The Enemy of Pride

2 Chronicles 26:14-16
And Uzziah prepared for them throughout all the host shields, and spears, and helmets, and habergeons, and bows, and slings to cast stones.  And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong.  But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.

The men of Judah invented all these instruments of war, prepared all these weapons to defend themselves and fight their enemies.  But ultimately the enemy of pride and self destroyed Uzziah from within.  It is a dangerous and subtle enemy that can slip through a wall of stone, avoid the archers and the soldiers with their spears and swords.  No shield can deflect it, and no helmet can prevent its grip upon a human mind.  God made Uzziah to prosper.  He enabled him.  He strengthened him.  But when he became strong and popular and successful, he forgot that it was God who got him there, and that was his downfall.

It was when he became strong that Uzziah’s pride took over.  So maybe our weakness isn’t such a bad thing.  Maybe our weakness is what keeps us humble and dependent instead of arrogant and self-sufficient.  Maybe we can’t be trusted with strength because we’ll succumb to pride and it will lead to our own destruction.  The wisdom of God and the folly of man is often on display throughout the Scriptures.  Our long-term memories so often fail us and we end up taking the credit and absorbing the praise instead of reflecting it back to God.

Has God enabled us to be successful?  Has He blessed us with some special skill, some special knowledge, some ability?  Can He trust us to remain humble amidst that success?  Will we give Him all the glory for enabling us and allowing us the privilege of serving Him through that?  Or do we get bold and brash and enter into temple and burn our incense thinking we’re something great?

All it takes is a simple reflection on the truth.  We know deep down that we can’t do anything.  We know that it’s God strengthening us.  But sometimes that little voice comes along telling us how great we are and how much we were able to accomplish, convincing us of the lie that we’ve done it all on our own.  We are allowed to enjoy what God has given to us.  We can rejoice in His blessings.  But we simply must be careful that we don’t sin against God when He raises us up in strength and end up being destroyed by foolish pride.