Isaiah 2:12, “For the Lord of hosts will have a day of reckoning against everyone who is proud and lofty and against everyone who is lifted up that he may be abased.”
Isaiah, 2:17, “The pride of man will be humbled, and the loftiness of men will be abased, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.”
Context: Chapter 2 of Isaiah prophecies the Judgment Day of the Lord.
Analysis: Since Isaiah was a prophet, he usually focused upon the nation as a whole rather than upon individuals. These three verses predict that God will have a Judgment Day for Judah in which the proud will no longer have any reason to be proud. That prophecy of Judgment Day became reality when Judah fell to Babylon in 586 B.C.
Isaiah 3:16-17, “Moreover, the Lord said, ‘Because the daughters of Zion are proud and walk with heads held high and seductive eyes, and go along with mincing steps, and tinkle the bangles on their feet; therefore, the Lord will afflict the scalp of the daughters of Zion with scabs, and the Lord will make their foreheads bare.’”
Context: Isaiah prophecies against the women of Judah.
Analysis: How many times have we heard that confidence is the number one trait to which members of the opposite sex are attracted? Apparently, people have not changed one bit in over 2,500 years. These young women of Israel were full of pride and used it to seduce men. Even though we may find pride attractive, God finds it repulsive.
Isaiah 5:15, “So the common man will be humbled, and the man of importance abased.”
Context: Chapter 5 contains various woes to evil-doers.
Analysis: There are many examples in the Bible of proud kings whom God opposes; but here in this verse, God opposes the pride of the common man as well.
Isaiah 5:21, “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.”
Analysis: This is one of the most convicting verses for me, personally. If I write something that I think is brilliant, I tend to think that I’m pretty smart.
When we have an understanding which others lack, it’s easy to think that we are wiser than they are. However, the biblical mandate is that we remain modest in our evaluation of our own intelligence. If we maintain a biblical focus and achieve a biblical level of intellectual modesty, we will never find ourselves insulting or talking down to others who disagree with us. Rather, we will “be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition [2 Timothy 2:24-25].’”
Isaiah 13:11, “I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud and abase the haughtiness of the ruthless.”
Context: Here, God says He will bring down Babylon as well. This prophecy was fulfilled when King Cyrus of Persia conquered Babylon in 539 B.C.
Analysis: Notice that the “ruthless” are described as “haughty.” The mean-spirited nature of the ruthless is rooted in pride. They believe that the oppressed deserve to suffer more than the oppressors, and they desire to be like God by inflicting judgment on those whom they’ve judge to be less worthy.
Ezekiel 16:49, “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and the needy.”
Context: Chapter 16 is a prophetic allegory in which Jerusalem is portrayed as an unfaithful woman.
Analysis: If there’s a verse in the Bible that convicts us where we are today, it’s this one. Many of us Christians in America are arrogant and live with careless ease. Yet we often neglect the physical needs of the poor, because we blame them for their poverty, and we focus our money and energy only on evangelism.
Obadiah 1:3, “The arrogance of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, in the loftiness of your dwelling place, who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to earth?’”
Context: Obadiah prophecies against Israel’s enemy, Edom, who delighted in the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.
Analysis: This verse addresses a nation of people who thought themselves clever for living in places that they believed to be out danger’s reach. In recent times, we Americans, accustomed to safety and success over the past century, believe that we are assured future security as well. Therefore, we live for pleasure on earth rather than for God’s purposes.
Malachi 4:1, “‘For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and evil-doer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.’”
Context: The book of Malachi prophecies against the behavior of the Jews in the decades after their return from the Babylonian exile. Much of the bad behavior that caused the first fall of Jerusalem had returned, so God prophesied that judgment would come again. But this time, the Messiah would come first.
Analysis: The arrogant get first billing here, ahead of the evil-doer. When Jesus came several centuries later, warnings to the arrogant were a top priority for Him, too.