Dealing With Pride, Part 2
As we continue to study God’s word about pride, there’s a very important question you need to ask yourself. Who made you God? Each of us has set ourselves up as God and we take pride in that. Let’s look at somebody who tried to make himself equal with God.
Ezekiel 28:1-4- The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “‘In the pride of your heart you say, “I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas.” But you are a man and not a god, though you think you are as wise as a god. Are you wiser than Daniel? Is no secret hidden from you? By your wisdom and understanding you have gained wealth for yourself and amassed gold and silver in your treasuries.’”
I want you to notice that he does have a beauty about him, and he does have talent. God does say that by the man’s wisdom, talent, and understanding he has amassed wealth for himself. People talk about their God-given talents all the time. I’ve heard doctors boast that their talent for surgery came from God, yet there was no humility ringing through them. They were not broken about that or giving thanks to God who gave them the talent. There was a self-sufficiency and thinking they were more blessed than other men. In the pride of your heart you say, “I am a god.”
Ezekiel 28:5- By your great skill in trading you have increased your wealth, and because of your wealth your heart has grown proud.
There is no denying the riches, talents, and gold are there.
Ezekiel 28:6-7- Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “Because you think you are wise, as wise as a god, I am going to bring foreigners against you, the most ruthless of nations; they will draw their swords against your beauty and wisdom and pierce your shining splendor.”
He’s not as high, holy, and exalted as he thinks he is. He’s not as secure as he might perceive.
Ezekiel 28:8-12- They will bring you down to the pit, and you will die a violent death in the heart of the seas. Will you then say, “I am a god,” in the presence of those who kill you? You will be but a man, not a god, in the hands of those who slay you. You will die the death of the uncircumcised at the hands of foreigners. I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD.’” The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.’”
First the Lord compares the pride of man to a king who thinks he’s as exalted as a god and then scripture goes on to talk about Satan. Satan tried to take on the heavenly realms and tried to set himself up as God. God is trying to show us that though we might not be Satan, we would be if given enough time. All we have to do is look at our own hearts to find where Satan is at. However, we don’t need to blame everything on the Devil. We need to look at the pride in our own hearts to see who is really king in the throne room.
Ezekiel 28:12-13- This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.”
This scripture is talking about Satan, that old serpent. It will show us what was in his heart and what is in all of our hearts. The one thing that we need to let God deal with is the pride that lingers in our own heart. We are so comfortable with our pride that we don’t even realize it doesn’t belong.
Ezekiel 28:13-14- You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.
Satan was the guardian of God’s throne. God had given him splendor and power in the position he held.
Ezekiel 28:15- You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.
There is no denying he possessed a beauty and power, but it didn’t lead him to humility. It didn’t lead him to worship God in true brokenness.
Ezekiel 28:16-17- Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.
The eyes of Satan came off of God and onto himself. He began to look at his own beauty rather than to look at the one who gave him the beauty. That’s why he was thrown down.
Ezekiel 28:18-19- By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.
We must ask God to come into our hearts and show us what pride lingers there. Who is really set up on the throne in our own hearts? Pride is the most deceptive kind of sin and only God can cleanse us from it.
Genesis 3:1 shows us the pride in our own hearts. All of us have set ourselves up as God. This scripture talks about the original sin. Each of us was born thinking ourselves to be a god.
Genesis 3:1-5- Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Satan comes to the woman first because God had created man first and then woman to serve man. But a god serves nobody else, at least not the kind of god that Satan is. So he goes to upset God’s complete and perfect order by going to the woman first. The submission, humility, and meekness that she once had are no longer hers because she is a god now. The man too has become a god. He is now going to know good from evil. No longer are they dependent upon God to be taught what is good and evil. No longer do they even believe God. God says, “You must not eat from the tree” and the serpent says, “No, God is just holding something back from you. If you eat of it, you will know good from evil. You will be able to discern who’s a good person and who isn’t. You will be able to decide what is wicked and what is good.” Most people live their Christian life that way. They are gods, deciding that their evangelism is good, deciding who their brothers and sisters are in the Lord, deciding who is wicked and should be avoided. We have set ourselves up to be god, deciding what is good and what is evil. We read the word of God and decide how we are going to interpret, apply, and understand it. We set ourselves up to be a god. We rule our own life, though we might do it in the name of the Lord. It’s quite an amazing thing for a man to walk around saying he is god, but there are certainly people that are beginning to do that now.
