Hello and welcome to episode 69 of The Berean Manifesto brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill and over the next 10 minutes or so we’re going to talk about Pride and Humility.
We’re going to start by looking at a couple of scriptures in Proverbs. The first is Proverbs 16:18-19, “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly of spirit with the humble than to divide plunder with the proud.” And the second, similar to the first, Proverbs 29:23, “A person’s pride will humiliate him, but a humble spirit will gain honor.”
In 1 Samuel chapter four we find the Israelites and the Philistines at war and the Philistines win a big battle taking the Ark of the Covenant. Now the Ark of the Covenant was a holy relic of the Israelites created by a master craftsman named Betsalel using plans that God had given to Moses. Basically it was a box of wood about 3’ 9” long by 2’ 3” wide and 2’ 3” tall covered inside and out with gold that had two golden statues of angels on top of it. Wherever the ark was the spirit of the Lord was said to dwell, and no one was allowed to touch the ark directly or they would die. The Philistines had a god named Dagon who, describing in modern terms, we would call a merman: they worshipped him as the god of the sea, grain, and the storm. They took the ark and they placed it in their temple next to a statue of Dagon.
When the priests of Dagon came to the temple the next morning they found Dagon face down on the ground in front of the ark. They picked him up and returned him to his spot. It’s believed by some that Isaiah 41:7 refers back to this event when it says, “The craftsman encourages the metalworker, the one who flattens with the hammer encourages the one who strikes the anvil, saying of the soldering, “It is good.” He fastens it with nails so that it will not fall over.”
We’re talking about pride and humility right? The Philistines are full of pride in their god Dagon, even taking the ark; the holy relic of the Lord from the Israelites and placing it at their idol’s… tail. They find that the heavy hand of the Lord is greater than Dagon causing him to fall on his face before the ark of the Lord. They then encourage each other that it’s all good as they work to secure the idol so it won’t fall over again. Except, when the priests come back the next morning they find Dagon’s head and hands have been cut off and they’re lying in the threshold and the only part of the idol left standing in its place is the fish tail. It’s possible that someone came in and defaced the statue of Dagon, but that wouldn’t explain the mass deaths and raging hemorrhoids that followed the ark to every city that the Philistines tried to keep it in over the next seven months before finally giving up and sending it back to the Israelites with a guilt offering to the Lord.
Now, let’s consider Cain. Eve gave birth to Cain and then some time later, the bible doesn’t tell us how long, she gave birth to Abel. Abel was a shepherd while Cain worked the fields. When it came time to make an offering to the Lord both Cain and Abel brought their offerings according to their specialties. Cain brought produce, and Abel brought the finest specimens of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord respected Abel’s offering, but not Cains. Cain was furious and depressed by God’s rejection of his offering. We talked about this more in episode 14 of the podcast if you want to go back and get this in some more detail. Basically, God asks him why he’s furious and depressed. He tells Cain that if he does what is right then he will be accepted, and if he doesn’t do right then he will have two opposing realities of sin and punishment, or making it right and being redeemed that will pursue him and he has to choose which one he will seize and live out.
We know that Cain doesn’t accept what God is saying, he holds on to his pride and offense. We know this because his next recorded action is to lure his brother out into the field to kill him. God comes to Cain and asks him, “Where is your brother Abel?” He doesn’t ask Cain this because God doesn’t know where Abel is. It’s because God is giving Cain the chance to humble himself; to lay down his pride and choose confession and redemption. Instead he continues to hold onto his pride and tells God, “I don’t know, am I my brother’s guardian?” ~or~ More famously, “my brother’s keeper?”
Just like when Adam and Eve fell and were kicked out of the Garden of Eden God is now forced to once again inform one of His children what the consequences of their actions are going to be. In Cain’s case God says, “Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground! So now you are cursed, alienated from the ground that opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood that you have shed. If you work the ground, it will never again give you its yield. You will be a restless wanderer on the Earth.”
This is the point where Cain has been broken, his pride is gone. He replies to God, “My perversity is too great to bear! Since I am banished today from my home, I must hide from Your presence, and become a restless wanderer on the Earth: whoever finds me will kill me.” God replies to Cain’s plea, “In that case, whoever kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then He placed a mark on Cain so that whoever found him would not kill him.
Lastly I want to take a quick look at the words of Christ and the book of James about how we as Christ’s body should be behaving ourselves in our fellowships and religious services. Luke 14:11-14, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” He also said to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, don’t invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors, because they might invite you back, and you would be repaid. On the contrary, when you host a banquet, invite those who are poor, maimed, lame, or blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
James 2:1-4, “My brothers and sisters, do not show favoritism as you hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if someone comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and a poor person dressed in filthy clothes also comes in, if you look with favor on the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here in a good place,” and yet you say to the poor person, “Stand over there,” or “Sit here on the floor by my footstool,” haven’t you made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”