Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.
How many of us have been warned in the past that pride comes before a fall? The saying is said to come from Proverbs 16:18 but there is a clearer definition of this age-old warning in Wiktionary: ‘A person who is extremely proud of his or her abilities will often suffer a setback or failure, because he or she tends to be overconfident and to make errors of judgment.’
Followers of boxing will be aware that fighters who swagger from the dressing room to the ring and ridicule their opponents often have cause to eat humble pie at some point during a fight. In some cases face meets canvas within seconds of the bell for the opening round. Whether down to overconfidence or basic errors in judgment, the result is the same. Members of the sporting press usually ridicule such falls from grace in fight reports, while the Internet means that the falls of the proud are recorded for posterity on YouTube.
Perhaps the writer of this proverb was talking about a different type of pride? The sort of pride that says man is all there is, and that God does not exist? The Psalmist calls such a person a fool: ‘The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.’ (Psalm 14:1/Psalm 53:1 NIV). If we deny God, then it could be argued that we are proudly elevating man to a position where he does not belong. Can man create a universe? Of course not. He can only speculate on how the universe came into existence. Sadly, many people spend hours engaged in proud but foolish speculation concerning the existence of God instead of humbly surrendering to Him and giving to God what is His. Paul spoke about this indirectly while teaching about the foolishness of loving money:
If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith. (1 Timothy 6:3-7, 20-21 NIV)
What is the condition of your heart reader? Are you a proud fool heading for a fall, or a humble servant surrendered to God and wealthy beyond imagination in God’s promise of eternal life?