Summary: People should realize the risk of living in pride.
DANGERS OF PRIDE
Definition of PRIDE
1. A reasonable and justifiable self-respect.
2. An inordinate self-esteem: conceit; inflated self-exaltation; exceeding reasonable limits.
ILLUSTRATION Pride is the only disease known to man that makes everyone sick except the one who has it.— Bud Robinson
How do we know if we are guilty of this sin? Oswald Sanders suggested three tests by which pride can be discovered:
1. The test of precedence. How do we react when another is selected for the assignment we expected, or for the office we coveted? When another is promoted and we are overlooked? When another outshines us in gifts and accomplishments.
2. The test of sincerity. In our moments of honest self-criticism we will say many things about ourselves, and really mean them. But how do we feel when others, especially our rivals, say exactly the same things about us?
3. The test of criticism. Does criticism arouse hostility and resentment in our hearts, and cause us to fly into immediate self-justification?
This morning I would like to speak on the dangers of pride. Some people don’t realize the risk of living in pride. Please turn your Bibles to Obadiah 1:1-21.
BACKGROUND When Jerusalem, the capital of the kingdom of Judah, fell to the Babylonian army in 587 B.C., those in the neighboring kingdom of Edom joined in looting the city. They even intercepted fleeing Judeans and turned them over to the Babylonians to be executed or enslaved.
The Edomites showed no compassion even though they were related to the nation that was being destroyed. Edom was descended from Esau, the brother of Jacob, who was the ancestor of the Israelites.
The Edomites ruthless treatment of their helpless neighbors drew rebukes from the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel. The prophet Obadiah, who seems to have been among those who remained behind when many Judeans were taken into exile, added an oracle of his own.
He assured the people of his community that God would repay Edom for its treachery, and that God would restore their own fortunes in the process.
What made the Edomites commit their actions? In v. 3, Obadiah stated their sin and it was about the “pride of their heart.” Pride is a dangerous attitude and it causes the Edomites to say “who can bring me down to the ground?”
Why is pride dangerous?
1. PRIDE IS DECEPTIVE. (v. 3-9)
Pride develops a false sense of security and self-sufficiency. To trust in self and one’s own ability to the exclusion of God is spiritually suicidal. Edomites pride rests on the following:
a. Geographical Location (vv. 3-4) – The Edomites lived in high, secure, seemingly unconquerable mountainous places. Their rugged inaccessible fortresses gave them a false security
Their pride is dramatically likened to the eagle, which both nests and soars in the heights and is known for deadly and devastating attacks upon helpless and unfortunate victims.
b. Material Provision (vv. 5-6) – The mention of wealth and goods by the prophet implied that wealth is one of the reasons for their pride. Verses 5-6 express one thought: all the wealth and treasures of Edom will be taken away.
Thieves and robbers only take what they want or need. But when God delivers his judgment, everything will be loss. The same thing when the grape pickers do their job, they don’t complete strip the vines. But when God delivers his judgment, nothing will be left.
c. International Connection (vv. 7) – Greater than the loss of wealth is the loss of friends or human support. Edom will be left to stand alone. There comes a time in a life of a proud people that all of his close friends will abandon them.
Friends whom we think can be dependable and committed to support us in times of need would not be there. In fact, at times they are the very source of our own downfall.
d. Practical Wisdom (v. 8) – Edom was famous for wisdom and wise men. The loss of this practical wisdom, which was Edom’s claim to fame in the ancient world, will be part of the complete destruction to befall Edom.
e. Aggressive Warrior (v. 9) – Deliverance in disaster is usually accomplished by the valiant warriors or the mighty men. But Edom does not have even this straw of hope to grasp. Its warriors will be terrified and cut down in the slaughter.
All these resources are the common source of pride by men. They are deceptive because when the real challenges come they cannot withstand the test. Why? Pride’s greatest enemy is not man but God.
No amount of wisdom, wealth, warrior, and friends can defend us from the judgment of God. Don’t be deceived by the sources of your pride. SEE JOB 20:4-10.
2. PRIDE IS DESTRUCTIVE. (v. 10-14)