“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)
This is the middle verse of the entire book of Proverbs, and, in view of the obviously structured original verse divisions throughout the book, it may well have been divinely designed as such. In any case, the sin of pride is so deadly, it is appropriate that a solemn warning concerning it should be placed here right at the heart of God’s book of true wisdom.
The sin of pride was the primeval sin of Satan: “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness” (Ezekiel 28:17). It was the sin by which Satan led Adam and Eve to fall. “Ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5), he had said.
It is always the “easily besetting” sin of Christian leaders, especially those who have assumed such leadership prematurely. “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6). Even Jesus was 30 years old before He began to teach.
Though pride is not named as such in the Ten Commandments, in reality it is implied in the very first one. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). The essence of all false religion is evolutionary humanism—worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator (Romans 1:25).
Pride and unbelief are two sides of the same coin. When men and women refuse the word of their Creator, it is fundamentally because they want to be their own “gods,” as did Adam and Eve.
Human pride is the hidden root of humanism, and of evolutionism, and of “every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5). It is the very essence of the sin nature which we have inherited from our first parents.
How carefully we need to guard against this secret sin of pride. If we do not, it will inevitably lead to humiliation and defeat. HMM