Genesis 3:5- For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
The greatest relief there is in Jesus Christ is no longer being god. The greatest burden that I can remember was trying to decide what is good and evil and how to put my life together. It’s a burden to have to decide where to go, where to live, and what is proper. There is a great rest in coming before God in humility and saying, “God, you tell me what is good and evil. You truly be God.” We have to decide who is going to rule our life. Are we going to do it? Are we going to be as god, or is God really going to be on the throne of our hearts?
Proverbs 21:4- Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin!
When we set ourselves up to be god, the light by which we walk with is complete darkness. What we call good is really evil. God says that the sacrifices of the wicked are detestable in his sight because they walk and live in sin. We are walking around playing like we are God. We decide our own destiny in who we’ll be and what we’ll do. We’re no longer servants of God or his children; we are gods. We live in our own world. We decide what we are going to be, where we are going to live, what our goals are. We are no longer servants of the most high God, instead we demand that he serve us. We think somehow he’s holding pleasure back from us as we thought in the garden. Our eyes become haughty and our lamps become dark. It is nothing but sin. You have a choice. You can either fall down off that throne, or you can be thrown down from that throne.
Proverbs 18:12- Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.
Before any man begins to fall, he has to fall into pride. Before a man loses his salvation and turns his back on God, he has to become prideful. He has to believe in his own heart that he can somehow escape the wrath to come. He has to believe that he can hold his own life together. He has to fall into the rebellion of thinking he has some power, grace or strength of his own. Before any man falls, he first begins to believe that somehow he can keep his life together without God, and God is a liar in all that he says.
Proverbs 18:12- Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.
Before they fell in the garden pride was beginning to seep in. They began to want to be like God and be separate and independent from him.
Proverbs 16:18- Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
A man who is humble says to God, “I need you. I want to learn from you.” A man that is humble comes to God to be taught and receive life. A man that is humble says, “I need God.” A man that is broken in Spirit says, “I need the truth and the light of God’s face in my heart. I don’t want to set me up as god deciding what is good, proper, and holy.” But pride separates us from God, and we become our own god doing what we think is best to do. It can be scriptural or wicked, it doesn’t matter. The point is whether Jesus is really God in our life or whether we are god. You are not going to understand God’s words, you’re not going to understand truth or have any fellowship with him as long as you have pride in your heart and as long as you set yourself up to be God.
2 Samuel 22:26-29- To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low. You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light.
He is saying, “God, bring your light into where my darkness is and show me the pride that is there. I know you oppose those who are prideful. I know that your eyes are upon the haughty in order to bring them low. I know that you say to Satan and to every king that sets himself up as God, ‘I will throw you down. You will die like the uncircumcised. At the hands of foreigners you will come to a horrible end.’” He says, “I know to the faithful you show yourself faithful. To those who are pure and clean and have a real love for you, you show yourself to be pure and clean. But to the prideful and haughty you show yourself to be shrewd.” God knows how to box men in for the day of destruction. God knows how to take a man’s plans and put them right back on him. God’s eyes are upon the haughty to bring them low. So we need to pray what verse 29 says, “You are my lamp, Oh, Lord.” Pride cannot discover pride. You can’t leave a thief to guard the bank. You can’t say to the sinful nature, “Show me all the pride that is in me.” It doesn’t want to do that. It’s totally opposed to the idea and couldn’t do it even if it tried. “You are my lamp, Oh, Lord.” His Holy Spirit has to come into our hearts, and we have to allow him to show us the pride that lingers there. “The Lord turns my darkness into light.” He takes the sinful nature and exposes it. He gets rid of it and crucifies it. He puts it to death and really puts humility in our hearts if we allow him to do it. When I first began to preach and I knew God had called me to do that, I thought I was ready for a large congregation of 1,000 people. Time after time and discipline after discipline, God had to show me that I wasn’t ready and my heart wasn’t clean. I had to be purified. The desire to even have a large church had to be totally crucified to a place where I hated the thought of it in my life. God has to work the purification. He has to bring the lamp. He has to come to each of us and say, “Get down off the throne and put me there instead.” The question is not whether God is willing to do that, because he’s most willing. The question is whether we are willing to allow him to do it. Will we say with David, “You are my lamp, Oh, Lord”? You can lie to me and put on a false humility. I am not all seeing or all knowing. I don’t even want to be God. One of the most wearisome things I know is to walk around trying to judge everybody and everything. You can fool everybody in the body but the point is, can God say that you are clean? Can he come to all of our hearts and say that he really dwells there or are we kings of our own lives?
