Ezekiel 32:1-32 Pride Comes Before a Fall
Pride runs on the fuel of comparison.
““Son of man, lament for Pharaoh king of Egypt and say to him: You compare yourself to a lion of the nations, but you are like a monster in the seas. You thrash about in your rivers, churn up the waters with your feet, and muddy the rivers.”” (Ezekiel 32:2, HCSB)
Difference between pride and confidence
Pride versus Confidence
There is a major difference between pride and confidence: PRIDE: -Pride stops learning because of feelings of “I got it” “I’m better than this” ”I’ve heard it before” -Pride puts blame elsewhere vs How can I get better -Pride creates mediocrity -Pride focus’s on our needs vs needs of others -Pride is the enemy of true confidence, Pride = False Confidence What is True Confidence? -Belief that you can do something -Strong in your identity–someone that really knows who they are -Someone that is honest with themselves, they know their strengths and weaknesses -Experience creates confidence— a history of successes -Confidence is real–there are true reasons supporting a persons confidence -Confidence is about understanding and mastering fundamentals The more we humble ourselves the more He can lift us up What areas do we need to push pride out and replace it with real confidence1
Pride which says “I did” always leads to God’s “I will.”
“This is what the Lord God says: I will spread My net over you with an assembly of many peoples, and they will haul you up in My net.” (Ezekiel 32:3, HCSB)
“When I make the land of Egypt a desolation, so that it is emptied of everything in it, when I strike down all who live there, then they will know that I am Yahweh.” (Ezekiel 32:15, HCSB)
This reminds me the five “I will”s in Isaiah.
“You said to yourself: “I will ascend to the heavens; I will set up my throne above the stars of God. I will sit on the mount of the gods’ assembly, in the remotest parts of the North. I will ascend above the highest clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”” (Isaiah 14:13–14, HCSB)
Pride sets itself up in opposition to God. Pride is the doorway to idolatry.
This applies on the personal level. God shares a list of consequences which happen when we take credit for everything in our lives. When we take God out of the equation, He will take us out of the solution.
This applies on the national level as well. In Egypt’s case, national pride lead to all kinds of consequences for the nation. As a result of their pride, they were completely demolished. Their national pride took a beating against other nations.
National greatness does not guarantee permanence. When a nation is so filled with vaunting pride and prevailing vice that she ignores the moral principles which are written into the structure of the universe, national decay has begun. If we allow pride to overleap our sound judgment, the end is not far away.
All the military genius in the world plus superior economic planning cannot be substituted for humble trust in God. Those who are full with this world’s goods can soon be emptied. Both nations and individuals who are wise will seek the wealth that does not pass away. Purity of life and integrity of character serve as a basis for stability and give true meaning to life. Those who leave God out will, in the end, all be alike—unmourned by their equally ungodly friends and separated from God in eternity as they were in the days of their flesh.2
Pride leads to death.
““This is a lament that will be chanted; the women of the nations will chant it. They will chant it over Egypt and all its hordes.” This is the declaration of the Lord God.” (Ezekiel 32:16, HCSB)
This lament has an unusual perspective in that it is spoken almost entirely predictively in the first person by God Himself, much in the manner of a judgment sentence or curse prediction. Most laments speak about and/or to the subject but not so strongly from the divine voice, and they are more retrospective. Nevertheless, the four lament elements are present: direct address to the (future) dead; eulogy of the dead (mainly v. 2 here); call to mourning (v. 16, prose conclusion); and evaluation of the loss to the survivors (vv. 9–10 especially).3
Pride is the playground of the devil. He uses people and inflates them with pride to oppose God. One of the elements you see in this description of Egypt is the idea of what I would like to call a “prophetic” element of “death by pride.”
You have heard of “death by chocolate” or “death by poison.” Here we have a nation’s death by pride prophesied.
“When I snuff you out, I will cover the heavens and darken their stars. I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give its light. I will darken all the shining lights in the heavens over you, and will bring darkness on your land. This is the declaration of the Lord God.” (Ezekiel 32:7–8, HCSB)
“The earth quakes before them; the sky shakes. The sun and moon grow dark, and the stars cease their shining.” (Joel 2:10, HCSB)
“For the Lord of Hosts says this: “Once more, in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.” (Haggai 2:6, HCSB)
““Immediately after the tribulation of those days: The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the celestial powers will be shaken.” (Matthew 24:29, HCSB)
“The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day was without light, and the night as well.” (Revelation 8:12, HCSB)
Pride which lives by power dies by that same power.
THE PARABLE OF SHEOL
This is a parable about the nations which have gone before Egypt. Every nation thought that they could be powerful, by force. Each has since gone away.
