In this series of bulletin articles, we’ve been examining the Westminster Larger Catechism, published in the 17th Century. Lately we’ve been looking at the first commandment of the ten commandments: ‘You shall have no other gods before me’ (Exodus 20:3). We saw the duties of the first commandment and then began to reflect on the sins forbidden by the commandment.
One of the sins of the first commandment is pride. Whenever we are proud, we exalt ourselves against God and place ourselves in his place as god. We do not assess our position in this world as we ought, and start to forget that we are the created and God is the creator. Thus the sin of pride is a clear violation of the first commandment not to have other gods.
Pride is quite dangerous because it leads to other sins. The Book of Proverbs teaches us: ‘Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice’ (Proverbs 13:10).
But why is pride such an issue for us? God punishes the proud for their arrogance toward him. He does not share his position as God with anyone: ‘I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols’ (Isaiah 42:8). Proverbs warns: ‘Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall’ (Proverbs 16:18). Pride can lead to a fall, a fall into the bottomless pit of the abyss!
Thus the Bible gives many examples of people who were proud in their actions towards God and were punished accordingly. A classic example is found in Isaiah the prophet’s prophecy against the King of Assyria: ‘Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I have heard your prayer concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria. This is the word that the LORD has spoken against him: “‘The Virgin Daughter of Zion despises you and mocks you. The Daughter of Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee. Who is it you have insulted and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel! By your messengers you have heaped insults on the Lord. And you have said, “With my many chariots I have ascended the heights of the mountains, the utmost heights of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars, the choicest of its pines. I have reached its remotest parts, the finest of its forests. I have dug wells in foreign lands and drunk the water there. With the soles of my feet I have dried up all the streams of Egypt.” ” ‘Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass, that you have turned fortified cities into piles of stone. Their people, drained of power, are dismayed and put to shame. They are like plants in the field, like tender green shoots, like grass sprouting on the roof, scorched before it grows up. ” ‘But I know where you stay and when you come and go and how you rage against me. Because you rage against me and your insolence has reached my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will make you return by the way you came’”’ (2 Kings 19:20-28).
So, have you seen the sin of pride in your life? Humble yourself now before God and ask for forgiveness through Jesus. If you do so, he will cover your offense toward God and save you from certain downfall. Joel Radford.