The difference between healthy and evil pride – Ezekiel 25-28, Part 3

Do an internet search on the word “pride,” and the results will be vast and varied. Think about the ways we use the word “pride.” A group of lions is called a “pride.” There is the phrase, “proud as a peacock.” A famous contemporary usage refers to sexual identity and rights. There is good pride and bad pride. What does God say about pride? Pride is one of those English words that has so many meanings. If we want to understand what kind of pride we’re talking about, we need to examine the context in which the word is used.

In the previous post, we learned that the city Tyre was strong and prosperous, and its king was powerful.  That brings us to Ezekiel chapter 28, which is yet another prophecy about Tyre, but this chapter is specifically about the king of Tyre. God gets to his central concern right away in verses 1-5.  I encourage you to open a Bible and read Ezekiel 28:1-5.

Did you hear the concern that God has about the King of Tyre?  He mentioned it twice, once in verse 2 and once in verse 5.  The King of Tyre has a heart of pride. Let’s take a closer look at the words “heart” and “pride.” 

Heart is a reference to one’s inner self.  This is the place we well know.  Ezekiel is not referring to our blood-pumper. He talking about the seat of our emotions, our inclinations, and our attitude.  One of those feelings or attitudes we can have is pride.

Pride is when we are haughty.  We don’t use that word much, do we?  “Haughty” is related to the word “high,” such as when we say, “Well, aren’t you all high and mighty.”  It’s when people think they are higher than others.  This is not a neutral kind of pride.  It is an evil pride. But now all pride is evil.

In English we use the word “pride” is some positive ways.  If you have school pride, that means you support your school.  We can also say to someone, “I am so proud of you!”  That means we feel happy for and supportive of them.  A person might even take pride in their work, which means that they want to do a good job.  All of these are examples of positive healthy pride.  None of them are what God is talking about in Ezekiel 28 when he is describing the King of Tyre.  As he describes the king, God is referring to haughty pride.  Haughty is when you think you are better than others.  It means you are arrogant, disdainful of others, looking down on others.  Other words we use to describe this kind of person are: snob, stuck-up, conceited, pompous and vain.  None of these describe good pride.  But they all describe the King of Tyre.

God says that the King of Tyre has done really well for himself.  In verse 2 we read that the King of Tyre starts thinking that he is a god.  God says, “No sir. You are a man.” 

Have you ever known people who think they are above others?  Have you known people who think they are better than others?  Lots of celebrities and politicians and wealthy people can behave like this.  But it can also be a person at work, a kid at school, or someone in your family or neighborhood.  It can be you and me too. 

Think about those people who act like they are better than others. What are they like? Haughty, arrogant people are fun to be around, aren’t they?  No! Because they are often successful and popular, however, people fall over themselves to be close to the arrogant.  It is a strange irony about haughty people.  They are often horrible to be around, and yet lots of people want to be around them. 

That describes the King of Tyre perfectly.  He got rich, was powerful, and it seemed like he was doing quite well. People fawned over him.  As a result God says that the King’s heart grew proud.  When God says that a person’s heart has grown proud…watch out.  That’s not something you want God to say about you.  But might God say that about you? Has your heart has grown proud? 

In the next post, we’ll learn what God has to say about the King of Tyre, including a surprising possible double-meaning to this prophecy.

Photo by Timo Wagner on Unsplash

Published by joelkime

I love my wife, Michelle, and our four kids and two daughters-in-law. I serve at Faith Church and love our church family. I teach a course online from time to time, and in my free time I love to read and exercise, especially running,

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