Pride and Humility
Many proverbs warn that the sin of pride is a dangerous offense. Proverbs 16:18 declares, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Verse 18 links to verse 19: “Better to live humbly with the poor than to share plunder with the proud.” The meaning of the passage is clear-cut: pride leads to humiliation. It is better to be humble and poor than proud and rich.
A similar proverb expands the message: “Haughtiness goes before destruction; humility precedes honor” (Proverbs 18:12 NLT). While pride sets us on an ill-fated course, the opposite of pride—humility—leads to honor. To choose pride is to set oneself up for a fall; the pedestal we make for ourselves proves a precarious foundation.
Pride in the context of these verses refers to an arrogant attitude that manifests itself as independence from God and contrasts strikingly with humility. Such arrogance is hazardous to our well-being and success in life because it keeps us from fearing the Lord. By contrast, “Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4).
To fear the Lord and thus avoid the pride that goes before a fall is to respect, reverence, and submit to Him in every area of life. When we fear the Lord, we acknowledge our desperate need for God because He is infinitely wiser than we are: “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil” (Proverbs 3:7).