“Because of the magnificence I gave this tree,
it was the envy of all the other trees of Eden, the garden of God.“
Ezekiel 31:9 NLT
What images come to mind when you hear the word pride? For me, that’s one of those words that gives me a knot in the pit of my stomach almost instantly. It’s super embarrassing to think about the times when I’ve been prideful. It’s kind of a stealthy sin – you don’t realize you’re being prideful until it’s too late. Then, when someone points it out to you, it’s kind of like this:
Painful. I picture that dog’s face every time I start feeling pride and it definitely helps bring some perspective. But, this week the topic of pride has been more on my heart that usual. It seems to jump off the page at me as I read through Ezekiel. It even showed up in this past Sunday’s sermon.
I must be thinking I’m Michael Phelps about something again.
So, I read the words in my Bible more closely, deeply seeking God’s wisdom on identifying and removing pride. In Ezekiel chapter 31, he uses an analogy of a tree to send a message to Egypt’s current Pharaoh. He tells Pharaoh that his country’s greatness is similar to that of Assyria. Assyria was great and mighty like a cedar of Lebanon. This cedar was lush and tall, watered by a deep fresh spring so abundant that it could nourish all the trees nearby as well. It towered above all the other trees, nested birds and gave shade to many wild animals. No tree in the garden of God came close to it in beauty.
Because of the magnificence I gave this tree, it was the envy of all the other trees of Eden, the garden of God. (31:9 NLT)
Then, in verse 10, God shows where pride caused the fall: “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because it became proud and arrogant, and because it set itself so high above the others, reaching to the clouds…” The tree – the people of Assyria – became proud and arrogant, AND SET ITSELF above others. This is where the change happens. When the subject takes a gift from God and turns it into a personal achievement. “And set itself so high above the others“. This is no longer God gifting the tree with beauty and strength, this is the tree oppressing others with it’s God-given state.
Pride: claiming what GOD did for me as what ME did for me.
That’s a pretty dangerous thing to do – the Assyrians and Egyptians found that out first hand. I’m not going to take the same path as them. This week, I’m going to take time each day to:
- Identify one quality of God that he placed in my life
- Thank and acknowledge HIM for it
- Ask HIM what he’d like me to do with it today
Rather than find out later that I was just a struggling pug in a pool, I’d like be perfectly clear that even my best moments merely reflect HIS glory, HIS strength, HIS beauty and HIS power. Ultimately, I want my whole life to simply say “I AM is who i am.” (Exodus 3:14)
Dear Lord, I get so embarrassed just thinking about moments of pride in my life. Please guard and protect my heart from this horrible disease. Give me focus and faith to keep me eyes on YOU and YOUR greatness. Amen.