The Partaking of Pride

“‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’” (Genesis 3:4-5).

There were many trees in the Garden of Eden, but two trees were of the utmost significance: The Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil — a tree that I refer to as “the Tree of Death.” YeHoVaH God had sternly warned Adam and Eve to never partake of the fruit of that cursed tree, promising that “when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:17).

As watchful believers, we must understand that Satan’s tactics to destroy the human soul have not changed over the past 6,000 years. He may refine his tools and methods of delivery, but his core tactics remain the same. He first causes people to doubt the Word of God by asking, “Did God really say?” (Genesis 3:2). He then outright calls God a liar by stating that what God has declared to be true is actually false: “You will not certainly die” (Genesis 3:4). Then comes his most insidious lie — his empty promise that through disobedience to the Almighty God “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5).

Yeshua Messiah declared that the devil was “a murderer from the beginning” and that he is “the father of lies” (John 8:44). How perfectly true. Literally from the beginning of the world, Satan has sought to murder the eternal souls of God’s children by convincing them to believe in his lies and partake of the fruit of that wretched Tree of Death. That foundational lie of “You get to be God yourself” is one that so many have fallen for throughout human history and continue to fall for today. It is the lie that says we get to determine the moral order. We get to be our own moral masters, our own law-givers, our own arbiters of what is good and what is evil.

To believe in this lie and to partake of the fruit of the Tree of Death is to partake of the sin of PRIDE. It is to shake one’s fist at the Heavens and declare in supreme arrogance: “I don’t need You to tell me what I can and can’t do! I am my own god! I get to decide for myself!”

The Word of God continuously warns us of the dangers of the sin of pride, promising that “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Throughout the Word, we see the fulfillment of that promise time and time again.

It was this sin of pride that brought about the Fall and Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden. It was pride that brought mankind down into such a wretched state of wickedness where “every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5), and YeHoVaH God came out in righteous judgment and destroyed all the world with a flood of water. Pride led mankind to gather together and build a tower to reach to the heavens so that they might “make a name for [themselves]” (Genesis 11:4). Pride brought about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone, for they had become a people that were “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before [YeHoVaH]” (Ezekiel 16:49-50).

It was pride that led the ruler of Tyre to boast that he was a god. “In the pride of your heart you say, ‘I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas.’ But you are a mere mortal and not a god, though you think you are as wise as a god” (Ezekiel 28:2). This same pride brought about his own death and the ruin of his kingdom. “Because you consider your wisdom to be equal to that of God, I will bring foreigners against you, the most barbarous of all the nations. They will draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendor. They will hurl you down to the pit, and you will die a violent death in the heart of the seas” (Ezekiel 28:6-8).

Pride led to the demise of the king of Babylon. “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of the assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit” (Isaiah 14:13-15).

Pride brought the curses of the Almighty down upon King Nebuchadnezzar and drove him insane. “[Nebuchadnezzar] said, ‘Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?’” (Daniel 4:30). It was not until he eventually “raised [his] eyes towards heaven” in repentance that his “sanity was restored” (Daniel 4:34), and ultimately he was brought to declare in humility: “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of Heaven, because everything He does is right and all His ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble” (Daniel 4:37).

Pride led to the horrific death of the wicked Seleucid-Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes. “Thus he who only a short time before had in his superhuman arrogance believed that he could command the waves of the sea, and who imagined that he could weigh high mountains on a scale, was thrown down to the ground and had to be carried in a litter, clearly manifesting to all the power of God. The body of this ungodly man swarmed with worms, and while he was still alive suffering agonizing torments, his flesh rotted away, so that the entire army was sickened by the stench of his decay. Only a short time before, he had thought that he could touch the stars of heaven. Now no one could even bring himself to transport the man because of his intolerable stench” (2 Maccabees 9:8-10).

Pride caused Herod Agrippa to embrace the praises of his people when they declared him to be a god. “On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, ‘This is the voice of a god, not of a man.’ Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died” (Acts 12:21-23).

And many more examples can be cited.

Pride is the root sin of all sins. It is the original sin. To be filled with the sin of pride is to metaphorically partake of the fruit of the Tree of Death. It is to deceive oneself into believing that you have the authority to redirect the moral order and remain free of any consequences for your rebellious actions. Do not be deceived! Know that there are always consequences. YeHoVaH God’s promise holds true to this day: “You will certainly die” (Genesis 2:17). And whenever you see an individual or a group or a nation lifted up in the pride of their hearts even to the point of celebration in their defiant acts of disobedience, rest assured that destruction is at the door.

As the world and those of it choose to dedicate the month of June to the sin of PRIDE, I would encourage you to dedicate this same month (and all months hereafter) to the virtue of HUMILITY. The spirit of pride says, “I want to be god!”, but the spirit of humility says, “YeHoVaH already is God.” The spirit of pride boasts, “I get to do whatever I want!”, but the spirit of humility says, “I have the blessing of doing whatever YeHoVaH God wants.” The spirit of pride foolishly believes, “There won’t be any consequences for my actions,” but the spirit of humility understands, “There are always consequences for sinful actions.”

Beware which spirit you allow to influence you.

In the Book of Proverbs, we read of this promise: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (Proverbs 3:34; James 4:6). This is why our Lord Yeshua declared, “All those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12).

We can either voluntarily choose to humble ourselves before the Almighty God — and by so doing draw closer into loving relationship with our Glorious Creator — or we can heap the burning coals of judgment upon our heads and await YeHoVaH to humble us Himself. Choosing to humble ourselves before God and to obey His Word is to partake of the Tree of Life. But to lift ourselves up in the sin of pride and choose to disobey God is to partake of the Tree of Death.

Thus, the choice laid out before us is the same choice presented to Adam and Eve: Life and Death. Which “tree” will you choose to partake of?

In love, I encourage you to choose humility. Choose obedience to God. Choose life. As Moses declared to the House of Israel in the wilderness, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

Shalom and Amen.

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