2 Samuel 22:29- You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light.
He has to come and search. He has to do the digging. He has to clean us out. Pride can put on false humility. I guarantee you pride will always claim, “I am not prideful.” Then you are proud of your humility. Pride is a sinister trap that continually grows unless it is completely put to death. While the Holy Spirit comes to break us, humble us, and take us off the throne, we too have to move toward God. We have to humble ourselves and go before him and say, “I want to be humbled and broken.”
Luke 14:7-10- When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests.”
We are invited to the banquet feast of God. He is telling us to take the most humble place, not in a false humility but because you know that really is your place. Sit in the lowest seat knowing in your heart that’ where you belong. Say with Paul, “I am the worst of sinners,” and really mean it in your heart. I get so tired of false humility and people saying with such smug looks on their faces, “Yeah, I know I need God. I am a sinner just like everybody else.” They don’t really believe it.
Luke 14:10-11- But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, “Friend, move up to a better place.” Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
We have to actively pursue a goal in Jesus Christ, which is to humble ourselves. We need to count ourselves to be the servant of all and to be the servant of God. We have to get down off the throne and quit putting our life together and trying to make ourselves god deciding what is right and proper. He who humbles himself will be exalted.
Ephesians 4:1- As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
The next verse tells us the first thing we should strive for in order to live a holy life in Christ Jesus. Does it talk about evangelism, passing out tracts, or doing all kinds of works and prayers?
Ephesians 4:2- Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
You are no longer God deciding anything in your life. Stop thinking you are worthy of anything. Stop looking at your own beauty or talents and what you think you have. Be completely humble with no thought of self or any glory for you. No thought of you deciding what is proper and good.
Ephesians 4:2- Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
How few bodies have that humility and brokenness. Everybody decides what is proper and good. Do you know what I am talking about? Everybody in the church knows exactly what is proper for your life and what you should do. I’m not saying we shouldn’t give counsel to one another, but we do so with humility. There’s a sense of utter dependence on God. We have a feeling that unless God gives us the wisdom, we won’t know anything. But there are churches where codes and conducts are set down. Everybody plays little god deciding what’s proper for the other person. It leads to gossip and slander. It leads to anything but love. A church can’t have everybody sitting on the throne. Somebody has to be serving somebody. There are all kinds of selfish motives in these churches.
Ephesians 4:2-3- Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Keep the bond of peace by being completely humble with each other. In other words, when I fellowship with my brothers and sisters they know that I am not trying to get something from them. You see, when you set yourself up as god you are trying to get something from somebody else. You want to be served, acknowledged, puffed up and be the center of attention. But if humility is present then there’s no thought of what I can gain for myself. Everyone should have a brokenness to serve and take the lowest seat. Nobody is worried about somebody else stabbing them in the back or seeking to do them harm. It’s not anybody setting themselves up to be better or to be as god deciding what’s proper for someone else. Everybody walks in humility seeking the face of God.
1 Peter 3:8-10- Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.”
Pride always leads to deceitful speech. Pride tries to appear humble, at least for a time period. You have to act like you are the servant of everybody else. It’s called flattery.
