PRIDE COMETH BEFORE AND AFTER A FALL
II Chronicles 32:31, "Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.”
Hezekiah was one of the greatest of the kings. Probably God’s people knew only one king greater than Hezekiah and that was King David or at least he was in the top three of the greatest of the kings in the history of God’s people.
Hezekiah led in a great revival. He gathered the people together at the Temple and led them in national repentance. The Temple worship was restored and the Passover that had been neglected for many years was kept. The Temple that had been run down and filled with rubbish has been clean up under his leadership. Choirs were organized to tour the land and to sing praises to God and lead the people of God to sing praises unto God. People began to tithe and give offerings again. They established certain places for the people of God to get right with God financially and by the way nobody ever has revival without a revival of giving. I would be ashamed to be a member of one of God’s blood bought local churches and not give my tithes and offerings to her.
Idols were destroyed and the Scriptures were read in public places because of the leadership of Hezekiah. A time of thanksgiving was set and a mighty deliverance was given from their bitter and perpetual enemy Syria.
It was a wonderful time of revival. Only a few other times in all of the life of God’s people where there was revival anywhere near to comparing to this revival in the days of Hezekiah. King Josiah led God’s people in a great revival and there were others who led God’s people in revival, but none were as great as this revival under King Hezekiah.
As a result of this revival King Hezekiah became internationally honored. Ambassadors came from all over the known world to bring him gifts and to honor him. Other great dignitaries came to see this great King Hezekiah. Ladies and gentlemen when greatness comes your way you had better watch it, you had better be careful, because failure has slain its thousands while success has slain its tens of thousands! It is awfully hard for creatures of dust as we humans are to take success without nudging ourselves a little bit into the limelight of honor.
Hezekiah was not able to stand the praise and the success he experienced! His heart was lifted up with pride and because of this pride Hezekiah was made sick even sick unto death. He turned his face toward the wall and the Scriptures tell us, “He sought the Lord” and he humbled himself and God healed him. God gave him 15 more years to live.
With that blessing came more honors and more wealth! The Bible tells us about the silver, the gold, the jewels, the corn, the wine, the cattle, the flocks, the herds, the fame, and other things that man would associate with material blessings. All of this came to King Hezekiah.
Ambassadors were sent from Babylon to bring gifts and to give him honor. Hezekiah was basking once again in the sunlight of fame all the way into Babylon. Please follow this carefully! Here is King Hezekiah; he led in a great revival, God blessed, pride came, he was made ill, he humbled himself, and sought the Lord and God healed him by giving him 15 more years to his life.
Then God said, “I’d better give Hezekiah a little check up. I’d better check his heart and give him a little spiritual stress test.” God said, “Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon who sent unto him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land God left him to try him that he might know all that was in his heart.”
God said, “I’m going to hide from the sight of Hezekiah for awhile. I’m going to find out what is in his heart. He served me when he had plenty of corn. I‘m going to find out if he will serve me when he has little corn. He served me when the vats were filled so now I’m going to find out if he will serve me when the vats are empty. He loved me and served me when he had silver, gold, precious stones, beautiful jewels, and expensive gems, but I’m going to find out if he will still serve me and love me when the gold, silver, jewels, and precious metals are all gone.”
God said, “He served me when he had fame now I’m going to take away his fame and see if he will serve me when he has no fame. He served me when he had cattle so I’m going to see if he will serve me if he has no cattle.”
Why don’t we just put it down where we live? God sometimes says, “You served me when there was prosperity and I’m going to see if you will serve me when there is no prosperity. You served me when there was plenty and I’m going to find out if you will serve me when there is lack. You served me when you were employed and now I’m going to find out if you will serve when you are unemployed.”
God says, “I’m going to check out King Hezekiah’s heart. I’m going to find out what is in his heart.” God said, “He served me when he had flocks and herds and now I’m going to find out what he will do without the flocks and the herds. He served me when ambassadors from other countries came and brought him gifts and honors. Let’s see if he will serve me when the ambassadors quit coming and the gifts quit coming and the honors quit coming his way. He served me when he was on top now let’s check him out and see if he will serve me when he is on the bottom. He served me when the sun was at high noon so let’s see if he will serve me when its midnight in his life. He served me when things were rosy and all was good, now let’s see if he will serve me when seemingly turn my back on him.
