God pronounces judgment on those who depend on their own understanding, making the wisdom of God subject to what their own limited brains can conceive. They have become so “wise” that they have convinced themselves there is no God. They have become so “clever” that they are making a mockery of everyone who believes in God and places their hope in Him. They think people are stupid for acknowledging they need God.
The truth is that the only stupid ones are these so-called “wise” people. They have not yet reached a point where they are honest about their own needs. When natural disasters strike, how will their “wisdom” save them then? When God rises to shake the earth, how clever will they be then! They measure God by the limits of their own understanding and have found Him, whose understanding no one can fathom, to fall short in their own estimation. They have convinced themselves that they are greater than their Creator.
There are also those who profess to believe in God, but who have such an inflated view of themselves and their opinions, that no one can correct them any longer. These words apply to them as well. They have become puffed up with their own “wisdom” and being full of themselves, there is no longer room for God in their hearts.
Jesus related a parable of two people who came to church to pray (see Luke 18:9-14). The one had a very high view of himself and remembered all the good things he does for God. Jesus says in the story that this man prayed to himself, in fact. The prayer wasn’t even really directed at God because all he did was sing his own praises and he had the audacity to look down his nose at the other man who came to pray. The other man lived a sinful lifestyle. He cheated people out of their money. But he was remorseful and with great humility didn’t even dare to go to the front of the church, but remained in the back, hiding in the shadows. He didn’t come before God to justify his deeds. He came to seek mercy, because he realized his need for God’s grace. Jesus said that this sinful man found salvation and not the pompous “righteous” man.
We are in a very dangerous place when we reach the point when no one can tell us anything about God any longer since we believe we have Him all figured out. We especially look down on those who don’t have the credentials we deem necessary. When they don’t have any sort of rank, we shrug them off as insignificant. In the process we shun God. God can speak through whoever He desires to speak through. In fact, He once spoke to a stubborn prophet through His donkey. Pride, however, deafens us to the voice of God. It blinds us to the action of God which is happening right in front of our noses. But since we are looking for credentials and external forms of accreditation, we are missing Him.
Pride was the reason the church leaders couldn’t see God’s action in Jesus Christ. He didn’t fit the picture. He didn’t do what they did and He didn’t do it the way they did it. So they tried to shrug Him off as insignificant. They once demanded that He show them His credentials. Who authorized Him? He wasn’t ordained by their church leader. As time passed they found they couldn’t just shrug Him off as insignificant as the whole world was going after Him and that they were in danger of losing their prestigious church positions. Since they couldn’t ignore Him, they killed Him. That’s how detrimental pride may be to the human heart.
Let’s pray to God to give us a humble heart. That is a prayer, I found, God is in quite a hurry to answer. But since He gives grace to the humble, it is important to be filled with humility. He resists the proud. When we have an overinflated view of our own importance it is nearly impossible to view ourselves honestly with the measure of faith that God has given us (Romans 12:3). This means that we are deluded concerning our need for the grace and mercy of God. There is no delusion so great as self-delusion.