29Three or four creatures
really strut around:
30Those fearless lions
who rule the jungle,
31those proud roosters,
those mountain goats,
and those rulers
who have no enemies.
32If you are foolishly bragging
or planning something evil,
then stop it now!
33If you churn milk
you get butter;
if you pound on your nose,
you get blood—
and if you stay angry,
you get in trouble.
Pride, or thinking well of yourself, is a temptation that occurs everywhere in our world. So prevalent is it that we even see examples of pride throughout God’s creation:
The lion, who is the king of all he surveys.
The rooster, who walks as if he is the king of all he surveys.
The mountain goat, who leaps and climbs without worry of predators.
The king, similar to the previous three, marches in splendor with his army on parade when there are no enemies nearby.
Each of these examples reminds us that pride is a natural occurrence – in nature, in our lives – but this doesn’t mean we have to give in to it. In fact, it can be dangerous to do so, as each of these examples will fall short of their own pride.
Pride can destroy a lion, as its might is not invincible.
Pride can destroy a rooster, as its sense of self-importance does not make it indestructible.
Pride can destroy a mountain goat, as its security is not absolute.
Pride can destroy a king, as his lack of enemies does not make him impregnable.
To our eyes, the rooster seems harmless enough. But when we become full of pride, we strut around, which leads to puffing ourselves up, which leads to putting others down. Soon there is anger, and fighting, and trouble.
This proverb warns us of the dangers of pride. This is just like what happens when we churn milk – and we get butter – or we punch someone’s nose – we get blood. When we are puffed up, and put others down, we get strife.
This is the road on which pride leads
Father God, I praise you for your son Jesus who is gentle and humble in heart. Please lead me to be humble and gentle. Help me to more fully accept your love today so I may accept others with love to bring you praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Douglas & Noël Estes
Douglas Estes is Assistant Professor of New Testament and Practical Theology and director of the DMin Program at South University—Columbia. Prior to this he was a pastor for 16 years. He has written or edited six books and contributes to a variety of publications including Bible Study Magazine and Christianity Today. His wife Noël was a Marriage and Family Therapist, before making a career of raising their four children and becoming a DMin student. Some recent publications include: Questions and Rhetoric in the Greek New Testament (Zondervan, 2017) and, as co-editor, How John Works (SBL Press, 2016). Also: "The Exoplanets Declare the Glory of God" (Christianity Today, March 2016).