The Perils of Pride

Bible Book: Genesis  11 : 1-9
Subject: Revival; Pride; Sin, Danger of

The Perils of Pride

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

Genesis 11

In Genesis, chapter 11, we read about a man named Nimrod. He was a man who was intent on building a kingdom for himself. He had a plan to build a tower so high that it could reach heaven. He didn't just want to be a "star", he intended to own the stars. Arrogance, pride and selfishness marked this man to the core. 

As Nimrod set forth his plan to build The Tower of Babel he enlisted the greatest builders and brought everyone under his control to get this task accomplished. Of course pride was the central problem in Nimrod's heart and in the lives of those who followed him.

God always deals with pride and he did so with Nimrod and his crowd in a hilarious manner - He confused their language so that they woke one day and could not understand what each other was saying. Imagine waking one morning and you can't even understand what your wife is saying. Well, that is not a good example, for many of us guys we don't understand what the ladies are saying anyway. That is why when we ask our wives why they are upset,  they always answer by asking, "Don't you know?" Duh! If we knew, we wouldn't ask. Seriously, though, this was a major problem for Nimrod's building plans. Confusion reigned and people became frustrated, angry and befuddled.

Let me remind you that God hates pride. He said so in His Word and He also said that He would  keep the proud at a distance from Him. No one can walk with God and be living in pride.

So, think with me about this today by looking at ...

I. Pride's Delusion

Pride blinds us to reality. Pride causes us to think of ourselves as better or more important that we really are. Pride deludes the human mind and a deluded person is a dangerous person. Pride causes us to think that we don't need God, and perhaps that we don't need others. It works in the following ways ...

A. I Do Not Have A Need

Revelation 3 – Laodecian Church

The late pastor Julian Dye, who pastored Lily Baptist Church, Shelby, North Carolina, many years ago, did something I had never seen before and I've never seen since. Let me set the background for you. At the time of the worship service I'm going to describe you need to know that I was running from my call to the ministry. I was about 22 years of age at that time. My wife and I were in church that Sunday and pastor Julian Dye asked everyone who felt that they were really seeking to live for God to come forward and stand at the front of the church. Well, people starting going forward in great numbers. I motioned to my wife and we stepped forward with the crowd. Finally every person was at the front of the church, except for one lone man standing at his seat near the back of the church. This man was known to be sinful, so he stood at his seat - he was being completely honest in doing so. Then Pastor Dye walked back, put his arm around that man and said, “Now, there are only two people in the church telling the truth this morning – this gentleman here and me. None of us are doing what we really could do for Jesus.” It was a convicting moment for all those standing at the front of the church. It was an invitation that was not forgotten. It was the beginning of the end of my running from God. I wept that day, for I knew I wasn't doing what God desired of me and I felt foolish standing there with everyone else at the altar of the church..

Let me tell you, everyone of us has a spiritual need. We all need a deeper commitment and the infilling of God's Spirit. Yes, we have a need. And some here need to admit that you have never trusted Jesus as your Savior. You may have a church membership, but you don't have a relationship with Christ.

There was another problem that pride presented to Nimrod and often to us. We say to ourselves...

B. I Can Meet My Own Need

Jesus told a parable of two men praying at God's House. A self-righteous man prayed, "I thank you I am not like other men." The humble man stood back and prayed, "Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner!" Jesus was teaching that the first man was arrogant and unjustified before God, while the humble man went home justified because of his honest confession before God. Pride is dangerous because God always keeps His distance from the proud.

Man is always thinking that he can solve life’s problems on his own. Don’t get me wrong, God wants us to use our skills and abilities to work on our problems and responsibilities; after all, God told Adam to subdue the earth. I am not advocating that we take a laissez-faire attitude toward life or life’s pursuits. I would remind you, however, that there is a phrase in business that is true in all of life: “Today’s solutions are tomorrow’s problems.” Just think about some solutions that man has devised and how those solutions, though helpful, created new and bigger problems.

The automobile was meant to be a solution to personal transport. It created faster, easier and more personal transportation. But, the automobile has brought about a shortage of oil, taken many lives through accidents, polluted the atmosphere and caused many other problems. The automobile is a wonderful invention, and it is hard for many of us to imagine living without one; however, the problems it solved also created some problems we have today. Everything man does is like that. We create a solution but that solution becomes the problem for those who follow behind us.

We can do great things, and we should, but we must never be proud and think that we are truly solving problems completely. Today's solution will create tomorrow's problems and only God will eventually provide a life beyond this fallen world where problems will cease to exist. In essence, we cannot meet our own need - only Jesus was able to provide for the greatest problem of mankind - the sin problem. He died, rose, ascended and is coming again one day. He is the true problem solver.

