Reformed Baptist Fellowship

The Proud Doomed (Prov 16.5)

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on October 15, 2014 at 10:37 am
Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord:
Though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

Evil is popular. The general rejection of this simple statement illustrates it. “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?” (Prov 20.6). Evil is prevalent, and the corollary is that true godliness is rare. This present, wicked generation is bad in its parts and as a whole. We all swim in a societal soup of sin. True, biblically-minded Christians are like specks of gold in a dunghill. The stench would be overwhelming except for our desensitization by prolonged exposure.

More than ever I realize this. God is helping me become more familiar with the whole biblical message. I trust He is sanctifying me by His Spirit. And like no generation before us, we are bombarded with others’ intimate thoughts, and with events around the world. The filthiness must be more conspicuous to mature Christians.

Just this past week, the Supreme Court refused to hear a case related to so-called “gay marriage,” sending a clear message that the status quo of popular legalization may continue unabated. An article in The New York Times undermines an evaluation of pedophilia as immoral. The University of California, San Francisco, is offering an online course to promote “safe abortions and abortion access worldwide.” Dr. Albert Mohler has provided excellent Christian commentary on these developments in his daily podcast for yesterday, “The Briefing.”[1]

I want to call widespread attention to this Scripture text in Proverbs 16:5. It constitutes a sober warning about the present conspiracy of antichristian ungodliness and immorality. I pray some may be saved by divine mercy now from the impending vortex of the world’s ruin by divine justice. Its two lines set forth two interrelated truths we all need to hear.

TRUTH #1: God Loathes the Proud

God’s disapproval can be conveyed in many ways. In 1935, Georgia blues guitar legend Blind Willie McTell took a public position against moonshine with a song entitled “God Don’t Like It.”[2] Here is the chorus:

Now God don’t like it and (I don’t either)
Now God don’t like it and (I don’t either)
Now God don’t like it and (I don’t either)
It’s scandalous and a shame.

Our biblical text exposes something worse than moonshine: being “proud in heart.” To condemn pride cuts across the sensibilities of proud men left to their own judgment. The ancient philosopher Aristotle (384-322 bc), still highly regarded, wrote, “Now the man is thought to be proud who thinks himself worthy of great things, being worthy of them. . . . Pride, then, seems to be a sort of crown of the virtues; for it makes them more powerful, and it is not found without them.”[3] Modern praise of personal autonomy, high self-esteem, and boasting of immorality (e.g., “gay pride”) is wicked pride on display infecting our whole culture.

And it is not just that “God don’t like it.” The language here is stronger than moonshine—“an abomination to the Lord.” None of us have more than an inkling about the fullness and intensity of God’s holy wrath.

The pride of sinners sets God against them. He that, being high in estate is proud in heart, whose spirit is elevated with his condition, so that he becomes insolent [showing a rude and arrogant lack of respect] in his conduct towards God and man, let him know that though he admires himself, and others caress him, yet he is an abomination to the Lord. The great God despises him; the holy God detests him (M. Henry).

TRUTH #2: Popularity Is No Escape

The proud person, then, “shall not be unpunished”—a striking way of putting it, being in negative and understated terms. “Be assured, he will not go unpunished” (ESV). A proud man’s fantasy of escape from severe and eternal punishment, or total oblivion to it, lets him continue in his wicked way (cf. Psa 50.16-22; Amos 9.10; Zeph 1.12). And when we Christians forget the certain and jaw-dropping horrors awaiting all the impenitent, we are apt to feel discouraged in the lonely way of righteousness.

“Though hand join in hand,” this punishment shall surely come to each individual guilty party. “To give the hand is the token of amity; to join hands, that of combination.”[4] Again, Matthew Henry nails it,

Though there are many that concur by their practice to keep wickedness in countenance, and engage to stand by one another in defending it against all the attacks of virtue and justice,—though they are in league for the support and propagation of it,—though wicked children tread in the steps of their wicked parents, and resolve to keep up the trade, in defiance of religion,—yet all this will not protect them from the justice of God (on Prov 11.21).

The “Supreme Court” is not really supreme, because even it must give account to the Judge on high. Each proud “Justice,” without the fear of God and faith in Christ, has his or her own place in hell except he or she repent, with each and every member of our proud society. Ω

D. Scott Meadows, Pastor
Calvary Baptist Church (Reformed)
Exeter, New Hampshire USA

[4] Eadie, J. (Ed.). (1857). An Analytical Concordance to the Holy Scriptures.

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