As the great liner Titanic was being loaded at Southampton, England, a passenger stopped a deckhand who was carrying luggage aboard and asked if the ship really was unsinkable. “Yes,” he assured, “it was. God himself couldn’t sink the great ship.”
“Pride is the only disease known to man that makes everyone sick except the one who has it” (Bud Robinson). “Pride is the ground in which all other sins grow” (William Barkley). Pride is an attitude of self-exaltation which, in its conceit of superiority, arrogantly tramples on other, and, in its independence of spirit, self-sufficiently rebels against God.
David’s pride and ambition led him to take a census to glory in the size of his nation and power and defenses of his army – 2 Samuel 24:1-9. David wanted to bask in the glory of success. There was certainly nothing wrong with a census, but a census that praised men would never glorify God. David put his faith in the size of his army and not God’s ability of protection. God gave David nearly ten months to change his mind and avoid discipline (v. 8). God even used the wise counsel of Joab to discourage him, but David would not listen.
David’s sin was not a hasty thing; he carried it out with cool, calculated precision. He was rebelling against God! Though we might think that David’s sin with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11) was huge, it seems as if the sin of the spirit – pride, had a bigger impact:
- Pride here in 2 Samuel 24, was a sin of the spirit (pride) while the other was a sin of the flesh.
- David acted with deliberate persistence, while his sin with Bathsheba came as the result of the sudden overwhelming desires of the flesh.
- David’s pride involved the nation, and 70,000 people died, while David’s other sin was a family matter, with 4 people dying.
- In both sins, God gave David time to repent, but he waited too long.
It is clear that we sometimes totally underestimate the effect pride can have on our lives, sometimes even more than the effects of other sin. It is too bad that we sometimes become stubborn in heart and insist on our own way. We may not think that pride and rebellion against God’s Word are serious sins, but in David’s life they produced greater sorrow and tragedy than did his adultery. We must beware of sins “of the flesh and of the spirit” (2 Corinthians. 7:1). Pride is viewed as a great evil because it involves pretending to a greatness and glory that belong rightly to God alone.
James 4:6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Proverbs 3:34 He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.
The antidote to pride is thankfulness.
Tomorrow I will share practical steps to be taken towards pride…