When I googled "the poison of humanity," the top 10 deadliest poisons came up. One in particular is Botulinum. Botulinum is THE deadliest poison known to humanity (according to science). When a human being comes in contact with this poison, immediately within a fraction of a second the nervous system gets shut down completely and the victim will die immediately with a lot of pain. One spoon of this poison can kill millions of people.
However, in the spiritual realm there is a poison even deadlier to man. Its name... PRIDE!
In Ezekiel 28:12-17 (NKJV) we see the description of a satanic force behind the arrogance and pride of man. Some believe this to be a description of Satan before he was cast out of heaven. It reads as follows:
12. "Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13. You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.
14. "You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
15. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.
16. "By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; Therefore, I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones.
17. "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you.
Verse 15 reveals the origin of evil, "till iniquity [sin] was found in you" i.e., Lucifer, and verse 17 reveals pride as the source of his rebellion.
What is PRIDE? It is a rebellious attitude towards God. Unreasonably high self-esteem. I believe that pride is the original sin. It was the cause of Satan/Lucifer getting cast out of heaven. Subsequently, the cause of Adam and Eve rebelling against Adonai and eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Nevertheless, Romans 5:12 (NLT2) says, "12. When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Romans 5:15 (NLT2)
15. But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ.
Pride is frequently alluded to in Scripture but is not a topic of great interest to contemporary psychology. Perhaps the reason for such neglect of a critical human fault is to be found in the late-twentieth-century Western mindset, which sees less wrong with pride than with inferiority complexes and less offensiveness in pride than in self-effacement. After all, the origin of the corporate mind set is stoical or philosophical selfishness. It is not uncommon to idolize the proud politician or music star and to ignore the humble. Pride has its roots deep in the human soul; however, Payne (1960) wrote what he terms a history of the human soul by studying pride in literature. "Was not pride the soul confronting itself in a mirror, overjoyed at the recognition?"
The Bible describes pride as (self-regarding love and self-satisfaction with one's person, status, behavior, reputation, and traits) as sin. Pride goes before destruction (Prov. 16:18), and a haughty spirit before a fall; puts one in an undesirable relationship with God. (1 Peter 5:5) Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for " God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble".
(Prov. 29:23 A man's pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor). Nebuchadnezzar was judged for his proud spirit (Dan. 4), Haman was beset with pride (Esther 5), and Pharaoh fell because of it. God promises to humble the proud (Matt. 23:12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted).
Christian theologians have dealt with the concept of pride mainly in the tradition of Augustine, who viewed pride as the first sin and thus spent a considerable amount of his energy on discussing it. The keystone of his argument was a text in Ecclesiasticus that reads, "pride is the beginning of sin." The verse has later been regarded as questionable in meaning. Nonetheless, on this basis Augustine proceeded to view the fall of Satan as portrayed in Ezekiel and Isaiah as principally motivated by pride. "Your heart became proud on account of your beauty" (Ezek. 28:17, NIV). What led Satan to his fall was likewise the downfall of the human race in the garden of Eden. Augustine felt that pride in its extreme is the unpardonable sin (Green, 1949). He wrote extensively about his own struggles with pride, describing it as his greatest temptation.
The study of pride has also been the subject of great interest to Christians in monastic traditions and later to the Pietists. Bernard of Clairvaux in The Steps of Humility said that people can take steps upward if they pursue humility; but if they pursue pride, their steps will lead downward, following the course of Satan. Bernard suggests that there are 12 steps that could lead one from the beginnings of pride—curiosity—to its most severe expression, habitual sin. The intervening steps are frivolity, foolish mirth, boastfulness, singularity (going to all ends to prove oneself superior), conceit, audacity, excusing of sins, hypocritical confession, defiance, and freedom to sin. The first step of pride (curiosity) is the last step of humility (downcast eyes). The last step of pride (habitual sin) should be the first step toward true humility (the fear of the Lord).
