The Leader’s Pride

Tags: Discernment, Spiritual Warfare
2232 words   12:22   8.9 mins Copy link
The Leader’s Pride
The Leader's Pride covers 5 biblical examples of leaders who were proud. This is an important biblical teaching which will help you deal with pride in your own life.

The Leader’s Pride

Pride can be defined as esteeming yourself incorrectly, in accordance with selfish motives, rather than according to true, biblical, humility. The essence of pride is a lie, because pride says, “I am a good person, and have earned the right to be praised.” This is a fundamental lie, because,

There is no one righteous; no, not one. (See Romans 3:10)

Pride seeks to dethrone God and elevate self. It is a usurper. It is a thief as it seeks to rob God of his glory and put the glory on self. The proud heart is an enemy of God. The Bible says,

Pride goes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

The Bible also says,

Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to Yahweh: they shall certainly not be unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5)

Pride lacks accountability and will tell you that you are specially-privileged, and put you in a special category, and tell you that you are not subject to judgment like other people.

Pride will tell you how great you are. It is the voice of an enemy trying to lure you away from giving glory to God. It will seek to use you to lure others astray, as well. It is a destroyer.

Examples of pride abound in the Bible, but some of the more notable ones include:

(1) Nebuchadnezzar

(2) The Pharisee

(3) Naaman

(4) Herod

(5) Pharaoh

(6) The rich man who built bigger barns

1. Nebuchadnezzar

Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon. He was very powerful. Like all rulers, his authority ultimately came from God. However, Nebuchadnezzar made the mistake of thinking that it was his own hand that had wrought him all of these things. One day, as he was walking in his royal palace, he said,

“Is not this great Babylon, which I have built for the royal dwelling place, by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?” (See Daniel 4:30)

Here is what God thought about this:

While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from the sky, saying, “O king Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: ‘The kingdom has departed from you. You shall be driven from men; and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field. You shall be made to eat grass as oxen. Seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will.’” (Daniel 4:31-32)

Nebuchadnezzar’s downfall was his pride, and for the next seven years, he would learn the meaning of humility. After that, his attitude was changed and he recognized that God was deserving of praise, and not himself.

2. The Pharisee

The Pharisees were religious leaders in Israel. Jesus gives us a story about a Pharisee and a tax collector, in order to demonstrate that the Pharisee had a problem with pride.

“Two men went up into the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed to himself like this: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of men, extortionists, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far away, wouldn’t even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14)

Many of the Pharisees were proud because of who they were in society, and used their position to elevate themselves. Though they were supposed to know about God, yet they did not look to him for their approval.

3. Naaman

In the Old Testament, we read about Naaman who was the commander of the Syrian army. This man had a problem. He was a leper. He went to see Elisha the prophet, who was known as someone whom God used to perform miracles. Elisha told Naaman to dip himself in the Jordan river seven times. But Naaman’s head swelled with pride, and he initially resisted. He reasoned that the Jordan river was inferior to the rivers in his own home country. This pride would have kept him back from receiving his healing, had Naaman’s servant not talked some sense into him. We read,

Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall come again to you, and you shall be clean.”

But Naaman was angry, and went away, and said, “Behold, I thought, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of Yahweh his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leper.’ Aren’t Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them, and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.

His servants came near, and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had asked you do some great thing, wouldn’t you have done it? How much rather then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean?’”

Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. (2 Kings 5:10-14)

Naaman had a preconceived idea as to how Elisha would heal him. His preconceived idea was wrong, and his pride got in the way. Fortunately, Naaman was able to get out of the pride trap as a result of the wise counsel of his servant.

4. Herod

Herod was a king in Israel at the time of the Roman occupation. He was installed by Rome in order to keep order in society, manage affairs, and prevent civil unrest. King Herod was filled with pride, and when the people said that his voice was the voice of God and not a man, he believed it and accepted their praise. This displeased God and the Bible tells us,

Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give God the glory. Then he was eaten by worms and died. (Acts 12:23)

As we read about the life of Herod, we know that this was not the first time that Herod ever became proud. This demonstrates to us the patience of God, because God was not quick to judge Herod, but patient. However, eventually, God’s patience ran out, and Herod was judged.

This story should help us to understand both the patience of God, in seeking our restoration, as well as the severity of God, in that we cannot continue walking in sin and expect God’s grace to last forever.