1 Peter 3:11- He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.
Do we seek the action God is calling us to perform? It’s not a matter of sitting in your prayer closet and waiting for humility. You can’t just lay there and say, “God, break my pride,” and then do nothing. You have to actively try to humiliate yourself each day. You have to decide that every time God brings something in your life that makes you look stupid or foolish to count it as a blessing. Then there will come a time in your life that you do not even realize you’ve been humiliated. A great deal of the problems that occur when a body begins to fellowship and someone first comes to the Lord are caused by a new convert’s defensiveness. They are trying to hold it together and live the Christian life. There’s just not the humility that says, “I am going to do everything wrong.” I know, I’ve been there. Be completely humble and seek the lowest place. Ecclesiastes says for those who are young in the Lord to sit in the dust and offer their cheek to one who would strike them. Say in humility, “Show me everything that I do that is wrong in any way that you want to show me. Just break me that I might not be king of my life.”
1 Peter 3:11- He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.
There must be activity, zeal, and a longing to be humble. I don’t want to hear the whining and moaning of, “I can’t humble myself. Only God can deliver me.” That’s a true statement, but it can be said with a good heart or a bad heart. A good heart says, “I know that I cannot humble myself, but by faith I step out to do good and humiliate myself, knowing that God will deliver me from pride.” While a wicked heart says, “I can’t do it myself,” and therefore does nothing. If you are trying to teach a child to do something and he won’t even step out to try, how can you teach him anything? But if he steps out to do the activity you are trying to teach him and he makes mistakes, he learns though he’s humiliated in the process. In the very process of seeking to humiliate ourselves, we find that we cannot do it. It drives us to humble ourselves before God that he might do the work within us. All it should lead to is a sense of utter helplessness that says, “God, I cannot work anything in my life. You’ll have to do it.” At least Peter asked to step out on the water. He might have sunk and felt foolish, but at least he stepped out.
1 Peter 3:12- For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
God does not hear the prayers of those who are not humble, broken, or seeking God with humility. God does not hear the prayers of a man who is king and god of his life though he prays for hours on end. Yet the very nature of pride is to walk away and say, “God heard my prayers.” The very nature of pride is that we think God hears us when he doesn’t. If we are ever to understand God and have a relationship with him, the one thing that must go is pride.
Proverbs 11:2- When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
If we want wisdom and understanding, we must be humiliated. Pride has to go.
Proverbs 13:10- Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
Those who are able to take advice from each other and recognize God working through others are a humble group of people. Look at Acts 20:17 and see how Paul describes his ministry and his life. I want you to understand that humility is not necessarily appearing meek or hiding in a corner. Jesus overturned tables in the temple with humility. Paul turned to a man who was opposing the gospel and made him blind for a season in humility.
Acts 20:17-18- From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. When they arrived, he said to them. . .
The things you are about to read that Paul said to the Ephesians are things you should also be able to say to your brothers and sisters. Only a humble man can possibly say these things. Only a man who has had God cleanse his heart can dare begin to say this at all.
Acts 20:18- When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia.
Paul said the people looked at his life and this is what they saw:
Acts 20:19- I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews.
Can we say this to our brothers and sisters and have them agree with us? Can we turn, like Paul, and with the authority of the Holy Spirit say, “You know that from the first day I met you and for the whole time I was there, I served God with great humility and with tears”? There was a meekness and dependence upon God. He didn’t have it all put together. He wasn’t Mr. Christian or a super apostle. He was totally dependent upon God.
Acts 20:19-21- I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
Again, humility isn’t something that causes us to cower in the corner. Humility works the total opposite. If you meet a humble man in the Lord, he will be a bold man in God. He will not appear humble because humility makes us dependent upon God who is holy, clean, pure, and powerful. I don’t mean that he has to shout, proclaim things loudly, or draw attention to himself. I am talking about a humility where God works and moves in his life. Scripture says that God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and self-discipline. A humble man does not act like a not a hiding-in-the-corner, scared rabbit type of person. Paul preached publicly, house to house, and in the streets that everybody must repent and turn to God. That takes some courage. That kind of courage can only come from God. But there has to be humility and a sense of utter helplessness and dependence upon God. Are we willing to come down off our thrones? Who in the world made you God anyway? Why is it ever proper for you to decide what is good? In Philippians 2:5 it even says that Jesus made himself nothing and humbled himself. Again I want you notice as we look at Philippians 2:5 how Jesus actively pursued humility. Stop waiting for God to somehow wave his magic wand to make you humble. Pursue righteousness and holiness. Seek the lower seat.
