Focal Passages: Ezekiel 28:1-5, 11-13a, 14-19
Pride. If you have been in a church more than a proverbial five minutes, you know pride is a bad thing. It led to Lucifer’s downfall. It led Adam and Eve astray. It plunged humanity into sin. And when someone has messed up bad and needs to get it right, we tell them to swallow their pride. It’s clear: pride is bad.
But, then, we tell our children to take pride in their work. When they bring home a great report card we tell our Facebook world that we are bursting with pride over how well they have done. We talk about our new granddaughter as our pride and joy. Seems confusing. Is pride bad or not? Ezekiel 28 gives us several clues.
In Ezekiel 28:1-5 we see the king of Tyre taken to task for his pride. The Word of the Lord comes to Ezekiel and describes the king’s pride as selfish, arrogant and driven by a distorted view of himself. The king thinks himself a god. But he is reminded that he is but a mere man. Indeed, far from being a god, he is not even wiser than all other men (i.e. Daniel).This section reminds me of Paul’s words to the Philippians to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought. Remembering who we are is key to preventing selfish, sinful pride from taking hold in our lives.
Later in Ezekiel 28 (v. 11-15) the Word of the Lord came to Ezekiel in the form of a lament concerning the king of Tyre. A lament was a way to express deep sorrow. In this particular passage the sorrow is driven by the great blessings possessed by the king and his terrible misuse of them. Rather than recognizing God as his source, the king foolishly acted as if these blessings were his own doing. So foolish is his pride that Ezekiel compares him to the ultimate example of sinful, selfish pride: Satan.
In Ezekiel 28:16-19 we discover the result of such pride: destruction. Just as God has brought Satan low, He would make the king a spectacle. Such is always the result of sinful, selfish pride; the kind of pride that takes credit for blessings that belong to God alone.