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Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.  It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud.  (NASB)

Pride goes before destruction.  Here we have painted for us a simple cause and effect.  If you are full of pride you are destined for destruction.  You shall have no other gods before Me (Exodus 20:3, NASB).  The word for pride here in the Hebrew means majesty, arrogance, excellence commonly used for God.  In other words the prideful man is one who thinks he can compare himself to the living God and sees in himself the attributes of the divine; that he can direct his own path through life without the help of God.  When man removes the Lord God from his life he has put himself on the throne where God should be; he does this and builds up his pride.  This is the man who is headed for destruction because he cannot succeed in life’s endeavors without the help of the Lord.  In contrast the man poor in spirit will not meet destruction because he is in the hands of God and subject to His perfect will. 

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.  For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think.  Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.  (Romans 12:1-3, HCSB) 

And a haughty spirit before stumbling.  Here we have another simple cause and effect illustrated for us.  If you have a haughty spirit you are headed for a fall; plainly and simply stated.  The word used for haughty in the Hebrew means a thought referring to height, grandeur, dignity.  It is employed figuratively to depict grandeur or dignity and in a negative sense excessive pride or arrogance.  The person with the haughty spirit is going to fall because he is not being held by the loving Father.  The Father will not let His children succumb to defeat.  In contrast the man poor in spirit will not fall because His Father loves him and will not let him fall.  Consider our choices by meditating on the following warnings,

There let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he falls [into sin].  (1 Corinthians 10:12, Amplified)

He must not be a new convert, or he might become conceited and fall into the condemnation of the Devil.  Furthermore, he must have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he does not fall into disgrace and the Devil’s trap.   (1 Timothy 3:6-7, HCSB)

Better to be humble in spirit with the lowly.  The better choice for us is now presented.  We face choices every day and God has given us the freedom to make those choices.  The choices we make are usually determined by our character and that is why character is so important.  The man whose character is poor in spirit will make the choice to have a humble spirit and submit to the will of the Lord.  That is the better choice presented for us.

Than to divide the spoil with the proud.  Sometimes the proud have the wealth and material blessings in this age.  Despite this apparent material blessing available to the proud they have no eternal blessing.  It is much better to store up our treasures in heaven than to have them here on earth,

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.   (Matthew 6:19-21, 33, NASB)

Memorize Proverbs 16:18-19 and Matthew 6:33 this week.