What's So Bad About Pride?
Hosea, Day 12
Hear this, O priests!
Pay attention, O house of Israel!
Give ear, O house of the king!
For the judgment is for you;
for you have been a snare at Mizpah
and a net spread upon Tabor.
And the revolters have gone deep into slaughter,
but I will discipline all of them.
I know Ephraim,
and Israel is not hidden from me;
for now, O Ephraim, you have played the whore;
Israel is defiled.
Their deeds do not permit them
to return to their God.
For the spirit of whoredom is within them,
and they know not the Lord.
The pride of Israel testifies to his face;
Israel and Ephraim shall stumble in his guilt;
Judah also shall stumble with them.
With their flocks and herds they shall go
to seek the Lord,
but they will not find him;
he has withdrawn from them.
They have dealt faithlessly with the Lord;
for they have borne alien children.
Now the new moon shall devour them with their fields.
- Hosea 5:1-7, ESV
When it comes to the subject of pride, America and the Bible have very different perspectives. Americans are proud of our pride. We encourage people to believe in themselves. We even tell people that God believes in them. The Bible takes a decidedly different view. In the Bible, pride is the root sin.
What's the problem with pride? Why does the Bible look down on self-confidence and believing in yourself? Today's passage in Hosea 5 can help us answer that question.
We read two important and connected things condemning Israel in Hosea 5:1-7:
1. "Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God." - v. 4
2. "The pride of Israel testifies to his face." - v. 5
The problem with pride is that it keeps us from repenting and seeking the Lord for His mercy. This makes it the worst and the root sin. If you covet or lust or lie or steal, but you are not proud, you can come to conviction of your sin, seek the Lord, and be forgiven by His mercy. But if you are proud, you will not even see that your sin is sin, and you will not seek the Lord.
Israel was not just idolatrous, but they were proud of their idolatry. They had glorious high places at Mizpah and Tabor. These places were abominations to God, scenes of spiritual adultery by God's beloved people, but the real problem was Israel's pride in these places. Far from being ashamed of their sin, they promoted it and profited from it. They were proud.
If you want to see the biggest and worst sins in your life, maybe your should prayerfully examine not those things that make you ashamed but the things you're most proud of. Perhaps your pride is making you blind to the places where you most need repentance. May the Lord humble us and help us see ourselves as He sees us, that His tender mercies may cover our sin and His unfailing grace may change our hearts and lives.