Bernard's outline is obviously sermonic in tone and designed as an instructive tool for aspiring monastics. But with all its medieval format, his description of pride rings true. Modern psychology does not have much to add to his outline. Pride elevates the self, seeks to have one's worth recognized by others, and is blind to obvious personal faults. The proud person has difficulty functioning interpersonally, since he or she does not receive or process feedback from others in a satisfactory manner. Nor does the proud person fare well in the task of being other centered. Pride forms a key element in the psychological construct of narcissism.
Pride, psychologically considered, is defensive in nature. By definition pride is not a fair and true estimate of self; it is an overestimate. Hence the proud person is motivated to hide a subconscious feeling of inferiority or is motivated to overcompensate for actual inadequacies. Pride can be part of an ill-formed approach to social interaction; the proud person may genuinely feel his or her pride to be the best approach to dealing with self and others and may be unaware of flaws that preclude the pride. Pride thrives on deference and praise from others. It may have its roots in parental overindulgence or in a background that created deep personal insecurities for which the pride is compensating. The fact that this poison is so closely tied into the human psyche, would cause one to believe that there is no way to overcome it.
On the contrary, we can find all the answers to life's problems in the Word of God. The book of Job is unique in the fact that, it is the only book in the bible that deals with pride intricately. There is a man of God by the name of Job, whom the book is named after, and he is described as a man that was perfect and upright, one that feared God and eschewed evil. Within the first chapter, Job suffers a tragic loss. All of his livestock is killed along with his servants, and children. Now, I've heard many sermons over the years that attempted to explain why this happen to Job but none explained the last three chapters of the book. For, in the last three chapters we have the description of two beast. One, by the name of Behemoth and the other Leviathan. The identity of Leviathan is clear and can be found in Job 41:34 (NKJV), " He beholds every high thing; He is king over all the children of pride."
However, the identity of Behemoth is not as obvious. After much research we were able to develop a conclusive postulation as to the identity of this beast. Behemoth represents the "Will" of man. Within the first chapter of Job, he loses everything of value to him and then he becomes physically sick with sores all over his body. His friends try to console him to no avail, and they end up discussing the "why's" of Job's situation. Finally, in the thirty eighth chapter, God begins to question Job. And with each question Job is humbled and made aware of his human frailties and the assumptions he made about God. Job is humbled by the questions that God asked him and realizes that he's made a gross error in assuming he knew why he was going through such a trial.
God is not required to explain anything to us. Out of a mighty storm, God spoke. Surprisingly, he didn't answer any of Job's questions; Job's questions were not at the heart of the issue. Instead, God used Job's ignorance of the earth's natural order to reveal his ignorance of God's moral order. If Job did not understand the workings of God's physical creation, how could he possibly understand God's mind and character? There is no standard or criterion higher than God himself by which to judge. God himself is the standard. Our only option is to submit to His authority and rest in His care.
You see, one definition of assumption is, to take for granted, arrogance and pretension which are all the byproducts of pride. We are told in Proverbs 3:6 to, "acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will direct your paths." When we make decisions without consulting God, we assume (take power; take for granted") that we have the ability to control the outcome. Like Job, we too make assumptions about life situations however, it should be understood that there is only one who is control and that is the creator Himself, Elohim. God is Sovereign! God's will is supreme over all rulers, all historical events, and all hostile forces. He can deliver us in ways we can't imagine. If we trust in His power and love, no opposition can stop us.
God is greater than we can understand. One theme in the poetic literature of the Bible is that God is incomprehensible; we cannot know Him completely. We can have some knowledge about Him, for the Bible is full of details about who God is, how we can know Him, and how we can have an eternal relationship with Him. But we can never know enough to answer all of life's questions (Eccles. 3:11), to predict our own future, or to manipulate God for our own ends. Life always creates more questions than we have answers, and we must constantly go to God for fresh insights into life's dilemmas.
God's sovereignty is completely awe inspiring. Nothing can compare to God. His power and presence are awesome, and when He speaks, we must listen. Too often we presume to speak for God (as did Job's friends), to put words in His mouth, to take Him for granted, or to interpret His silence to mean that He is absent or unconcerned. But God cares. He is in control, and He will speak. Be ready to hear His message—in the Bible, through the Holy Spirit, and through circumstances and relationships.