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Pride and Humility - Part 1
by Pastor Alex Lindsay
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Reference: Psalm 8:1-9

We are beginning with words of David again - words which he may have shared with his son, Solomon (Proverbs 4:1-9). A simple point may be taken from this psalm: When you consider the works of God from His creation, man needs to be humbled before God.

Our study of pride and humility dovetails with a previous study on "The Fear of the Lord." Pride and humility are subjects which must primarily deal with how we see ourselves before God (Proverbs 8:13; 16:5 cp. Proverbs 3:34; Psalm 138:6; James 4:6-10). Subsequently, pride and humility become subjects that deal with how men see themselves among their fellow men. So much of the time, as men ignore / disregard God, they also become apathetic and / or adversarial towards man (Proverbs 13:10; 21:24; 28:25 cp. Psalm 86:14; 10:1-18 [Note: Psalm 10 is not a psalm of David but is very relevant to this study]).

Pride originates with our ignorance of God and our contempt for God. Pride is then extended to our attitude towards man: a foolish independence of others, an indifference or apathy for others, an extreme competitiveness - which can lead to an aggressive, even a predatorial relationship with others. Humility originates with our conscious effort to know, honor, and submit to God. It is a sense of living in the presence of God. Humility is not timidness, fearfulness, or low self-esteem. Humility is a God-honoring sense of appreciation and respect for others. The behavior of Humility is to be considerate of others, and to seek to fulfil the Golden Rule - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." See Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31. Those who are humble will, as much as possible, seek to cooperate with others (Romans 12:3-10, 18; I Peter 5:5-6).

The Hebrew and Aramaic words that are used for "pride / proud" refer to arrogant boasting, lifting up oneself, and impiety / irreverence. As a matter of fact, pride is the opposite of reverence and worship for God (Psalm 34:1-3).

The Hebrew words that are used for "humble / humility" refer to being lowly (knowing your place), modesty, gentleness, and meekness. Note David's heart before God in Psalm 131:1-3.

Other Hebrew words that relate to pride or to humility:

  • Scorner - One who mocks and speaks arrogantly (Proverbs 3:34; 21:24).

  • Lowly / lowliness - One who is humble, poor, needy, weak, and afflicted (Proverbs 3:34; 11:2; 16:19 cp. Psalm 138:6).

  • Poor - One who is needy / who is in a humble, lowly state of being (Proverbs 18:23; 28:11). It is not just that they are needy, but they understand their neediness. Consider Matthew 5:3. The Greek word used for "poor in spirit" means to be a beggar - one who has to ask for things.

Here are things that the Book of Proverbs says about those who are proud and those who are humble:

  • God hates and condemns pride - Proverbs 8:13; 15:25; 16:5; 21:4; 6:16-19 (Note vs. 17 & 19 cp. Proverbs 13:10; 22:10).

  • In life, the general outcome for the proud will be bad. The general outcome of those who are humble will be good. Even though the proud seem to prosper, the humble have a better quality of life (Proverbs 3:34; 11:2; 13:10; 14:3; 15:33; 16:18-19; 18:12; 22:4; 28:25; 29:23).

  • Those who are proud and arrogant are often contentious and have a bad reputation with other people. They get embroiled in strife and difficult situations (Proverbs 13:10; 14:3; 21:24; 24:9; 28:25).

  • The proud are difficult / impossible to teach. The humble tend to be willing to listen, learn, and even ask for advice / help (Proverbs 13:1,10; 14:6; 15:12; 18:23; 28:11).

  • It takes humility to correct ourselves and work on our mistakes (Proverbs 6:1-5 [note vs. 3 in KJV, NKJV, NASB, NLT - "…humble yourself / swallow your pride …" In some other translations, look at the foot note.])


For a closing thought, here is a maxim that is not in the Bible, but the Bible supports it:

"Anger will get you into trouble. Pride will keep you there."
Originally delivered June 4, 2023
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