This seventh oracle depicts the nation’s descent into the Underworld. Many other nations are already there to greet Egypt, echoing the scene from Isa 14:9–15. The image of the Descent to the Underworld was used previously for Tyre (26:20) and Egypt (31:16). The description of each nation languishing in Sheol is highly formulaic and repetitive. Each nation shares the same fate. While they may have been powerful and feared on earth, they all must bear the shame of their defeat and descent into death. Egypt’s fate will be just like theirs.4
The key to understanding this parable is the word “the sword.”
“They will fall among those slain by the sword. A sword is appointed! They drag her and all her hordes away.” (Ezekiel 32:20, HCSB)
“Then Jesus told him, “Put your sword back in its place because all who take up a sword will perish by a sword.” (Matthew 26:52, HCSB)
The point of journey down the memory lane of nations is that military might, which is a form of national pride, does not bring about the change in pride which we need. If we try to change people by force, we can easily be taken by force. I can try to “puff” myself up, and force people to follow me (whether I am a national leader, a pastor, a father, or any other leader), but it does not work.
This also has a personal application. How many swords do we draw in conflict with one another?
“What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from the cravings that are at war within you?” (James 4:1, HCSB)
The solution to conflict is grace and love, which can only come from God. God will resist the proud, but He will help the humble.
“But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6, HCSB)
A second question which can up when one read this text is this: Is this a description of hell?
Francis Chan writes in his book, Erasing Hell:
Ezekiel 32:17–32 is by far the longest description of the existence of the wicked after they die, but it’s a rather ambiguous passage, preventing us from coming to any firm conclusions about the nature of hell. In the passage, Ezekiel seems to make a distinction between sheol (vv. 21, 27) and what he calls “the nether world” (v. 18, cf. v. 24 NASB), where the wicked go when they die. Here, the wicked are arranged according to nationality (vv. 22, 24, 26, 29), where they receive their punishment for what they did while alive. Moreover, it seems that though they are not fully alive, they are fully conscious of what’s going on. The wicked receive punishment (v. 27), feel shame (v. 30), and are even “comforted” at the arrival of more inhabitants in this “netherworld” (v. 31). “Misery loves company” seems to be the point here.
Despite what seems to be a detailed description of hell, the genre of the passage prevents us from taking all of these descriptions in a literal manner. At best, we can say that God revealed to Ezekiel that the wicked would receive some sort of punishment after they die. Beyond this, caution must rule our interpretation.5
Pride is an indicator of my refusal to accept God’s presence in my life
“Pharaoh will see them and be comforted over all his hordes— Pharaoh and all his army, slain by the sword. This is the declaration of the Lord God. For I will spread My terror in the land of the living, so Pharaoh and all his hordes will be laid to rest among the uncircumcised, with those slain by the sword.” This is the declaration of the Lord God.” (Ezekiel 32:31–32, HCSB)
This is a sobering prophecy indeed for it told Pharaoh he would end up in hell itself with the other great empires in history that were once thought to be invincible. The sin that brought them down was singular: pride.
How do you know if you’re moving in the arena of pride? The first manifestation is prayerlessness. You won’t pray. You’ll think you can raise your kids, handle your career, and run your life all by yourself. Jesus, however, said, “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Prayerlessness is one key indicator of a life that is lived in pride.
The second manifestation of pride is thanklessness. You’ll resent worship, devotions, and thanking the Lord. If you’re not acknowledging the fact that everything good in your life is yours not by your own effort but by God’s grace (James 1:17), you’re headed for a fall. Thank the Lord constantly and walk in humility—that’s the way to avoid the perilous path of pride.6
This seventh oracle depicts the nation’s descent into the Underworld. Many other nations are already there to greet Egypt, echoing the scene from Isa 14:9–15. The image of the Descent to the Underworld was used previously for Tyre (26:20) and Egypt (31:16). The description of each nation languishing in Sheol is highly formulaic and repetitive. Each nation shares the same fate. While they may have been powerful and feared on earth, they all must bear the shame of their defeat and descent into death. Egypt’s fate will be just like theirs, providing a small measure of consolation for Pharaoh (see v. 31).7
2 Franklin H. Paschall and Herschel H. Hobbs, eds., The Teacher’s Bible Commentary (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1972), 513–514.
3 Douglas Stuart and Lloyd J. Ogilvie, Ezekiel, vol. 20, The Preacher’s Commentary Series (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1989), 288.
4 John D. Barry, Michael R. Grigoni, et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012), Eze 32:17–32.
5 Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle, Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity, and the Things We’ve Made Up (Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2011).
6 Jon Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: Volume Two: Psalms-Malachi (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2006), 665–666.
7 John D. Barry, Michael R. Grigoni, et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012), Eze 32:17–32.