Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 18:12
"Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, but humility goes before honor"
The Hebrew word is gaboah which means high, exalted. This is the idea that you see yourself as above others. Usually this is the result of your exalting yourself, but occasionally others will exalt you and then you will believe their overinflated assessment.
Solomon is stating a painfully obvious truth. You are the most susceptible to making errors and destructive choices when you are full of yourself – when you believe that you really are above others: smarter, faster, quicker, beyond the normal rules. This is when destructive consequences find you because of your choices.
Teens can get caught in this because they feel immortal and their bodies are quick and agile. If they are not careful, they will be full of themselves because they got a good grade or are a hero of their school or are very popular and then will try and translate that to driving recklessly or doing a stupid stunt or drinking excessively or a hundred other things that they know are foolish. But they believe that they can get away with it.
We are seeing an increase in this type of activity in business. Men and women who believe that because they are CEO or CFO of a major company, they don't have to abide by the normal rules of leadership or accounting. This then leads them to make absolutely devastatingly destructive choices which causes untold damage and often lands them in jail.
We see this with pastors, occasionally, who believe that because their church is growing and lots of people listen to them that they are above the normal rules of morality or spirituality. Some begin to believe that they can commit adultery and it’s okay. Some begin to skip and ignore their spiritual walk with God. Some begin to live lavishly and stop being generous to the poor.
This is the Hebrew word anaw which means humble. This word often is used of being humbled forcefully. God uses pain and suffering to bring a person to the end of themselves. A humble person is one who has the bigger perspective. They don't believe that the world or God's plan begins or ends with themselves. They clearly understand that it is an incredible privilege that God would love them and give them a small part in redemptive history. They are under no illusions about their own importance in the grand scheme of things. They see who there are – both good and bad – within the context of all of life. The humble person cannot be overlifted up because they are too perceptive. They understand the wonder of God, the vastness of the universe, the hugeness of the redemptive plan of God, and the sweep of history. You and I are just not that important. But praise be to God, He still loves us and chooses to use us.
This is the Hebrew word kobed which means great. This is what the haughty person wants. They want to be considered great, weighty, honorable, and well thought of; but they have chosen the wrong path to get there. They thought they could take a shortcut to being great or honorable. They thought that if they just proclaimed it enough themselves that others would think that they were great, but Solomon clearly tells us that is not the way to greatness. It is the way of humility that is the way to greatness.