pride envies the advantages, abilities, or honors of others. Pride ignores asking others for advice. Pride looks down on others. Read this description again, dear reader. Pride is a temptation for every man, and one of Satan's favorite devices (I John 2:16). He tempted Eve to be like God, and he tempted our Lord with the kingdoms of the world. Our depraved hearts are filled with it by nature. You are already a proud fool, if you think you do not have a problem with it. Only those who know they are proud are learning humility. To think you have beaten pride is to prove your arrogant conceit! Our nation is addicted to pride. Our nationalistic arrogance is greater than any other. We are the proudest people on earth. We believe we are the feeding mother and disciplining father for the whole world. We glorify pride at home by calling it self-esteem and preaching it as the panacea for humanity's problems! Books are sold about looking out for number one, and songs are sung about self-love as the greatest love of all! 3 We must start at home. We must root pride out of our own souls, and then we must root it out of our families. Parents must make it the highest priority to teach humility and eradicate visible pride from their children. And pastors must root it out of their churches. Pride causes folly, which brings shame. It blinds men, because they presume they are always right (12:15; 14:16; 26:12; 28:26). So they reject and resent counsel and correction (21:24; 22:3). They disrespect those in authority. They make hasty decisions, for they cannot possibly be wrong (14:29; 29:20). It causes strife, for they fight to defend their position (13:10; 28:25). They cannot stoop to serve others, unless it serves them best. And they will not admit mistakes to God or men. Such a course will lead a man to foolish decisions and their horrible consequences - destruction and shame! God will never bless a man with a proud spirit (16:5). He draws near to the man with the humble spirit (Is 57:15; 66:2; I Pet 5:5-6). If you choose pride, God will resist you and humble you painfully (16:18; 18:12). If you choose humility cheerfully, God will raise you up gloriously (Luke 14:11). It is far better to be a poor humble man than to be a rich proud man, for God is about to cause a great reversal of fortune (16:19). Look for it! Soul 16:17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul. 22:5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them. 22:25 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul. Why do bad things keep happening to some people? Why do they keep getting into painful situations with no escape? They have not kept their heart and soul. They have been froward, unwilling to take correction and instruction, and they are being punished. A froward person is contrary to what is demanded or reasonable; perverse, difficult to deal with, hard to please; refractory, ungovernable; bad, evilly-disposed, 'naughty'. These stubborn people are going to do things their own way regardless of what is right or what they are taught. We can confirm this definition elsewhere in the Bible (2:15; 4:24; 6:12,14; 8:8; 10:32; 16:28; 17:20; Psalm 101:4; I Pet 2:18). Self-will is a horrible sin (II Pet 2:10-12). See the comments on 14:9 and 28:14. Youth are often froward. Not willing to listen to the instruction of parents and elders, they run into sin and find themselves in the thorns and snares of its consequences. They are sure they can avoid the thorns and miss the snares; so they rush ahead frowardly. Our Preacher warned against this folly and vanity of youth (22:15; Eccl 11:9-10; Ps 25:7). Thorns are painful difficulties in life. Instead of a plain and easy way, a hedge of thorns makes the way full of troubles and problems (15:19). The way of transgressors is hard (13:15); they will not have an easy and pleasant life. Thorns were part of God's first curse upon man for his sin in Eden (Gen 3:17-19). And they are still His curse (Is 5:1-7). 4 God hates the froward (3:32; 11:20), so He is froward to them (Ps 18:26; Lev 26:23-28). Rather than blessing them, He curses and judges them (Jer 23:12). Instead of prospering the work of their hands, He hinders it with blasting (Amos 4:9; Hag 2:17). No matter how the froward turn, they are pricked, torn, hurt, and shredded by thorns from God. The negligent father is pained by rebellious children (29:15; I Kgs 1:6). An impulsive marriage brings fifty years of trouble and grief (30:21-23). See the comments on 21:9. Obnoxious habits not corrected cause all friends to disappear. See the comments on 18:24. Foolish spending brings a chronic shortage of money (21:17). Snares are traps that catch and hold men for punishment. Instead of being free from fear and evil, the froward are trapped and caught by their sins (29:6,8; Job 18:8; 22:10; Ps 11:6). The LORD will not let them get away with rejecting His wisdom and counsel (Josh 23:13; Eccl 9:12). See the comments on 13:14. Sin gets men into problems from which they cannot escape. Men are trapped by their folly, and it keeps punishing them without respite or relief (18:7; Eccl 10:13; I Tim 6:9). The man who keeps his heart and soul will be far from thorns and snares (16:17). This lifesaving goal is to be sought with all diligence (4:23)! Such a man humbly hears the words of wisdom and instruction, and he does them. He does not resist, rebel, or try to protect his own opinions. He is careful to apply God's word to his whole life. How do we keep our heart and soul with all diligence, to avoid the thorns and snares of life? We fear the Lord, and not man (13:14; 29:25). We avoid foolish men (22:25; Deut 7:16; Judges 2:1-5). We let nothing interfere with hearing God's word. We obey all the truth we hear. We pray for wisdom to understand and grace to obey. We beg to be saved from our hearts (Ps 139:23-24); we make straight paths for our feet (Heb 12:12-13). We seek to be conformed to His perfect will more than anything else in life (Rom 12:1-2). The fear of the Lord and the way of righteousness is a fountain of life, to save us from the snares of death (14:27)! His yoke is easy and His burden light, why will you reject the good and easy path for one with painful thorns and dreadful snares (Matt 11:28-30)?