Philippians 2:5-6- Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
Jesus didn’t run around saying, “Well, I’m Mr. Christian, and I am the son of God.” It wasn’t a boastful thing at all.
Philippians 2:7- but made himself nothing
Do you see how Jesus pursued humility and actively chose to make himself nothing? It’s a decision that each of us must make. Every single day can get out up out of our beds and choose to be king and lord of our own life, or we can choose to let God be King of our lives. It’s a decision we make. We either pursue to be nothing or we keep ourselves as god. Let me tell you, you make a pretty lousy god.
Philippians 2:7-8- but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!
Jesus is asking us to do the same thing he did. He humbled himself. You have to choose it, allow it, and be willing to let it take place. You have to fall before God and say, “God, I no longer want to be king and Lord of my life.” I don’t care if you’ve been a Christian 30 years or where you stand, the point is what’s in your heart? Who really rules there?
Philippians 2:12- Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
Why do we not see the fear and trembling in the body of Christ? Because people are themselves god. A god has it put together. A god has no need to be in fear and trembling. A god knows what’s good and evil and has decided that what he/she does is good. But somebody that has dethroned self and laid down their pride is dependent upon God. They know that the minute God would turn his back or ever leave, or if they fall into disobedience, they’ve lost everything. The worst curse God can ever give us is to say, “Ok, you want to be a god? Then be it.” Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Why is there no humility that rings with fear and trembling? Because we are still god. We still have a sense that we are somehow put together in Jesus Christ, because a man who needs God and knows he needs God works out his salvation with a lot of fear and trembling. He is obedient and senses that he must remain obedient to God. He wants to be obedient to God. He knows that at any moment his heart could turn hard if God were but to turn a different direction. It isn’t law and legalism. Only those who are prideful and think they are God want the law and legalism. If you know God and have a humble heart, you want to serve him. You are thankful and want to be obedient. Let us become a group of humble people.
Proverbs 6:16-17- There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,
This first one listed is haughty eyes. A person with haughty eyes is a man who thinks he is superior, who thinks he’s god, who thinks he know good from evil and thinks he can decide better what should happen in his life. What is next but a lying tongue? Show me a prideful man and I will show you a man who lies. He sees not his own heart nor can he tell anybody else the truth. Pride does not stand up and expose itself nor say that it exists. Pride always thinks that it’s right and proper. Show me someone who is in pride and they will not even be able to acknowledge what the truth is. That’s why I know there are people who could sit under oath and swear they are going to tell the truth and believe that they are telling the truth, but it’s a lie. A prideful heart thinks it’s right, and it has the truth. It knows good from evil. It knows what’s going on.
Proverbs 6:17-19- haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
All as a result of haughty eyes. Keep the bond of peace and unity by being completely humble with each other. If we would walk in humility what peace we would have with each other. Then we would both know that even if I give you advice, or say or do something wrong, there’s humility behind it. I have no desire to do anybody harm. So there’s not the backlash from somebody else who’s all indignant because they weren’t treated proper, something wasn’t said the right way, or somebody didn’t understand them right. What peace there is when the pride is gone and the humility is there. I want you to look at Proverbs 21:24 because we want to talk about religious pride.
Proverbs 21:24-The proud and arrogant man”Mocker” is his name; he behaves with overweening pride.
His name is “Mocker.” That is, you say “Christian” and then he says, “Christian,” you say “humility,” then he says “humility.” You pray—he prays. He says all the right things and knows the scriptures. If you say a scripture, he says a scripture back. That’s the nature of self-righteous, haughty, religious pride. It says and does the right things and then it stands back and says, “I did the right thing. I was god and I decided that’s good. I’m God, and I’ve decided that what this person does is evil. I have decided what I’ve done wasn’t all that bad.” He’s a mocker. He mimics the things of God and pours contempt on others who don’t live up to his standards.
In Deuteronomy 1:37-45 we see a group of arrogant people that go up and try to take the promises of God. There will be a lot of people trying to get into heaven who think they belong. They are mockers. They said all the right things and did all the proper stuff. They talked about humility and even had a sense of it, but their pride was proud of their humility.
