Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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No Place for Arrogance

It is interesting the many places from which wisdom may be derived. I was trying to solve the Scram-Lets puzzle in a recent edition of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, and came across the following quote:

“When I was a kid, my preacher told me never to look down on someone unless I’m helping them up.”

Wise words, and worthy of examination. Arrogance is a problem for many, and reminders to be humble are always needed.

The Bible is replete with such warnings. This is often accomplished by showing the punishment of the proud. As we consider the consequence of the sin of arrogance, perhaps it will give us pause.

Naaman, a Syrian general and leper, was instructed to wash in the Jordan River as a means of ridding himself of the dread disease. Rather than doing this simple task, we are told, “But Naaman became furious, and went away” (2 Kings 5:11). He was insulted that Elisha would not even deign to meet him. His servant finally managed to convince him that his pride was keeping him from being healed, and he relented and obeyed.

King Nebuchadnezzar was walking about his palace in Babylon and said, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30) His arrogance was immediately punished. “While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (31-32). The King was struck down by God, and became as a beast for possibly as long as seven years. The lesson was learned, and when the King regained his senses, he “blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever” (34).

Uzziah, king of Judah was a powerful and successful ruler. In the midst of his accomplishments we are told, “But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense” (2 Chronicles 26:16). For his sin, Uzziah was struck down with leprosy. The text reveals that “King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death. He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the Lord” (vs. 21).

King Herod was another struck down by God because of his pride. As he gave an oration to the people of Tyre and Sidon they called out, “The voice of a god, and not of a man” (Acts 12:22). Since Herod accepted such praise Luke records, “Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died” (vs. 23).

In contrast to Herod’s prideful response to the people, consider the response of Paul and Barnabas when they were wrongly praised as gods. When they heard what the people of Lystra were saying about them “they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them” (Acts 14:14-15).

It is a very clear pattern throughout scripture. “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Therefore we should, as James instructs, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (vs. 10). We should heed the sentiment expressed by Hannah in her prayer, “Talk no more so very proudly; Let no arrogance come from your mouth, For the Lord is the God of knowledge; And by Him actions are weighed” (1 Samuel 2:3).

It is really simple. God is the eternal, majestic creator of all things. We are mere men—all of us. No one among us is sinless, and as such we are all equally dependent upon our Lord for salvation. There is absolutely no place for arrogance in the heart of any man.