When pride comes, then comes disgrace
but with the humble is wisdom.
Proverbs 11:2 ESV
Pride is arrogance and self-conceit, a lofty view of self. Pride, by its very nature, scorns disgrace and shame; it cannot endure them, for they dismantle being proud. It is supremely ironic, therefore, that this Proverb teaches us that pride brings disgrace with it, carrying alongside the very thing that it most utterly hates.
But why does pride bring disgrace along with it?
The higher one’s view of self is, the greater potential there is for disgrace. The humble, which are of course the opposite of the proud, are far less likely to be disgraced for the simple fact that the humble already know their shame and disgrace. The humble are humble precisely because they have a proper view of self. They know their sins, their failures, their shortcomings. Their self-understanding is not inflated and, therefore, is not likely to burst like a balloon at slightest prick of a pin. It is right, then, that the humble have wisdom. Their eyes are open to see the world as it truly is, for they have the resolve to see themselves as they truly are.
Like all of Proverbs, you will notice that this verse is simply exploring in different language and from different angles the truth of Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” What is more humbling that the fear of the LORD? Just ask Isaiah, who stood before the throne of God and heard the seraphim crying out His constant and eternal praise and, at the sight, lamented, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5)!
Indeed, because God is the Creator of all things, a proper fear of Him is, by necessity, the beginning of true knowledge and wisdom. And what is more prideful than rejecting wisdom and instruction, especially from the Creator? How audacious would we be to dismiss the counsel of a house’s architect and builder after having observed the house for a couple of minutes? Or what if we skimmed through a novel and then claimed greater expertise than the book’s author? This is precisely what we do whenever we, with lifespans capping out at a century, reject the Creator’s own instruction regarding the cosmos that He Himself designed and continues to uphold. Is it any wonder that the proud must inevitably come to disgrace?