The LORD works out everything for his own ends—even the wicked for a day of disaster. The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil. (Proverbs 16:4-6)
Pride and sin go together. Wherever there is sin, pride can be found… and certainly where there is pride there is sin! A proud heart is sinful. A proud heart sets itself against God. It does not recognize God or His rightful place. If it did, that heart would not be proud.
James quotes Proverbs 3:34 when he wrote, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). A proud heart is in opposition to God and God is in opposition to a proud heart! Notice Proverbs 16:4-5 again. God works out everything for his own ends. He detests a proud heart. “Detests” is a strong word! Why does God detest ‘all the proud of heart?’ A proud heart has no need for God. It does not recognize Him nor give Him glory. It does not seek to know Him or be in relationship with Him. A proud heart is plagued with all kinds of sin. For these reasons, and a whole bunch more, I’m sure, the Lord God detests a proud heart.
If I’m running between the rails and see a freight train coming, do I lace up my shoes tighter and keep running? If that locomotive is barreling toward me, and I am running toward it, who should move? Who should yield? Duh.
A proud heart races toward God’s locomotive, thinking nothing is wrong and expecting God to adjust somehow to help him out in life. A proud heart thinks for God… believing certain things that God should or could do. God opposes the proud and He’s not changing course. We’d better yield! If we don’t, we can expect punishment (Proverbs 16:5).
What’s amazing about God is that He gives the proud heart the opportunity to yield. We can change course! ‘Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil’ (vs 6). Even in this message of disaster, opposition and punishment, atonement for sin is offered. God does not want our destruction, He wants our redemption! He wants that proud heart turned to one that is soft toward Him. Redemption comes as we change and yield to God. He is right – always. His ways are right. His thinking and plans are right. We must be in awe of Him.
This awe, or ‘fear of the Lord,’ is what will help us avoid evil. Thinking about this Awesome One will keep our hearts pure and our lives righteous. Sin will be avoided! How can you sin when God is in view? You can’t! You won’t want to because He is so awesome. When we choose to sin we, in those moments, take our eyes off of God. He is not in view. We are not in awe. We either purposely or accidentally forget about God and Who He is. In those moments pride takes over and we do what our selfish flesh wants. We sin.
Humility is the answer for a proud heart. We look at our awesome God and we yield to Him. We fear Him. We get off the tracks and join Him in the direction He is heading. We worship – and sin is avoided. God gives grace to the humble.
Lord, there is none like You. I humble myself before You, thanking You for Your grace. Where would You lead me this day?