“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
God levels the playing field by allowing those full of pride to suffer the consequences of their own behavior. Pride-filled people who have succeeded in life begin to think they are in control of life. They begin to put others down who get in their way—until someone more powerful comes along and knocks them off their self-made throne of arrogance. We see it happen in all walks of life. We see in happen to leaders of towns, cities, and nations. Leaders of small countries play “king of the hill” often while trying to make a name for themselves. These kinds of leaders are self-serving as opposed to serving the people of their country who pay their salary.
We see it happen in the church among congregations of believers. As humans, we place our pastor on a pedestal of honor because he has been chosen by God to speak for God. We begin to think he can do no wrong. If we are not careful, we as the listeners to God’s message begin to think the messenger is God. When we do this, the conditions and environment are formed in such a way that the pastor begins to think he is God, too. This temptation is tremendously great among pastors still today. It is evident from God’s Word that God hates “legendary pride” and deviant arrogance. There are over 30 passages that tell us how much God hates pride-filled people.
The more filled with pride we are, the less filled we are with Christ.
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16-18
Yes, pride in the hall of fame is the precursor to the great fall of shame. Jeremiah relates the details of Moab’s fall from riches to rubble.
Jeremiah 48, The Message
Get Out While You Can!
1-10 The Message on Moab from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel:
“Doom to Nebo! Leveled to the ground!
Kiriathaim demeaned and defeated,
The mighty fortress reduced to a molehill,
Moab’s glory—dust and ashes.
Conspirators plot Heshbon’s doom:
‘Come, let’s wipe Moab off the map.’
The city of Madmen will be struck mute,
as killing follows killing.
Listen! A cry out of Horonaim:
‘Disaster—doom and more doom!’
Moab will be shattered.
Her cries will be heard clear down in Zoar.
Up the ascent of Luhith
And down the descent from Horonaim,
cries of loss and devastation.
Oh, run for your lives! Get out while you can!
Survive by your wits in the wild!
You trusted in thick walls and big money, yes?
But it won’t help you now.
Your big god Chemosh will be hauled off,
his priests and managers with him.
A wrecker will wreck every city.
Not a city will survive.
The valley fields will be ruined,
the plateau pastures destroyed, just as I told you.
Cover the land of Moab with salt.
Make sure nothing ever grows here again.
Her towns will all be ghost towns.
Nobody will ever live here again.
Sloppy work in God’s name is cursed,
and cursed all halfhearted use of the sword.
11-17 “Moab has always taken it easy—
lazy as a dog in the sun,
Never had to work for a living,
never faced any trouble,
Never had to grow up,
never once worked up a sweat.
But those days are a thing of the past.
I’ll put him to work at hard labor.
That will wake him up to the world of hard knocks.
That will smash his illusions.
Moab will be as ashamed of god Chemosh
as Israel was ashamed of her Bethel calf-gods,
the calf-gods she thought were so great.
For how long do you think you’ll be saying, ‘We’re tough.
We can beat anyone anywhere’?
The destruction of Moab has already begun.
Her choice young soldiers are lying dead right now.”
The King’s Decree—
his full name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
“Yes. Moab’s doom is on countdown,
disaster targeted and launched.
Weep for Moab, friends and neighbors,
all who know how famous he’s been.
Lament, ‘His mighty scepter snapped in two like a toothpick,
that magnificent royal staff!’
18-20 “Come down from your high horse, pampered beauty of Dibon.
Sit in dog dung.
The destroyer of Moab will come against you.
He’ll wreck your safe, secure houses.
Stand on the roadside,
pampered women of Aroer.
Interview the refugees who are running away.
Ask them, ‘What’s happened? And why?’
Moab will be an embarrassing memory, nothing left of the place.
Wail and weep your eyes out!
Tell the bad news along the Arnon river.
Tell the world that Moab is no more.
21-24 “My judgment will come to the plateau cities: on Holon, Jahzah, and Mephaath; on Dibon, Nebo, and Beth-diblathaim; on Kiriathaim, Beth-gamul, and Beth-meon; on Kerioth, Bozrah, and all the cities of Moab, far and near.
25 “Moab’s link to power is severed.
Moab’s arm is broken.” God’s Decree.
