Thomas Aquinas once wrote, “In order to overcome pride, God will punish certain men by allowing them to fall into sins of the flesh, which though actually are less grievous than pride itself, are outwardly more shameful… From this indeed, the gravity of pride is made manifest. For just as a wise physician, in order to cure a worse disease, allows the patient to contract one that is less dangerous as a remedy, so that the sin of pride is shown to be more grievous God allows some men to fall into other sins.” (Summa Theologica II q.162 ad.3)
Pride & Humility
We should all recognize that pride can be a monstrous sin in our lives. It is one that is adept at hiding in the shadows. What God will do—or allow—to humble us can seem quite extreme, but we’ll soon discover that it is always good. As a matter of fact this is yet another example of what God will use as He works “all” things together for our good.We should all recognize that pride can be a monstrous sin in our lives. It is one that is adept at hiding in the shadows. Click To Tweet
In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote:
“I have heard people admit that they are bad-tempered, or that they cannot keep their heads about girls or drink, or even that they are cowards. I do not think I have ever heard anyone who was not a Christian accuse himself of this vice. And at the same time I have very seldom met anyone, who was not a Christian, who showed the slightest mercy to it in others. There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.
The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility. According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.
Does this seem to you exaggerated? I pointed out a moment ago that the more pride one had, the more one disliked pride in others. If you want to find out how proud you are, the easiest way is to ask yourself, “How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronise me, or show off?” The point is that each person’s pride is in competition with everyone else’s pride.
We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest.”
In the book of 2 Samuel, we’re invited to observe how this truth played out during the darkest period of King David’s life. This story is a journey from glory to pride, from tragic fall to humility, and eventually from humility back to glory. And although glory to glory sounds amazing, journey’s like this are not so glorious along the way.David's story is a journey from glory to pride, from tragic fall to humility, and eventually from humility back to glory. Although glory to glory sounds amazing, it's not so glorious along the way. Click To Tweet
2 Samuel 19:9 gives us a glimpse of the once-great honor King David held in the eyes and hearts of God’s people. It was David who had delivered them from the hand of their enemy—the Philistines. It was David who had been unlike any other ruler before—and especially unlike his predecessor, King Saul. It was David who was a man after God’s heart.
But let’s pick up the story a bit earlier, in chapter 8. Coming off of several triumphs, David was at the top of his game. The defeat of the Philistines, Moab, Zobah, and others help us understand what 2 Samuel 8:15 meant when it said, “David reigned over all Israel; and David administered justice and righteousness for all his people.” David was beloved and favored by Israel. David was beloved and favored by God. He was a strong leader and he kept the people safe.
And though he was favored by God, his transition to kingship hadn’t been an easy road. But even through the hardship of winning the kingdom, David stayed gracious and faithful. 2 Samuel 9 shows us a picture of great love as David sought out the house of Saul to care for them, fulfilling his covenant with his best friend. This led to Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son living in Jerusalem and regularly eating at the king’s table (2 Samuel 9:13).Though David was favored by God, his transition to kingship hadn’t been an easy road. Even through the hardship of winning the kingdom, David stayed gracious and faithful. Click To Tweet
But in all of this David was as we are, a mere man. His pride, like our own, was always lying in wait. Although it’s hard to determine exactly where David veered off course. In the next post, we will examine the vectors to learn where it started to go wrong for David.