This post is the first in a series called The Case for Humility. Stay tuned for more articles in this series by Kevin.
We do not live in a humble society. Egotistic leaders dominate and self-aggrandizing celebrities are revered. It is almost impossible to climb up the ladder without contentious boasting in many professions. Many fear that by being humble they will be passed over for opportunities or trampled upon like a doormat. Even the facade of humility we put on betrays our inner pride; we want others to think that we are humble, but even that is vainglory.
So what is true humility? What does the Bible say about it? How do we obtain it? Why should Christians pursue it? This humility series will address these crucial questions. The next three parts in our series will explore three biblical reasons why Christians should strive for humility. We will see that God hates pride, that God delights in humility, and that God Himself is humble. Today we will look at the first reason.
God hates pride
Throughout the Scriptures, God announces His fierce opposition to pride. Here is a sample of Bible verses that demonstrate God’s hatred of pride.
James says that God opposes the proud (4:6). Proverbs states that God hates haughty eyes (6:16-19). Amos tells us that God loathes the arrogance of Jacob (6:8). Jeremiah says that God is against the arrogant one (50:31). One Psalm writes that God rebukes and curses the proud (119:21). Later, Proverbs says that God tears down the house of the strong (15:27). 2 Samuel says God abases the haughty (22:28).
Luke writes that God scatters those who are proud in their thoughts (1:51). Jeremiah says that God will destroy the pride of Jacob (13:9). Zechariah prophesies that God will cut off the pride of the Philistines (9:6). Isaiah promises that God will punish the king of Assyria for his arrogance (10:12). Isaiah says that God will defile and despise the prideful (23:9).
The strong language – oppose, hate, loath, against, rebukes, tear down, abase, scatter, destroy, cut off, punish, defile, despise – conveys God’s white-hot animosity towards pride. Almost no other sin in the Bible is condemned as fiercely and as frequently as pride is. C. J. Mahaney goes as far as to say that “biblical evidence abounds for the conclusion that there’s no sin more offensive to Him than pride.”
Why is pride possibly the most offensive sin against God? While no direct answer is found in the Scriptures, there are several possibilities. St. Augustine of Hippo said “pride is the commencement of all sin.” Why? Because “every sin, if I mistake not, is a contempt of God, and every contempt of God is pride. For what is so proud as to despite God? All sin, then, is also pride.”
Also, the proud in Scripture is usually associated with those who unrepentantly reject God. For instance, Psalm 10:4 says “The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him. All his thoughts are, ‘there is no God.’” The proud, in biblical terms, are the godless and the rebellious.
Pride, moreover, seeks the glory that only belongs to God. God jealously guards the glory that is rightfully His (Isaiah 42:8). Pride, then, is cosmic theft whereby the creature steals what belongs to the Creator.
Thus, God hates all sin, but particularly pride. Pride is especially odious to God. It is a category on its own.