Deuteronomy 1:37- Because of you the LORD became angry with me also and said, “You shall not enter it, either.”
Moses could not enter the Promised Land because of the sin of the people. The people could not enter the Promised Land because of their own sin.
Deuteronomy 1:38- But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it.
Scripture says that Moses was the most humble man on the face of the earth. Moses had been told by God that he could not enter the Promised Land. Moses pleaded with God many times for that to happen and finally God said, “I don’t want to hear any more about it. You’re not going in.” I want you to think about the disappointment that was in Moses’ heart. The very thing that he lived for and longed for was to bring the people into the Promised Land. That’s what he prayed for and strove for. Think about all the good things that Moses did for the people and all the times he was patient with them. One time he was impatient with the people and didn’t glorify God and God’s discipline was that he couldn’t enter the Promised Land. God gave him the ultimate rebuke, which resulted in the thing that Moses probably feared the most. What does God then tell Moses to do? He tells him to encourage Joshua. He tells him to go to Joshua and say, “You get to go in.” Do you see the humility in Moses? Though he didn’t get the promise, though he didn’t get the answered prayer, though he served God in ways that Joshua never did and is not allowed the very promise that he longed for, he is told by God to go back and encourage Joshua and he does so.
Suppose you had a child who was sick and the child died. Suppose you had prayed, fasted, and sought after God but he did nothing. But then God tells you to go tell somebody else their child will be made well in an instant. It’s pride that thinks we can demand something from God and that he owes us something. It’s pride that thinks God is wrong in his judgment. It’s pride that tells us we know good from evil and can turn to God and say, “I did all these righteous things. Why can’t I go in? Well, God, if this is the way you’re going to be after I’ve served you this whole time, I’m not even going to bother serving you anymore.” There was a man on the radio last week who was saying that you can only love God as much as you feel and sense the love of God in your life. He said when the feelings are gone there’s no way you can love God and there’s no way you can love somebody else. Is he saying people can always sense that God is there and in their favor? Where does this leave poor Job? The guy didn’t have one ounce of feeling God was in his favor. Where is the humility that says, “I need God no matter what he does and no matter who he is?” Where is the sense of brokenness before God?
Deuteronomy 1:38-40- But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it. And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who do not yet know good from badthey will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it. But as for you, turn around and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.
Take note that Moses didn’t die at this point. They reached the place of the Promised Land and God says, “You can’t go in,” but Moses continued to lead and bless them, though he never gets to go in.
Deuteronomy 1:40- But as for you, turn around and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea. Then you replied, “We have sinned against the LORD. . .”
Humble words. Truthful words. They have an appearance of meekness. How often have we said the same thing?
Deuteronomy 1:41-Then you replied, “We have sinned against the LORD. We will go up and fight, as the LORD our God commanded us.”
So you sin against God and then go to God’s word and claim a promise that you are forgiven. How many people do that?
Deuteronomy 1:41- Then you replied, “We have sinned against the LORD. We will go up and fight, as the LORD our God commanded us.” So every one of you put on his weapons, thinking it easy to go up into the hill country.
They put on their spiritual tools and weapons, and then they went out to do the work of God. They sinned against God but they didn’t wait upon God to hear what his discipline was. They wouldn’t accept that part of it, though they confessed that they sinned. In their arrogance and haughtiness they’ll seek to take that which God later tells them not to take. There was no true humility and brokenness. They only had an appearance of it. As long as self is on the throne you can hear words like, “I sinned. I did wrong,” but what’s in the heart that’s being cleansed? Is there a true humility that comes from God?
Deuteronomy 1:42- But the LORD said to me, “Tell them, ‘Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you. You will be defeated by your enemies.’”
Here’s the all-important issue. The Lord is my lamp. He is my light. It is of utterly no importance whether I tell you or myself that I am humble. I am a liar. The sinful nature is good at telling lies that look good. I believe and love my own lies. I like my own filth. Pride cannot see pride, nor can it confess it. The Lord has to be our lamp. He has to search and do the work. He is most able to do it.
