Perils of Pride #2: The Origin of Pride

Isaiah 14:12-15

12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”
15 But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.
(NIV)

Isaiah chapter 14 is a taunt against the king of Babylon that the house of Israel was to take up when they were released from bondage. However, I believe that these verses have a second meaning in that they also provide us a glimpse of what occurred in heaven when Satan fell. If that is true, then these verses record the first sin ever committed, and also God’s punishment for the first sin.

So what was the first sin? It should be no surprise that I believe that the first sin of Satan was the sin of pride. Its manifestations are recorded in verses 13-14. “You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” (NIV) First, notice that the manifestation of the first sin began in the heart of Satan. It was not the rebellion that Satan led against God that was the first sin. It was something that went on in the heart of Satan. And is that not true for all our sin as well? All our sin begins in our heart. There is nothing that we do with our body which is evil that does not begin in our heart. And there is nothing that we fail to do with our body which would have been good that does not begin in our heart. We are told in James 1:14-15 “but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (NIV) Someone might say, “I thought it was Satan who tempted me. Or at least one of his demons.” What I gather from James 1:14-15 is that Satan doesn’t need to bother tempting us. Our own fleshly nature does the job quite well for him. We are tempted to sin by the evil desires that begin in our heart. We need to realize that the sin of pride begins in our heart and is not caused by outward circumstances.

Second, notice that the manifestation of the first sin of pride of Satan was focused clearly on the “self.” What I mean can be seen in all the “I” statements in Isaiah 14:13-14:

“I will ascend to heaven”
“I will raise my throne above the stars of God”
“I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain”
“I will ascend above the tops of the clouds”
“I will make myself like the Most High”

Satan’s first sin occurred when he became the object of his own worship instead of God. All of these “I” statements in verses 13-14 indicate a person who is more interested in their own self-exaltation rather than the glory of God. Notice that Satan did not intend to dethrone God. He intended to become like God – “I will make myself like the Most High.” And just to give a small preview of the next post, is that not the same thing Satan offered Eve in the Garden of Eden? A chance to be like God. Genesis 3:5 tells us “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (NIV) This is why it is possible for a Christian to have the sin of pride. We are not seeking to replace God. In that case we could not be a Christian. We just want to be a bit like God. To get a little bit of the glory that is due only to God.

Third, Satan’s first sin occurred when he desired a place that was not rightfully his to take. There is another passage very similar to Isaiah 14:12-15 found in Ezekiel 28:12-19. This passage in Ezekiel is, on the surface, the word of God against the King of Tyre. However, I believe it is also a message about Satan. These verses in Ezekiel tell us that Satan had every possible benefit and privilege which could be afforded by God. But he was not satisfied. He wanted the one thing that could not be his – equivalency with God. Did not King David have the same problem? God gave him everything, but David desired the one thing he could not have – another man’s wife. We read in 2 Samuel 12:7-12:

7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.
8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.
9 Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.
10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’
11 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.
12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.'”
(NIV)

Is it not the same with us? God has showered us with blessings beyond our ability to count. By grace, we have received things which we have no right or claim to. But we are never satisfied. Our pride tells us that we deserve more. Who is God to think He can withhold from us the lustful desires of our sinful heart? Surely we know what we need better than God does. Our pride leads us to fall into the trap of Satan, to desire the things we cannot have.

But now notice the punishment of Satan for his first sin of pride. This is seen in Isaiah 14 verses 12 and 15. “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!” “But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.” (NIV) The punishment of Satan was far more than just being told that he could not have what he lusted for, the punishment of Satan was his loss of everything he had. So, is the sin of pride that serious? It was the sin of pride which led Satan to rebel against God. What started in Satan’s heart eventually led to an action which would forever damn Satan. So the answer to the question is “Yes, pride is that serious.” The sin of pride in the life of a Christian could lead into further deliberate acts of rebellion against God. We could begin to worship ourselves instead of God. We could begin to seek the worship and adulation of other people. We could begin to take what has been forbidden to us. And what might the consequences for the sin of our pride be? For Satan it was the loss of everything. David was repaid with exactly what he had sinfully done. I don’t know what the answer might be for you or for me.

By Berean Husband

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2 thoughts on “Perils of Pride #2: The Origin of Pride

  1. So why did God send satan to earth when he cast him out? Why let him interact with humans? Isn’t that like dropping a rattlesnake in a baby’s crib?

    [Reply]

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Jim,

    God allowed Satan to come to Earth because it was God’s will that he do so.

    Romans 8:20-21 (ESV)
    20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope
    21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

    Just as it was God’s will to place the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil within the midst of the Garden of Eden:

    Genesis 2:8-9 (ESV)
    8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.
    9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

    Just as it was God’s will for Satan to test Job:

    Job 1:6-12 (ESV)
    6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.
    7 The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”
    8 And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”
    9 Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason?
    10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.
    11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.”
    12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

    But God did not leave us at the mercy of Satan, He told us what to do, resist the Devil and he will flee from you:

    James 4:7 (ESV) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

    Why might God allow all this?

    John 9:1-3 (ESV)
    1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.
    2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
    3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.

    God allowed Satan to come to Earth for God’s own good purpose, for the good of those who love God, that the works of God might be displayed and that the Lamb slain, Jesus Christ, might redeem His people from the foundation of the world.

    Romans 8:28 (ESV) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

    As long as you love God you’ve nothing to worry about – the end is already revealed.

    Berean Wife

    [Reply]

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