It permeates everything . . .
Our walk, our talk, our attitude, our witness, our generosity (or lack thereof), our direction in life.
The world has opinions about it. It has been written about. Many people have defined it – writers, stars, rulers . . . Notice the following:
- I am the greatest. Not only do I knock em out, I pick the round!
- It ain’t bragging if you can do it.
- I would not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well.
Henry David Thoreau
- I have lived long enough to satisfy both nature and glory.
- Has God forgotten all I have done for Him.
- Some movie stars wear their sunglasses even in church. They’re afraid God might recognize them and ask for autographs.
Fred A. Allen
- There are two sides to every question: my side and the wrong side.
- I’m a black American, I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am. I have a lot of pride and dignity.
- There is probably a perverse pride in my administration… that we were going to do the right thing, even if short-term it was unpopular. And I think anybody who’s occupied this office has to remember that success is determined by an intersection in policy and politics and that you can’t be neglecting of marketing and P.R. and public opinion.
- If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride – and never quit, you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high but so are the rewards.
- I am impelled, not to squeak like a grateful and apologetic mouse, but to roar like a lion out of pride in my profession.
- One may be humble out of pride.
Michel de Montaigne
- I love what I do. I take great pride in what I do. And I can’t do something halfway, three-quarters, nine-tenths. If I’m going to do something, I go all the way.
- That’s what Rocky is all about: pride, reputation, and not being another bum in the neighborhood.
- Let’s stand up. Let’s speak with pride about our morals and our values and redouble our effort to elect more conservative Republicans.
- I obviously take a lot of pride in what I do on the football field, because that has the ability to influence a lot of people. That puts smiles on people’s faces. That gives people a pep in their step on Monday morning when they go back to work.
- One disco, one soft ball game, one lost love, one gay pride rally at a time.
- I take pride in being one of the most successful producers in hip-hop history, having the most successful record in hip-hop history, I have the most number ones.
- All money means to me is a pride in accomplishment.
- Great champions have an enormous sense of pride. The people who excel are those who are driven to show the world and prove to themselves just how good they are.
- The fact that I’m very close with my past relationships is something I pride myself on. My mom is still close to her first husband. It’s nice to be able to enjoy someone in a different form.
- “There’s a lot of pride involved in my refusal to believe in god.”
- “Pride helps us; and pride is not a bad thing when it only urges us to hide our own hurts— not to hurt others.”
- “You need to take pride in what God has given you.”
These are famous people throughout history defining what pride is by using it in relation to themselves – how they view pride. Are these statements accurate?
It would all depend on your reference point. How so? you might ask . . . . Let’s contrast the above to the following:
In Parashah 33: B’chukkotai (By my regulations),
we find our Creator giving us an IF/THEN ultimatum:
Leviticus 26:3-4 (CJB)
3 “‘If you live by my regulations, observe my mitzvot and obey them;
4 then I will provide the rain you need in its season, the land will yield its produce, and the trees in the field will yield their fruit.
He continues to explain what will and won’t happen as we come to the following part:
Leviticus 26:18-19 (CJB)
18 If these things don’t make you listen to me,
then I will discipline you seven times over for your sins.
19 I will break the pride you have in your own power.
I will make your sky like iron, your soil like bronze —
The word PRIDE in this verse is the following: ָגּאוֹן gāʾôn. This word has several meanings:
All the nations whom Yahweh raises up and shows favor to—Egypt, Assyria, Babylon—will come to the same end; Israel not withstanding.
The glory or excellency of a nation exists
in terms of their relationship with Yahweh.
Glory is not something intrinsic or indigenous to a given people or land…
Gāʾāh is used most often to refer to human pride. In Ezek. 16:49 such pride is called sin.
Ezekiel 16:49 (CJB) 49 The crimes of your sister S’dom were pride and gluttony; she and her daughters were careless and complacent, so that they did nothing to help the poor and needy.
Judah’s smug affluence and indifference resulted in arrogance. Although Israel’s arrogance is a testimony against itself, there is no inclination to change (Hos. 7:10).
Hosea 7:10 (CJB) 10 The pride of Isra’el testifies in his face, but in spite of all this they haven’t returned to Adonai their God or sought him.
Pride on both the national and individual levels leads to destruction. In history nations and civilizations have fallen due to pride.