In Nimrod's pride, notice also ...

II. Pride's Display

Spurgeon said, “Do not be proud of race, face, place or grace.” What a great statement that is. I don't care what race you are, it doesn't make you better than another person in the eyes of God. Your money, your title or accomplishments have never provided any divine grace to your life.

There was a child in a worship service who heard the preacher bring a message on evangelism. The pastor said that every Christian could and should witness to others. The young boy could not wait to get out of church and speak to someone about Christ. As the lad left the worship service that morning he saw a man who appeared to be sad and downcast, and likely in need of knowing Christ. So the boy went up to the man and said "Sir, wouldn't you like to become a Christian?" The man looked down at the boy and said in a condescending manner, "I'll have you know, young man, that I am a deacon." The little boy didn't know what a deacon was, so he proceeded to say, "Mister, it don't matter what you've done, Jesus will still save you!" God has a way of knocking the pride out of us from time to time and I expect he did just that to the distingished man through that little boy in church that Sunday.

A poet wrote a poem about pride some years ago that just might identify us or some people we know:

“When I grow up I’ll carry a stick,

And look very dignified,

I’ll have a watch that will really tick,

And house that is made out of brick

And no one will guess that it’s just trick,

And I’m really myself inside!” (Poem by Marchette Chute, 1910-1994)

Nimrod was intent on building something that was greater than anyone on earth. He was going to reach all the way to heaven - he was planning on becoming 'god'.

Pride has a way of making us do really stupid and dangerous things. When the Beattles, of music fame, came to America, they were surrounded by thousands of adoring fans. One of the musicians, though I don't rememer which one, said, "We're more popular than Jesus." Of course, he later stated that he didn't mean it the way it sounded, but what really happened was that pride got the better of him for a moment. Pride has a way fo doing that.

Alice Roosevelt Longworth was the oldest daughter of Theodore Roosevelt. She said of her father, “He wanted to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral.” In other words, he wanted to be the center of attention all the time and at every occasion. The danger in pride is that it causes us to lift ourselves in an arrogant display of selfishness. When we do this, God will judge it, of that you can be sure.

But, note also ...

III. Pride's Doom

Pride goes before the fall. Wherever pride shows it face it will soon be lying in the mud. Think of the doom of pride with me.

A. Pride Keeps us far from God – Psalm 138:6

God keeps the proud far from Him. Anyone who wishes to walk close with the Lord must rid himself or herself of pride. The greatest thing that anyone can do is walk with the Lord, but you can't do that while holding on to an arrogant spirit.

B. Pride Causes us to be on God’s bad side – Proverbs 8:13

God becomes angry with pride. And, we can safely say that God is not someone you wish to face when He is angry.

C. Pride Leads to a fall – Proverbs 16:18

Pride always leads us to fall. When we become proud, we are merely laying tripping stones in our own paths - stones that will trip us up and throw us face down in humiliation. There is a great peril in being proud. There is, however, hope for the humble.


Nimrod ended up as the typical arrogant man - face down in shame and defeat. As the langauge of the people was altered, it was necessary for them to go off in different directions. The situation left Nimrod with a "white elephant" of shame. So, people were scattered and separated because of pride.

But, let me tell you the rest of the story. You see, man's spirit separates people because we are struggling to be better than the next guy. It is true that only God’s Spirit can bring people together. That is what God did at Pentecost. At Babel he confused the languages – at Pentecost he caused people to understand each other even though they were from various countries and different languages. Everyone who trusted God understood what the disciples were saying, even though many of them did not speak the language being used by the disciples. Those filled with the Spirit of God will be loving, unselfish and unified. Those who are proud will be hateful, selfish and divided.

Psalm 51:17 states that the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Isaiah 57:15 states that humility and confession lead to revival!

I don't think many Christians deny that we need revival today as much as the church has ever needed it. We desperately need revival in our hearts, our churches and our land. It will never occur as long as we are stiff-necked and proud.

  • Humility is the beginning attitude needed for revival to be possible.
  • Humility causes us to be open to confession and repentance.
  • Humility prepares us to make things right between ourselves and others.
  • Humility causes us to seek God's forgiveness, help and love.
  • Humility opens up the path to truly walk wtih God.
  • Humility makes it possible for God to pour out upon us all He has planned for us.

Today can be a great day for each of us and all of us - if we will humble ourselves and seek His face. I pray that will happen right now - right here - it is the right thing to do!

Read 2 Chronicles 7:14. "If my people will humble themselves..." There it is ... "if my people will HUMBLE themselves" ... that is the beginning of God forgiving our sins and healing our land.

In pride there is ruin.

In humility before God there is revival.

The choice is ours!