In Ecclesiastes, Solomon wrote a lot about foolish behavior: “The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh (4:5, NASB); and “Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him (10:12),” to highlight a couple passages. Yet one verse caught my attention about wisdom: “Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself (7:16)?” It’s a warning that pride can be just as destructive as foolishness.
Solomon also expressed this warning in Proverbs. In 16:5 he wrote: “Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished. In 16:18 he wrote: “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.” If we begin to see ourselves as more righteous, more wise than others, there is a risk that we see ourselves as self important; we become prideful, elevating ourselves above others.
The antidote to pride is to humble ourselves before God, to have a heart for God. James 4:6-7 gives us guidance: “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Humility before God helps us to rein in pride. As Proverbs 11:2 tells us: “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.”
© 2021 CGThelen
Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins. – Ecclesiastes 7:20