5. Pharaoh

Pharaoh was king of Egypt, and refused to let the people of Israel go. He thought he could do whatever he wanted, and refused to heed the demands of the God of Israel which came through Moses and Aaron. Moses and Aaron were God’s spokespersons. God told Moses and Aaron to tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go. But Pharaoh did not want to lose his slave labour. Therefore, Pharaoh refused to let the people of Israel go. Because of this one man’s pride, many people would die, because eventually, a terrible curse came upon the people of Egypt.

What is interesting about the case of Pharaoh is that the Bible says that he hardened his heart five times. Then, it says that God hardened his heart five times. By this, it appears that we may be in great danger if we hardened our hearts too often. The Bible says it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God, and due to pride, Pharaoh fell into the hands of the living God.

God caused ten plagues to come upon Egypt. The last plague was the most serious. Ultimately, because Pharaoh hardened his own heart so many times, great judgment fell and a destroying angel was sent to kill all the firstborn of Egypt.

However, all those who humbly obeyed God through the word of Moses and Aaron, were spared. God commanded that the blood of a lamb be put on the door posts of each family. Those who obeyed were spared and the destroying angel did not come near them. The angel passed over the house, and this was the first Passover. Today, people in Israel continue to celebrate the Passover in remembrance of what God did in leading them out of slavery.

Later, Jesus came and was sacrificed on the Passover. Jesus is the ultimate Passover lamb. When the John the Baptist saw Jesus, he said,

“Behold, the lamb who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

All those who believe in him receive eternal life.

The Bible says Jesus humbled himself to the point of death on a cross. This is just the opposite of what Pharaoh did when he refused to let the people of Israel go.

6. The Rich Man who Built Bigger Barns

In the Bible, Jesus told a story of a man who had a lot of money.

He spoke a parable to them, saying, “The ground of a certain rich man produced abundantly.

He reasoned within himself, saying, ‘What will I do, because I don’t have room to store my crops?’ He said, ‘This is what I will do. I will pull down my barns, build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. I will tell my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry.”

But God said to him, ‘You foolish one, tonight your soul is required of you. The things which you have prepared—whose will they be?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21)

This man’s problem seems to have been pride. He thought he would not have to stand before the Lord. Or, if he did, at least not right away. However, he was wrong. One day, we will all have to give an account. We should be careful to live for God and do the right things daily, and be ready, if the Lord calls us home, at any time.

The Spirit of Pride

I was shocked one day when, coming down my stairs, I felt a strong spirit of pride in me. Suddenly, my heart swelled with pride. I did not like that. It felt very ugly. I cried out to the Lord, and asked him to take this terrible feeling away from me. The Lord answered me very promptly, and even though I did not hear any audible words, I knew exactly what he was telling me to do. He was telling me to make a sizable offering to the church.

I can assure you, this is exactly what happened. At that time, in order to get this ugly feeling off of me, I quickly wrote a cheque and sent it to the local church where we were attending. The spirit of pride immediately left me.

“Over the Top” Pride

I would describe “over the top” pride as being that which happens when we fall into unteachableness. I like to emphasize the importance of fellowship, because fellowship helps to keep us humble. If we separate ourselves from others, thinking, “I am better than that person, who is not as smart and wise and capable as I am,” we set for ourselves a snare and a trap, by which it becomes difficult for God to reach us. Do we separate ourselves from others? Or, do we allow God to use others to speak to us in our time of need? Moses was a wise man and allowed Jethro (his father-in-law) into his life in order to speak with him. Jethro gave him good advice!

Who are the friends that God has given to you, to bless you in your time of need? Are you willing to listen to them? Or, do you treat the ones that God has put there for you as enemies? This would mean that you have fallen into unteachableness, which is a very dangerous place to be. Not even David fell into unteachableness after he sinned with Bathsheba, but was willing to listen to Nathan the prophet, and heed the warning.

It is important to have people in your life, who can help you, and bless you, in time of need. Who are those key people that God has specifically put there for you? Perhaps you do not know who they are, but I would advise you to take out your smart phone if you have one (and I assume you do), and to start scrolling through all of those names that are listed among your contacts, and ask the Holy Spirit who those people are, according to his own choice, who can and will, bless you. Then, step out in faith and contact some of them and share with them your situation and watch God begin to help you.

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