I’m going to hide from him so now let’s see if he will still serve me. When the rain comes will he serve me? When the clouds come will he still serve me? When the darkness overtakes him will he still serve me?
The truth is God sometimes looks down on a nation and he says, “That nation had churches on every street corner. That nation believes the Bible to be the perfect, inerrant, and inspired Words of God Himself. That nation has prosperity and I’m going to send a recession and maybe even a depression to see what they are made of spiritually.”
The same thing is true of individuals when God sometimes does the same thing to individuals. The real you will come out when the clouds roll in, when the storms come, the midnights arrive, the recession hits, the layoffs are announced, the depression is felt, the persecution comes your way, and illness knocks on our life’s door.
Sometimes God gives His children a complete physical and gives them stress test to check up on us. The danger is that we don’t realize that pride cometh before and after a fall if we are not diligent spiritually. God checks our hearts to see if they are bitter the second time. God checks our hearts to see if it is proud the second time. God checks our hearts the second time to see if there is hatred, lust, covetousness, jealousy, or envying.
So, after the first fall Hezekiah recovers and bounces back up onto his feet spiritually. God departs the second time for a season from Hezekiah to check out his heart because pride cometh before and after a fall. It is so easy when things are going well and we accomplished something of an extraordinary manner to bask in the sunlight. It is even easier to do it a second time and steal the spotlight from God. Failure has destroyed thousands but success has destroyed tens of thousands!
That is exactly what happened to Job! Everything was going well for Job. He was on topside, had wealth, health, family, and was known throughout the known world. He lives in prosperity and Satan came to God and said, “Take away his positions and he’ll turn his back on you.” God said, “Ok, but don’t touch his life.” Satan came and took all of Job’s wealth and health. He destroyed all of his sheep, oxen, cattle, donkeys, camels, and all of his houses. Yet, Job said, “Though he slay me yet will I trust him.” “I know my redeemer liveth and he shall stand again at the last day.”
Satan comes back and says, “I’ll take his children.” A great wind came and all ten of Job’s children were taken at one time in death. Can you begin to imagine the heartache? I see ten caskets. I see a man of God comforting Mr. and Mrs. Job. I see them standing at the graveside as those ten bodies are lowered into the ground. Job what do you have to say now? “Though he slay me yet will I trust him.” “I know my redeemer liveth and he shall stand again at the last day.” What a man!
I can almost hear God saying to Satan, “You were wrong weren’t you!” Satan says, “Ok let me touch his body?” God said, “Ok.” I see Job with a severe disease. I see him sitting in the burning embers of the city dump. I see corruption oozing from his open sores all over his body. I see Job acquiring a knife and beginning to scrape his flesh attempting to find some relief. I see him sitting in the burning coals looking for any kind of relief possible.
Then I see Job’s wife come and say, “Why don’t you curse God and die.” Wow, look at Job sitting in that ash heap. His children all gone, money all gone, camels all gone, oxen all gone. Sheep all gone, donkeys all gone, his houses and lands gone, health gone, friends gone, and his wife has turned on him.
I can hear Satan saying to God, “Now, let’s look and see if he is still the great Job you said he was.” Job looked at his leveled houses, leveled barns, barren fields, dead cattle, dead oxen, looked at his children’s graves, saw his wife turning on him, friends left him, and then Job looked at his body wrecked and ruined by disease; he who was the richest is now the poorest, he who was in perfect health is now the sickest of all, he who was on top side is now on bottom side, and he shouts, “Though he slay me yet will I trust him.” “I know that my redeemer liveth and he shall stand again at the last day.”
