One of the great side benefits of doing mission work in a number of different countries is experiencing a wide range of cultures. In doing so, I have encountered many wonderful proverbs used by these diverse people groups. Some of the proverbs sound strangely familiar from one culture to another. I believe these commonalities across humankind reflect our common Creator.
I am particularly fond of a Zulu Proverb, “Even when the rooster is not present, day dawns”. This proverb is used for a prideful person who thinks they are indispensable. The issue of pride, likewise, receives considerable attention in scripture. Its destructive nature ought to command our attention. The following verses provide notice of the serious nature of pride:
- “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18, NKJV)
- “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 1:2, NKJV)
- “Arrogance and pride, distinguishing marks in the wicked, are just plain sin” (Proverbs 21:4, MSG)
- “For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself” (Galatians 6:3, NKJV)
- “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12, KJV)
- “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3, NKJV)
If a person wants to find favor with God, it is humility that pleases Him. Pride will often get between a person and God without the person realizing it. But, if a person would stop and think, they would realize they have nothing except what has been received from Him. Did we create ourselves? Did we create the ground upon which we walk or the air that we breath? Did we reveal ourselves to God? Was it by our own doing that the plan for our salvation came into existence? Are we able to save ourselves? Did the gift of the Holy Spirit come to us through our own agency? Pride subtly elevates a person, in his or her own eyes, to the same level as God, resulting the person rejecting the very gifts God would give them.
Hear God’s word on the issue: “Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is my throne, and earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” Says the Lord.” But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:1-2).
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (1 Peter 5:6, ESV)
~ Brother Roy