Pride Goes Before Destruction
A Haughty Spirit before a Fall
Prov 16:18; Ezekiel 28:1-5,11-13a,14-19
Tom J. Nettles
his attention from
I. The King of Tyre brings judgment on himself. 28:1-10
A. Just as surely as Ezekiel was given
messages about the chosen people
¨ Ezekiel received this prophecy with as much confidence of its divine origin as he had received the visions of God’s glory in chapter one.
¨ God commanded his prophet to speak. God does not relinquish ownership of any people any where. An atheistic or idolatrous people or nation are no less under the immediate scrutiny as well as authority of God than a nation in which gospel truth is widely and generously proclaimed.
¨ God identifies himself as “The Lord God.” He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David. No matter what the religious allegiance of a country might be, there is only one God and to him all must give account.
B. The gravamen of the charge appears
immediately: “Because your heart is proud, and you have said, ‘I am a god.’” Verse
6 repeated the charge and verse 17 again points to it. The Lord God told the
¨ He had conceived of himself in terms of invincibility, and omniscience. The limited sphere, comparatively speaking, of his responsibilities were handled so easily in the context of his extraordinary gifts, that he extrapolated success into a sense of personal perfection. He could see no area of weakness and no place for improvement. He made his heart like the heart of a god.
¨ Like Daniel, a Hebrew of the exile who had been given great gifts of wisdom and a knowledge of secrets in the interpretation of dreams and visions by God and always recognized God as their source (Daniel 2:27-30; 6:3-5), the king of Tyre considered himself wiser than Daniel. From the astuteness of his own penetration, so he had come to believe, “no secret is hidden from you.” It is also ironic that Daniel’s task consisted largely of showing haughty and proud rulers God’s intention to chasten or judge them for their pride.
¨ Verses 4, 5 - This heathen king had been granted great gifts of discernment in trade enterprise. He was a virtual Midas in his dealings with nations, but all of his success he attributed to himself. God is jealous of the gifts that he sovereignly bestows on the sons of men and will require at our hands gratitude for his blessings and an accounting for their use. One of the steps of decline in perversity Paul described; “Although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks . . . Claiming to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:21, 22)
C. Verses 7-10 – God reveals the
creatureliness, the wickedness, and the uncovenanted status of the prince of
¨ Continual waves of difficulty, decades, centuries, of vassalage, paying tribute, loss of independence, all will show that, not only this prince, but the entire city will continually be pressed and often overwhelmed by merely human forces—hardly the traits of a god. What will the prince say about his deity when he falls into the hands of the man that will slay him? God repeats, “You are a man and no god.”
great is his sin that God will employ the “most ruthless of the nations” as his
instrument in defiling the pride of the prince of
¨ In inflicting the “death of the uncircumcised” on this proud man, God showed him that his great gifts were doubly gratuitous, for he was not only a sinner standing in the need of grace, but was outside any of the promises that had been given to the descendants of Abraham for earthly blessing.
II. This lament
over the king of
A. Verses 11-15 – The immediate
historical referent in these exalted statements concerns the king of
B. The splendor of the king’s court and the beauty of his attire rise so far above the common ordinary scenes of life that the atmosphere of his life seems to move in pre-fall conditions.
C. Behind this description of the divine
favor to the king of
language that indicates something beyond the king of
o Signet of perfection
o You were in
o On the day that you were created, they were prepared.
o You were anointed guardian cherub, etc.
o You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you.
¨ In addition, the indicators of judgment could be seen as aboriginal and as occurring at the beginning, before the world was corrupted by sin. Jesus mentioned in Luke 10:18 that he saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. This would indicate both the brilliance and the speed of the fall.
o I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire (16)
D. Because of the exalted status of the
king, the sins are great and the consequent judgment is great. – 15b-19. The same idea of reminiscence could be in
mind in some of the language employed, speaking directly of the king of
¨ The identification of the unrighteousness found in him is pride in his own beauty, and the attempt to use his superior intelligence to gain independence as a sovereign, rather than a servant. (17b, 16) Compare with Hebrews 1:13, 14. Because of his superiority of gifts, he did not want to be consigned to the position of a ministering spirit.
the king of
the great original angel of beauty before him had been cast down, so the king
¨ How great the wrath of God is and with what zeal he lays claim to all his prerogatives will not be lost in the refinement with which judgment comes on the Tyrian prince. “You have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever.”
III. Some final points of summary
A. God is the maker and sustainer of
everything and has made all of it for his own glory. He will not share his
glory with another and when we claim any thing as our own as if it were not a
gift from God and as if our strength to enjoy it were not given and sustained
by God we are open to the same severity of judgment that came on the king of
B. Pride is the fountain from which flow
all the sins of men. It was the first entrance of evil into the creation and
constituted the source of the fall of the prince of
C. Pride is the unsoftened manifestation of pure satanic rebellion against God. Pride consists of self-deification for it claims to be the creator and sustainer of things, or traits, or talents that are gifts of common grace from the triune God. We have no power to create a fly, or a piece of dirt, and to claim our talents and earthly privileges as the work of our own power and worth is an attempt to dethrone God. We must avoid being puffed up by asking ourselves constantly, as Paul asked the Corinthians. “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7