Deuteronomy 1:42- But the LORD said to me, “Tell them, ‘Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you. You will be defeated by your enemies.’”
How often we go back to deal with sin time and time again. We claim the scriptures, we confess our sins, but we are missing brokenness. The pride has not yet been surrendered. So we go up into the hill country to claim the scriptures. We think we are standing firm, but the sins come back into our lives to take us captive. Why? We weren’t really willing that self would be crucified. We weren’t really waiting for God to take our pride and break it. So we go on to do all our Christian activities and before long we find out that we are enslaved again and taken over by the very enemies we thought we had conquered. When somebody confesses sin it means nothing unless God has put his stamp of approval on it and says, “Yes, you are humble.” Unless God works the brokenness and allows it to be there, we have gained nothing. Pride will confess sin. Pride will confess humility. It will do all the proper things. It’s called “mocker.” That’s its name. It says everything right. It tries to make the outward appearance of its life look right. Praise God that his Spirit is powerful enough that mockers cannot succeed. They can be revealed for who they are. God can come to our own hearts and show us where we mock and mimic.
Deuteronomy 1:43- So I told you, but you would not listen. You rebelled against the Lord’s command and in your arrogance you marched up into the hill country. The Amorites who lived in those hills came out against you; they chased you like a swarm of bees and beat you down from Seir all the way to Hormah. You came back and wept before the LORD, but he paid no attention to your weeping and turned a deaf ear to you.
God does not pay attention to the prayers of the arrogant or haughty. You can even come before God with weeping. Pride will weep and shed tears left and right to look righteous. But God pays no attention. Until we allow him to remove us as god from our lives, until we allow him to come in and take the pride away, he will not be attentive to what we say. We can confess our sins from now until Jesus comes back but it will do no good until pride is dead.
Deuteronomy 1:45- You came back and wept before the LORD, but he paid no attention to your weeping and turned a deaf ear to you.
Why do you think there is so much weeping before the altar of God and so little victory over sin? You would think with all the pleading before God to be delivered from sin, to be sanctified, to be pure and for God to glorify his name, that pride would be gone. Why are we not humble? Because in arrogance we keep taking hold of that which is not ours to take hold of. Until we sit back and let God work that humility and brokenness in us, until we actively pursue to be nothing, he will not be attentive to our prayers. Don’t claim anything in scripture until you let God work the brokenness. Let him take away our pride, haughtiness, and arrogance, and let him especially remove mocker from us. Let the Lord truly be the lamp.
Luke 18:9- To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:
Pride is so sinister that it’s not going to think immediately that it’s a Pharisee. The following verse says they were confident of their own righteousness. Mocker is not going to say, “I’m dependent upon me.” Of course he will say, “I’m dependent upon God.” There are very few men that I actually know who have stood up and said, “I am trusting in my own righteousness.” That’s not the nature of pride. The nature of pride is to say the proper words.
Luke 18:9-11- To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself:
The Pharisee thinks he is god. He decides what is good and evil and what is proper and improper. He looks at his own life and is confident of his own righteousness. He doesn’t measure himself by the power of the Spirit working in his life. He prays about himself and says, “God I thank you. . .” it sounds like humility, doesn’t it. It sounds like brokenness. “I thank you, God, that I am not like other men. Robbers and evildoers, adulterers or even like that tax collector.” He looks at his own life and then measures what is good and evil. Do you see what his sin is? The sin is measuring himself against everybody else. It’s not that evildoers and adulterers are good, but when he measures himself against other men he cannot make a proper judgment. It’s not that humble men don’t judge. They do judge. In fact they are the only ones who should be allowed to judge because it’s God judging through them. But when we are God, when we are walking around in our own righteousness thinking we can somehow decide what is proper and good, we then measure everybody else by us. We avoid those who are more righteous than us and hang around those who we think are less spiritual. Let me tell you, if you’re in self-righteousness, you don’t hang around with Moses. You find someone who will build you a golden calf.
