I was recently stricken once again by that old familiar feeling. I’m ashamed to admit it, but pride has been a recurring sin in my life. When I least expect it, it sneaks in and grabs hold of me once again. I’m disgusted to learn I’m even capable of developing pride in the thought that I might be obtaining some degree of humility. Reading about Hezekiah this morning, I was encouraged to learn I am not the first to have this issue, and even more encouraged to learn that victory can be gained.
Hezekiah was absolutely a man after God. It is said of Hezekiah:
Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses. And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. 2 Kings 18:5-7
Oh, how I long to be that faithful. He’s described as seeking the Lord “wholeheartedly” in 2 Chronicles 31:21. Then it happens, he too is gripped by that opportunistic sin of old.
But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the LORD’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. 2 Chronicles 32:25
How can it be that he is standing firmly on the rock, wholeheartedly seeking the Lord his God, and then, in what seems like an instant, he has fallen? Like Uzziah, Rehoboam and others; he undoubtedly began to rest in his own strength and power leading to the devastating results of pride and self reliance (2 Chronicles 12:1; 2 Chronicles 26:16).
We are no different, we are clearly warned in 1 Corinthians 10:12:
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
The moment we think we are standing firm, pride rears its ugly head and in an instant we are consumed. Once pride sets in, devastation is sure to follow.
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor. Proverbs 18:12
But, there’s more to Hezekiah’s story! When confronted with his pride, Hezekiah humbled himself and repented, and the Lord’s wrath was stayed (2 Chronicles 32:26). The same is said of Rehoboam:
Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the LORD’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah. 2 Chronicles 12:12
The God we serve is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He forgave Hezekiah, Rehoboam and countless others when they humbled themselves, and He will forgive us as well.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:6
May I always keep Christ and His Word as my measuring rod so that it will be ever before me that my very best is as filthy rags. May I never forget how detestable the Lord our God considers the sin of pride. Fervently I pray that I will never again entertain that old familiar feeling, but that I will have His wisdom poured out on me that I might gain humility daily.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. James 3:13