What a man! Job stood the test of failure, poverty, death, and illness. Wait something happened! Job said to himself, “Boy oh boy. I don’t think any one could have taken what I have taken. No one that I know of could have stood this test like I did and like Hezekiah Job became proud. God had to send a parade of what God Himself had done in front of Job to cause Job to realize he is nothing compared to Almighty God.
God said, “Job here are some ostriches. How many of those have you made? Here is some snow. How many snow flakes have you made Job? Here is some rain how much rain have you made Job? Here are some peacocks. How many Peacocks have you made Job? Here are some elephants? How many elephants have you made Job? Here is a rainbow. How many rainbows have you made Job?” Job said at the end of God’s parade, “I abhor myself.”
Hezekiah became proud. Job became proud. Pride cometh before and after a fall. God hates a proud look and you will no have a proud look until you have a proud heart. “My, my, I have become a pretty good soul winner!” Better watch it and be careful to always give the glory to God. If God has blessed you in any way be careful. Isaiah 4:6, “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” Not our badness but out goodness. Not our worst but our best.
The Israelites came to God one time and said, “Everybody else has a king. Why can’t we have a king? Just because everyone else ahs something does not make it right nor does it mean you are supposed to have it. When in Rome do as Christians do and not as Romans do! What is at play here? Pride!
Proverbs 16:18 is so true when it says, “Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” but it is as equally true that when you survive a fall you can also be struck down with pride. Success has ruined a lot of God’s people not only in the Scriptures but also in modern days. When these tests come into our lives and we survive them all of us should be careful that pride doesn’t sneak in the back door.
Pride ruined Hezekiah, Job, and Israel not only the first time but also the second time. Pride cometh before a fall and after a fall!
Israel said to God, “Let us have a king. Everybody else has a king. Syria, Moab, Amnon, Edomites, Egypt, Damascus, Tyre, and Sidon all have kings. Why can’t we have a king?” So God said, “Ok!”
God gave them the finest specimen of a man in the land. Saul was head and shoulder taller physically than anybody else’s in the kingdom. He was even taller than too-tall Jones! Ha! He was fair of face and countenance. He was strong of body. He was humble. He said one time, “Me, why I’m just a child. I couldn’t ever be king.” God like that quality and made him king. Saul sought help and because he was little in his own eyes and sought such help victory after victory came. The blessings of God came on Saul. What happened? Saul became proud!
Little David came along and Saul became jealous. His pride led to jealousy and jealousy led to attempted murder of a lad. Little David fled from King Saul. Why was Saul doing this horrible thing? His heart was not right with God. He was no longer humble before God.
Be careful if the victories are seemingly coming easily. Be careful if you have a pretty face. Be careful if you have a winsome personality. Be careful if you have a big physique. Saul’s pride led to his downfall.
Look out Hezekiah your pride is showing! Look out Job your pride is starting to show! Look out Israel your pride is beginning to show! Look out King Saul your pride is showing! Pride will cause more people burn in Hell than anything. Pride of God’s people will cause them to go deeper into sin. All of us had better be careful!
If Saul, the most humble man in the kingdom and the outstanding man in all of Israel can be lifted up with pride so can you!
I think honestly that he was overall a pretty decent man. I think later on in his life that he was saved. I think he is an underrated man. Yes, he led the attack on Israel as a heathen king and was used by God to take Israel into captivity.
Nebuchadnezzar became proud and God caused him to become so physically down that he ended up walking on all fours like an animal. Go ahead and don’t stay right with God. He can still reach you no matter where you are!
Hezekiah you had better be careful! Job you had better be careful! Israel you had better be careful! King Saul you had better be careful! Nebuchadnezzar you had better be careful! By the way all of us ought to be careful!
The same thing happened to King David. He was king why should he go to battle? He can just send others to fight and with that pride came adultery and murder! Watch it Hezekiah, Job, Israel, Saul, Nebuchadnezzar, and David!
How does God respond? He will hide Himself so you can’t see Him. That way you will realize your need of Him. You will think that God has forsaken you! All God is doing is checking your heart out.
Pride cometh before and after a fall. All of us have to be careful and allow God to test our hearts from time to time.