Luke 18:12-14- “I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.” But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
That’s the all-important question. It doesn’t matter whether you are justified in your own sight but whether you are justified before God. It doesn’t matter whether you tell yourself, “I have faith. I’m going to take the Promised Land,” but whether God says, “You can go into the promised land.” Can you say with Paul by the authority of the Holy Spirit, “I tell you that we were humble and meek among you”?
Luke 18:14- For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
It’s not a matter of getting into the prayer closet and in pride never looking up to heaven. It’s not a matter of outwardly doing what the tax collector did, because pride will get up and be proud of its humility. It’s a matter of us honestly believing and knowing that we are the tax collector. That is the only way any of us will be delivered from prideful self. When God’s spirit finally hits our own hearts and we see ourselves in relationship to God, then we will know that we are the tax collector. We won’t say it with an intellectual knowledge. We won’t go through the motions. We will declare to all of heaven that we are the tax collector. Those who are humble like that and see the depth of their sin will allow God to come into their life and strengthen them by his grace and so be an obedient people. If you get to this place and God leaves you there everyday, knowing that you need and are dependent upon him, you will be given the grace and strength to live the Christian life. If you refuse to be humble and broken, God will let you play god until you finally get so weary of playing god that you lay it all down. He will let you walk around and try to hold the Christian life together. Of course, you will find that no man can hold it together because the Christian life is impossible to live except by the grace of God. Prideful people will find a group of Pharisees who will puff them up and tell them everything they do is ok. Blessed is the man who allows himself to become the tax collector. Allow God to do the work.
Psalms 25:9- He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
I don’t know what’s right and wrong, but I know God guides the humble to show them what’s right and wrong. It says that God teaches them his way. Turn to 1 Corinthians 12:14 and know that God is going to show the humble the way of life.
1 Corinthians 12:14-22- Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
The man who thinks he is god, the man who thinks he can live the Christian life by himself at his home and not fellowship or be a part of the body is a fool. He’s a prideful, arrogant, haughty man who knows not the way of life. No matter where you think somebody is at spiritually, every part of the body is needed. That’s how God has chosen to do it. No man is God and complete in and of himself. No man knows good from evil. No one in the body has all the wisdom by himself.
1 Corinthians 12:21-22- The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable
You can’t do without other people in the body. So before you begin to think that you’re more spiritual than someone else in the body, you must realize that it is by faith that you stand and it is by grace that any other brother or sister stands. If you compare yourself to Jesus Christ, you will realize that you have a long, long way to go. If you measure yourself to another brother or sister, you’ll think that you’re more exalted than they are. If I look at myself and measure myself to another person who knows nothing spiritually, except to know to get in the water to be baptized, I might think that I am Mr. Super Apostle. But I don’t measure myself to the young Christian; I measure myself to Jesus Christ. Then I turn and declare, “I know nothing.” Those parts of the body that are weaker are indispensable. We need each other and only humility leads to acknowledging that fact.
1 Corinthians 12:23-25- and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
He gave grace to Joshua who certainly did not compare to Moses. Joshua was permitted to enter the Promised Land and not Moses. In humility consider others better than yourself. Don’t look down on any brother or sister.
In Acts we read about Saul coming to the Lord and how God broke him of pride.
Acts 9:5-8- “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus.
Jesus appeared to him only to bring humility and brokenness. Jesus didn’t proceed then to lay out all the glorious details of Paul’s life. He let him be led by the hand first. With humility comes wisdom. You have to be willing to be led by the hand. Even while being led by the hand you will stumble, and trip. It’s a slow process. The man who thinks he can come to God and says to the other parts of the body, “I am God, I’ve got it all together,” will never, ever know the grace of God. But the man who allows Jesus to meet him on the Damascus road, shatter every ounce of pride, take self off the throne, and allows himself to be led by the hand will be taught the grace of God and will become a mighty servant of God. Each of us can get to this place. Don’t dare think for a moment that you have to be a Saul. You just have to be willing to be made nothing.
Acts 9:17 –18- Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the LordJesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming herehas sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,
Again, scripture emphasizes a dependence on other men. Ananias never compared to Saul in terms of the work he did for the Lord, but it took an Ananias to open Saul’s eyes. God has the chosen the weaker parts of the body so that there may be equal concern for all parts. Every part is indispensable.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.