Chuck Foreman – Teaching Pastor
There were two kings of ancient Israel who unwittingly illustrated the deadliness of pride better than just about anyone you may have heard of, dead or alive. King Saul, Israel’s first king, did a bang up job of modeling nearly every form of hubris known to man—and all in one single chapter of the Old Testament! The story of his downfall begins in 1 Samuel 15. Saul had been given an important mission by God via the prophet Samuel. He failed to carry out his mission because of disobedience. But his pride kicked in when Samuel the prophet confronted him about his disobedience. Go ahead. Read it. Then see if you can find the eight symptoms of pride manifested in Saul.
King Saul should get a gold star for so profoundly illustrating the Eight Symptoms of Pride for us. Here they are. See if you can find them in the story, 1 Samuel 15.
- Willful disobedience
- Transfer of blame
- Manipulation of the facts
- Excuse making
- Disingenuous repentance
- Saving face
Let me know if you can’t find them all.
King Uzziah is another case study in pride in Israel’s history. He was a good and powerful leader until he became prideful over all his accomplishments. Uzziah became King of Judah when he was 16 years old. Hard to imagine, isn’t it. His reign lasted 52 years without any major screw ups. “As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.” (2 Chronicles 26:5) In chapters 25 and 26 of 2 Chronicles there is an impressive account of all Uzziah’s accomplishments as well as a brief commentary on his downfall. Here it is: “His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful. But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall.” (2 Chronicles 26:15-16)
It’s tragic how very few men and women can handle power. But it’s not power that corrupts us—it’s our own pride. Without humility, we cannot handle power or authority. And remember, no one is perfectly humble. “Humility is not the absence of pride, but the relentless effort to subdue it in oneself.” (from, The Deadliest Sin, West Bow Press, 2012)