On the individual level, the righteous find it better to identify with the lowly and oppressed than to identify with the proud.
Ultimately, the posture of pride is not simply disregard for God, but defiance.
This is expressed in the mistreatment of the righteous. If pride contains the seeds of its own downfall (Prov. 16:18), this constitutes only a part of the equation.
Proverbs 16:18 (CJB) 18 Pride goes before destruction, and arrogance before failure.
God himself takes an active role in the matter. Yahweh proclaimed, “This is what they will get in return for their pride” (Zeph. 2:10).
Zephaniah 2:10 (CJB) 10 This is what they will earn for their pride, for having reviled and boasted against the people of Adonai-Tzva’ot.
Thoralf Gilbrant, ed., “1377,” in The Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary – Gimel-Zayin, (Springfield, IL: World Library Press, Inc., 1998), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “1377”.
This is quite a contrast to the quotes by writers, stars and rulers that we read above, isn’t it? The root of the Hebrew word ָגּאוֹן gāʾôn is ָגּאָה gāʾāh. It means: to be high – to increase – to be majestic. This is important to understand when looking at pride because pride attempts to do all of these things.
The reference point from the text is quite a bit different than the reference point of the world because the world exalts self which is not only an arrogance, but a sin. It is defiance of God. We learn in Mishlei (Proverbs) the following:
Proverbs 11:2 (CJB)
2 First comes pride, then disgrace; but with the humble is wisdom.
The Hebrew word for this specifically is ָזדוֹן zādhôn. Notice what it means (I have bolded some very important parts):
Zādhôn is a masculine noun derived from the verb zîdh, “to behave insolently” or “to be presumptuous” (HED #2202).
It is primarily used in contexts which describe people whose pride causes them to oppose God and exalt themselves.
It can be used to describe insolence or presumption toward humans. David’s brother Eliab accused him of insolence before the contest with Goliath (1 Sam. 17:28).
However, it usually refers to presumption against God, described generally in Prov. 11:2, “With pride comes dishonor.”
It may be displayed by refusing to listen to the priest (Deut. 17:12) or by setting oneself up as a prophet and making false predictions (Deut. 18:22).
Jeremiah 49:16 used it to describe the arrogance of Edom (also documented in the Book of Obadiah). In Jer. 50:31f, he brings the same charge against Babylon.
Whether the subject of this pride is an individual or a nation, the point is that the insolence stems from a lack of recognition of God and of one’s lesser status compared to Him.
Those who prophesy falsely are usurping the role of God by speaking for Him.
The meaning is difficult to determine in Ezek. 7:10: “Your doom has gone forth; the rod has budded, arrogance has blossomed” (NASB). The verse seems to refer to Israel (who deserves judgment), but some take the term to refer to Babylon (as the instrument of judgment).
Thoralf Gilbrant, ed., “2171,” in The Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary – Gimel-Zayin, (Springfield, IL: World Library Press, Inc., 1998), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “2171”.
Oppose God and exalt themselves? Pride was used in the garden in this way. Eve was told by God that eating or touching the fruit would cause her to die. The serpent said it wouldn’t. She is faced with two choices:
- Believe the Creator who does NOT lie
- Believe the serpent who is the INVENTOR of the lie
The Creator God is truth – there is no lie in him. What would cause Eve to pick the lie from the inventor of the lie over the truth? PRIDE!
The serpent appeals to Eve’s pride by lying to her. She chooses to believe this lie over God’s truth. WHY?!? What could be so enticing? Five little words:
“You will be like God”
The ultimate exaltation – to make oneself like the Most High. Man fell as a result of believing this lie – of wanting to believe this lie. This was opposing God and exalting self. This was defiance. This was pride!
Ironically, this exaltation – this pride, was the Adversary’s downfall as well.
In our next post, we will learn and go a little deeper into to pride – we will examine the ramifications of pride – we will look at its implications from a worldly standpoint vs a Godly one. We will examine how it permeates our entire lives – much of the time without us even aware of it.
It shouldn’t be too much of a shocker that it does – After all, if it was what the Adversary used to lure Eve to believe the lie over the truth . . . and it worked . . . if it was the downfall of the Adversary himself, why would we expect it not to be his weapon of choice against all of mankind?