Proverbs 12:9 ESV
Better to be lowly and have a servant than to play the great man and lack bread.
The famous words of Milton’s Satan encapsulate the common sentiment of man’s pride: “Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven” (Paradise Lost Book 1, Line 263). Fallen man loves to lord himself over others. To be a king in squalor seems more desirable to him than to be a peasant in comfort.
This verse rebukes such men. If a man is starving, what does it avail him to have a pretty gold hat? Yet pride is a terrible danger; as the Psalmist says in Psalms 59:12, “For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips, let them be trapped in their pride.” Pride destroys men: because of pride, they decide that their position is more worthwhile than their fundamental needs, both physical and spiritual.
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall,” proclaims Proverbs 16:18. This is true in a cosmic sense: the first and most fundamental sin was pride. The sin of pride is fundamentally the assertion that you are greater and more able and more important than you actually are, precisely the attitude Adam held when he failed in his duty of protection and which Eve held when she succumbed to temptation. If pride, then, has brought such great evil and suffering into the world, should we not therefore be in constant war with it, to root it out from out lives?
The pride which goes before the destruction is the same pride which makes a man turn up his nose at bread and at comfort when it would require him to humble himself, to choose the less glorious path. No man is invulnerable in the face of pride; God willing, we will be unharmed despite our vulnerability. The foe, though, is greater than us all, and we must therefore pray for strength from God’s throne.
Be mindful of your heart. Remember that living in the Shire with food on your table outmatches living in Minas Tirith with naught. Give thanks to God for what you have and hold it lightly, storing up treasures in heaven rather than earth (Matthew 6:19-21).
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.