|Volume 21 Number 4 April 2019||
Ernest S. Underwood
Solomon, or actually it was God, evidently didn’t have much use for liars. About a dozen times in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes He expressed condemnation for such. One of those times is in Proverbs 12:22. Here He stated, “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.” There’s that word “abomination” again, and this time it is lying lips that are an abomination to the Lord. What kind of lies? Is he talking about little white lies, big black lies, lies of a material nature or lies of a spiritual nature? The term “lying lips” seems to cover the whole spectrum of lies. This means that when a preacher or teacher states something and attributes it to God when God neither stated it nor authorized it, that preacher or teacher has lying lips. When any false doctrine is taught, the teacher of that false doctrine has lying lips. John encouraged the disciples, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Does your preacher have “lying lips”? If so, do you still support him? Again, if so, then you are supporting what is an abomination to the Lord.
[Editor’s Note: Teachers and preachers have a weighty responsibility because they affect not only themselves but everyone also who hears them. Consequently, they will be scrutinized (“receive stricter judgment,” James 3:1) more strictly than other people. Hence, both the speaker and the hearer share responsibilities to validate teaching via Scripture. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
The Tragedy of Pride
Ronald D. Reeves
The biblical concept of pride is negatively portrayed, arising from within and defiling the spiritual man (Mark 7:20-23). Accordingly, we should regard pride as an age-old enemy of humanity and as dangerous to those so characterized. There is the distinct possibility that some children of God need to overcome the challenge and the sin of pride.
Pride is an inordinate and excessive measure of self-esteem, often involving a state of an undue sense of one’s importance. Suggested synonyms include arrogance, haughtiness, conceit and pretension. The general character of pride is seen as we observe that a proud heart is sin (Proverbs 21:4) and that it is characteristic of perilous times (2 Timothy 3:2). Its relationship to the world is observed as we are reminded that the pride of life is of the world (1 John 2:16). The power of pride is expressed as we affirm that pride is as a chain that binds (Psalm 73:6). The danger of pride is better appreciated as we understand that pride is as a rod in the mouth of a fool (Proverbs 14:3).
Pride is displayed in our attitude toward others as we exhibit disrespect and scorn toward them (Psalm 123:4). Pride is displayed in our speech with others as we speak proud things (Psalm 12:3; 17:10; 1 Samuel 2:3). Pride also causes men to speak grievous things (Psalm 31:18). Men may speak proudly in the day of another’s distress (Obadiah 1:12).
With respect to God and His righteous standards, pride causes wicked men not to seek after God (Psalm 10:4) and causes men to refuse to obey the commandments of God (Nehemiah 9:16-17, 29). With respect to the treatment of other men, pride causes the wicked to persecute the poor (Psalm 10:2). With respect to manner of speech, pride causes men to sin with their mouths in cursing and lying (Psalm 59:12; 119:69).
The impact of pride is clearly described in the Scriptures. With respect to our standing before God, pride defiles a person (Mark 7:22-23). Pride also causes good men to fall (1 Timothy 3:6). Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). With respect to our relationship with men, pride stirs up strife (Proverbs 28:25). Pride also brings contention (Proverbs 13:10), and it brings a person low (Proverbs 29:23; Isaiah 2:12). Simply put, pride brings shame (Proverbs 11:2). With respect to self, pride deceives (Obadiah 1:3).
The Lord pronounced a blessing upon the individual who does not lend respect to those who are proud (Psalm 40:4). The Lord’s attitude toward pride is evident as the Scriptures affirm that He hates pride (Proverbs 6:16-17; 8:13), that He regards pride as an abomination (Proverbs 16:5), that He opposes the proud (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5), that He will not suffer a high look and a proud heart (Psalm 101:5), and that He regards the proud as worthy of death (Romans 1:30). Yes, the Lord recognizes the proud from afar (Psalm 138:6).
The Lord’s responsive actions toward those who are proud are several. He smites through the proud (Job 26:12); He rebukes the proud (Psalm 119:21); He destroys the house of the proud (Proverbs 15:25); He exercises His wrath on the proud (2 Chronicles 32:25-26); He burns the proud as stubble (Malachi 4:1); He pronounces a woe on the crown of pride (Isaiah 28:1) and He smites the proud with the day of the Lord (Isaiah 2:12). The various responsive actions of the Lord toward the proud generate various results. The proud receive plentiful rewards (Psalm 31:23); the proud are broken by the Lord (Leviticus 26:19); the proud will be brought down (Zechariah 10:11); the proud will be punished (Proverbs 16:5) and the arrogant attitude of the proud will cease (Isaiah 13:11).
The solution to the sin of pride is presented in Romans 12:3, with such being applicable “to every man that is among you.” One is commanded “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.” Rather, one is required “to think soberly,” thus being prudent and under self-control. A measure of success will be achieved as we practice introspective analysis, compare ourselves to the standard of the Word of God, accept the results of an honest evaluation and as we think of self in terms of the results obtained. Pride—it is high time to cleanse ourselves from it.