Proverbs 18:12

Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.


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Destruction or honor is a choice. Pride guarantees destruction, and humility brings honor. This is not human musing about negative aspects of arrogance and conceit. This is inspired wisdom of certain consequences of not humbling yourself before God and men.

The law here is more certain than gravity. If you think highly of yourself, you are going down (Pr 16:18). If you think lowly of yourself, you will be raised up (Pr 15:33). There is only one Being with the right to exalt Himself, and you are not Him, so humble yourself.

How strong do you think you are? God resists the proud, which means He fights against you, if you are haughty. Can you overthrow Him and succeed anyway? You are a fool. Read the Bible about what God did to Pharaoh, Sennacherib, and Nebuchadnezzar.

How strong is God? He helps the humble, which means He fights for you against things holding you back! Tell God you cannot do it yourself or that you do not know what to do; He will do it for you. Read the Bible about Jehoshaphat’s great victory (II Chr 20:12)!

There are three forces at work to guarantee this two-sided law. First, there is the divine force of God’s jealousy and justice. The LORD Jehovah will not allow a man to think too highly of himself. He hates pride (Pr 6:16-17). And He especially hates pride in sinful men. He will supernaturally bring a proud man down, or He will lift a humble man up.

Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go” (Ex 5:2). Of course, those were his famous last words, as God destroyed his nation, assets, firstborn, chariot, and then him! God irresistibly imposed His sovereign will on that man and brought him down to destruction.

But consider another king. Solomon said, “And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in” (I Kgs 3:7). Here is great humility, as the young king freely admitted his ignorance. God gave him wisdom, riches, peace, and long life for this humble prayer!

Second, there is the human force of man’s judgment. Even natural men cannot stand an arrogant, haughty, or proud man. They will do what they can to avoid him, reject him, or take him down. They resent his pompous and superior attitude and cocky spirit. But they are often quite happy to promote and reward a man who humbly confesses he is nothing.

Even kings will befriend humble men that have gracious speech from pure hearts (Pr 22:11). It is impossible to speak graciously, if you have any thoughts of haughty superiority in your heart or mind. David was such a man, and King Saul, Prince Jonathan, and the whole nation loved him for his humility in heart, word, and deed. Though he had killed Goliath, it never altered his correct low view of himself before God and men.

Third, there is the personal destructive force of self-deceit. A haughty man cannot see clearly. His excessive confidence causes him to make bad decisions. He rushes ahead in hasty zeal only to find that his pride caused him to miss a serious danger. But a humble man, not trusting himself nearly as much, will analyze matters thoroughly before acting.

Consider Haman’s pride that caused him to rush forward in his plan for extermination of the Jews in the Persian Empire. If he had done a little research, he would have discovered that Esther, Ahasuerus’s new queen, was a Jewess! He could have rethought his arrogant conspiracy. Instead, it was his pride overlooking this fact that cost him everything.

Consider the arrogance of the owners and captain of the Titanic, as it raced near top speed through the iceberg-filled waters of the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912. Though warned thoroughly by other ships of the danger lurking in the dark, this “unsinkable” ship took only two hours and forty minutes to sink with the loss of over 1,500 lives.

Pride was the sin of the devil (I Tim 3:6). Because of his pride, God reserved the lowest place in the universe for him – the depths of hell! He will suffer eternal destruction and the most frightful torments forever. Humility was the glorious character of Jesus of Nazareth, Whom God has highly exalted above every creature forever (Phil 2:5-11).

Consider it! Satan was the highest of God’s angels, well above any man in intelligence, power, and glory. Jesus was born to a poor carpenter’s wife, birthed in a stable, and swaddled in a manger. But the most stupendous reversal took place! Jesus of Nazareth now rules the universe at God’s right hand far above Satan and his angels. If Almighty God did this for Jesus against the devil, He can certainly raise you up over obstacles.

You know braggarts are arrogant and conceited by their loud, long, pompous, and self-loving speech. You can recognize body language and treatment of others that indicate haughtiness, pride, or self-righteousness. Hopefully you are not guilty of any of these obvious sins. But God sees deeper. He sees into your heart, so this proverb was written to warn you of haughtiness in your heart. You must humble your feelings and thoughts!

The world teaches the arrogance and ignorance of self-love, self-esteem, and self-confidence. This heresy contradicts God’s wisdom taught in the Bible and in this proverb. Your love should be of God first, others second, and yourself last. Your esteem should be of God first, His word second, others third, and you last. Your confidence should be only of what God can do through you, with you, or for you, not in yourself (Ps 127:1-2).

Examine yourself! Hate any lofty thought! Tell the Lord and any who will hear that you are nothing and less than nothing, and do it sincerely. Tell the Lord you are a little child needing His help for the simplest tasks. Get off your high horse and get down with those the world despises as lower class (Rom 12:16). Stop protecting yourself and sheltering yourself. Go down, and God will raise you up. Lift yourself up, and God will crush you.

Hear the inspired advice of the apostle Peter: “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (I Pet 5:5-6). God’s resistance or His grace, which do you prefer? Which would benefit your life the most? Let His mighty hand exalt you in due time.