The book of Proverbs exposes many problems with pride. Here are just a few of them.
Proverbs 11:2 – “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom”
In Hebrew, “Pride” means: Boil up, Boil over. When pride comes it boils over into disgrace. Instead of being distinguished, pride ends in disgrace.
Proverbs 13:10 – “Pride breeds disagreement and quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”
Whenever there is much disagreement you should look for pride.
Proverbs 16:18 – “Pride goes before destruction, and a stiff spirit before a fall.”
While Union General John Sedgwick was inspecting his troops during a battle, he was not careful about keeping his head down under a protective wall. When reminded to keep down for safety, Sedgwick responded: “Nonsense, they couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance” A moment later, Sedgwick was shot & killed.
Proverbs 16:5 – “The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.”
Matthew Henry Commentary: “The pride of sinners sets God against them….let him know that though he admires himself, and others caress him, yet he is an abomination to the Lord. The great God despises him… they shall not escape his righteous judgment.”
William Coffin: “There is no smaller package in the world than a man wrapped up in himself .”
Avoiding pride is extremely difficult. According to Numbers 12:3, Moses was “very meek, more than all the people on the face of the earth. How did he do it? The Answer: Psalm 90.
Moses was Wrapped up in God, not Himself.
3 Steps in Psalm 90
- Standing in the Awe of God – vs. 1-2
A Prayer of Moses, the man of God.
Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
Proverbs 1:7 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” — In other words: Real wisdom, real humility begins to develop begins by getting wrapped up in God.
“Lord you have been our dwelling place” – Think about this statement from Moses’ perspective. Moses lived his first 40 years as Hebrew in the Egyptian palace (not his home) – His second 40 years as a shepherd in the wilderness (not his home) – His third 40 years leading a group of homeless people in a desert….. For 120 years Moses never had a home. Yet in the opening line Moses says: “God – YOU ARE OUR HOME!” Moses arrived Home when he was found by God.
Why is this important especially for men? It’s important because once Moses found his Home in God – then he no longer need to arrive. Moses no longer needed to “prove himself” or “make his mark or name for himself” or “boost his resume”– If you live your whole life always trying to “arrive” – it can be a struggle to be humble. **Please listen young men —- you could spend 40 years trying to “arrive” – trying to prove yourself to your family, community, father, your friends at church or Iron Leadership …all driven by Pride trying to make your life count or matter…..and you could completely miss God. Moses lived in Awe of God – Moses was at home with God – When Moses woke up every morning – He didn’t need anything: He had arrived. Think about how that would drive away pride!
2. Crystal Clear Clarity about ourselves. vs. 3-11
You return man to dust
and say, “Return, O children of man!”
For a thousand years in your sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night.
You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning:
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
in the evening it fades and withers.
For we are brought to an end by your anger;
by your wrath we are dismayed.
You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.
For all our days pass away under your wrath;
we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
The years of our life are seventy,
or even by reason of strength eighty;
yet their span is but toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away.
Who considers the power of your anger,
and your wrath according to the fear of you?
Binoculars – two lenses need adjustment- Moses points out two areas about ourselves which must come into crystal clear focus.
First Lens: Clarity concerning our Brevity – (Read vs. 4) – It’s difficult for us to think about God existing outside of time. To get perspective, Moses says: “For God, 1000 years is like one of our days.” Which means: 2 days ago for God was the birth of Christ, 3.5 days ago for God was Moses’ life – and 7 days ago For God was the creation of Adam & Eve.
For God – the entire human timeline is only one week old.
Then in vs. 5-6 Moses contrasts humanity with 3 visual analogies. Now before we review these – if you asked the man on the street to come up with an analogy for mankind – I think you anticipate something like “Mankind: A towering Redwood” or “Mankind: An impressive monument.”
Notice God’s view:
- Mankind: “Swept away as with a flood.”
This perspective creates humility!
Second Lens: Clarity Concerning Sin – Moses tells us, to get humility we must have crystal clear clarity about our standing before God.
(Read vs. 8) Once again, its hard to imagine but your every sin: Every thought, word and deed sits before God like a massive buffet table. Every sin sits under the bright, holy light of God. There is no comparing yourself to others, no excuses, no cover. Do you know what meditating on that reality should produce? Yep, Humility!
3rd Lense: Transition – “So”
- “So” – (vs. 12) “Teach us to number our days”. (vs. 14) We need to wake up in the morning and before our feet hit the floor we want to be thanking God for his “steadfast love” That’s why we woke up this morning.
- “So” – (vs. 16) “Let your work be shown (not ours) “Let your glorious power be on display (not ours).
A Prayer Influenced by Moses’ Humility
“Lord, I have already arrived home so I have nothing to prove today. I am awake this morning solely because of your steadfast love – You don’t need me and I certainly don’t deserve to be here. I am here for a limited number of days and those days are quickly fading, so I want your work and your glory to be shown as I walk through this day. O Lord – It’s not about me, it’s only about you!
Questions for Reflection
- How have you seen your own pride be destructive in your life?
- When Moses woke up every morning – He didn’t need anything: He had “arrived” – Moses was at home with God and didn’t need to prove anything. How would that mindset for you affect your day? How does it drive away pride and instill humility?
- How would clearly seeing the Brevity and Sin in your life help develop humility?