Friday, February 8, 2013

Pride and Shame or Humility and Wisdom

By Bob Hoekstra

When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom . . . The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the legacy of fools. (Proverbs 11:2 and 3:35)

In order to live by the grace of God, we must be willing to walk in humility, instead of in pride. "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5). We must be willing to acknowledge our daily, desperate need for God. Any other approach to life is based upon pride (which is a foolish, inaccurate assumption that we are adequate to produce a life on our own). Those who walk in pride end up with shame. Those who walk in humility end up with wisdom.

The scriptures describe those who foolishly walk in pride, as well as declaring the shame that they experience. "When pride comes, then comes shame . . . shame shall be the legacy of fools." One example would be the wicked way that many privileged and powerful persecute the downtrodden and the vulnerable. They are demonstrating their pride. "The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised" (Psalm 10:2). 

Their shame is that they can become entangled in the very schemes that they have contrived. Another example is those who arrogantly oppose the people of God. "This they shall have for their pride, because they have reproached and made arrogant threats against the people of the LORD of hosts" (Zephaniah 2:10). Their shame was announced as a barrenness so severe as to be likened unto the end of Sodom and Gomorrah.

" 'Therefore, as I live,' says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, 'Surely Moab shall be like Sodom, and the people of Ammon like Gomorrah - overrun with weeds and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation' " (Zephaniah 2:9).

In contrast to the shame that comes to the prideful, is the wisdom (and resulting glory, or honor) that comes to the humble. "With the humble is wisdom . . . The wise shall inherit glory." Those who walk humbly before the Lord find the godly wisdom that is available in the Lord's infallible word. "The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple" (Psalm 19:7). 

This wisdom from God brings honor to the humble ones who live by it. "A man's pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor" (Proverbs 29:23). Again, this honor for the humble is in striking contrast to the wretched and ignoble ends that pride engenders.

Dear Lord of glory, how fitting that those who pridefully oppose You will be brought low and will end up in shame. I do not want to be numbered among them. I want to walk in humility. I want to eagerly acknowledge my desperate need for You every day in every way. I want to be compassionate toward the needy. I want to bless Your people. I want to humbly seek the wisdom of Your word. I want to be a vessel of honor unto You, through Christ Jesus, my Lord, Amen

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