September 13: Who Can Bring Me Down?
Obadiah 1:1–21; Job 21:17–34
“The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of a rock, the heights of its dwelling, you who say in your heart: ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’ ” (Obad 3).
Pride is an especially dangerous sin because it deludes us into elevating ourselves above everyone else. It can even lead us to betray or hurt other people. In this passage Obadiah addresses the Edomites, who lived in the hills above Judah. The Edomites should have helped Judah when they were attacked, but instead they conducted raids. They believed that they were superior to and had been wronged by the Judahites and that their actions were therefore justified. This type of pride puts us in a precarious position. No wonder the Bible addresses it often.
Pride can get the best of us when we place ourselves in the “clefts” above others. It usually emerges from one of two places: Either we believe that we’re as important as people tell us we are (the folly of the celebrity), or we believe that we’re better than everyone else and that others just don’t understand us. Either way, pride is dangerous. In the words of C.S. Lewis, “Pride always means enmity … not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God.”
Job is also accused of pride—but unjustly. He confronts his persecutors about retribution related to pride: “How often is the lamp of the wicked put out, and their disaster comes upon them? He distributes pains in his anger” (Job 21:17). Job recognizes the ultimate source of pride: a refusal to fear Yahweh. It’s difficult to maintain a superior position when we realize that everything we have comes from Him. When we fear Yahweh—when we acknowledge that He created and reigns over all things—we discover our rightful place. We can then lift Him back to the place He deserves—as ruler over us, our master.
What are you prideful about, and what can you do to remedy the problem?
JOHN D. BARRY
John D. Barry and Rebecca Kruyswijk, Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012).