The Sheer Nothingness of Moab
26-27 “Turn Moab into a drunken lush, drunk on the wine of my wrath, a dung-faced drunk, filling the country with vomit—Moab a falling-down drunk, a joke in bad taste. Wasn’t it you, Moab, who made crude jokes over Israel? And when they were caught in bad company, didn’t you cluck and gossip and snicker?
28 “Leave town! Leave! Look for a home in the cliffs,
you who grew up in Moab.
Try living like a dove
who nests high in the river gorge.
29-33 “We’ve all heard of Moab’s pride,
that legendary pride,
The strutting, bullying, puffed-up pride,
the insufferable arrogance.
I know”—God’s Decree—“his rooster-crowing pride,
the inflated claims, the sheer nothingness of Moab.
But I will weep for Moab,
yes, I will mourn for the people of Moab.
I will even mourn for the people of Kir-heres.
I’ll weep for the grapevines of Sibmah
and join Jazer in her weeping—
Grapevines that once reached the Dead Sea
with tendrils as far as Jazer.
Your summer fruit and your bursting grapes
will be looted by brutal plunderers,
Lush Moab stripped
of song and laughter.
And yes, I’ll shut down the winepresses,
stop all the shouts and hurrahs of harvest.
34 “Heshbon and Elealeh will cry out, and the people in Jahaz will hear the cries. They will hear them all the way from Zoar to Horonaim and Eglath-shelishiyah. Even the waters of Nimrim will be dried up.
35 “I will put a stop in Moab”—God’s Decree—“to all hiking to the high places to offer burnt sacrifices to the gods.
36 “My heart moans for Moab, for the men of Kir-heres, like soft flute sounds carried by the wind. They’ve lost it all. They’ve got nothing.
37 “Everywhere you look are signs of mourning:
heads shaved, beards cut,
Hands scratched and bleeding,
clothes ripped and torn.
38 “In every house in Moab there’ll be loud lamentation, on every street in Moab, loud lamentation. As with a pottery jug that no one wants, I’ll smash Moab to bits.” God’s Decree.
39 “Moab ruined!
Moab shamed and ashamed to be seen!
Moab a cruel joke!
The stark horror of Moab!”
* * *
“Terror and pit and trap
are what you have facing you, Moab.” God’s Decree.
“A man running in terror
will fall into a trap.
A man climbing out of a pit
will be caught in a trap.
This is my agenda for Moab
on doomsday.” God’s Decree.
45-47 “On the outskirts of Heshbon,
refugees will pull up short, worn out.
Fire will flame high from Heshbon,
a firestorm raging from the capital of Sihon’s kingdom.
It will burn off Moab’s eyebrows,
will scorch the skull of the braggarts.
That’s all for you, Moab!
You worshipers of Chemosh will be finished off!
Your sons will be trucked off to prison camps;
your daughters will be herded into exile.
But yet there’s a day that’s coming
when I’ll put things right in Moab.
“For now, that’s the judgment on Moab.”
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
Moab is portrayed as a self-satisfied nation, feeling very secure, like wine aging in a jar and becoming tastier. Because the nation had been comfortable and self-sufficient, they were unprepared for what happened. The Babylonians emptied the wine from jar to jar and then broke the jars! What the Moabites thought they had was all gone. The arm is a symbol of strength, but Moab’s arm was broken. She had no strength.
God’s compassion. Remarkably, Jeremiah wept over the fall of Moab and wailed like a flutist at a funeral. Certainly, his grief shows us evidence of the compassion God has for people who are destroyed because of their sins against Him. God says “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” (Ezek. 18:23), and He does all He can to call them to repentance before judgment falls.
No escape from sins of pride! “Flee from the army, and you’ll fall into a pit. Climb out of the pit, and you’ll be caught in a trap”. Escape from the trap, and you’ll be engulfed by a fire. Escape from the fire, and you’ll be captured and taken away to Babylon. Sinners need to face the fact that they have no place to hide when God begins to judge (Rev. 20:11–15).
For lost sinners today, their only hope is faith in Jesus Christ, who died for the sins of the world. They need to flee for refuge to Christ (Heb. 6:18)—the only hope for their souls.
Jesus, Our Hope—Our One and Only Hope! Believe and be saved from self!
Run from pride at all costs! Run to Jesus. Be like Jesus! (See Philippians 2)
Receive complements from people with praise to God for working through us!
Thank you for saving us from ourselves. Thank you for pulling us back from pride with your example of humble living. Continue to transform me until I am more like you and less like me.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen