This is very similar to the saying that “Pride” (2087) commeth before the fall”. A similar verse in Proverbs:
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
There are two words translated “pride” in Proverbs. This one means presumptuousness and insolence. The other is 1342-7b, and comes from a root meaning to rise up. Our American culture runs into conflict here. We teach human dignity. We believe in the worth of the individual. We see the ideal we seek in Peter standing up to the Jewish authority when he was told to stop preaching. We see it in David starring boldly back at Goliath. Of course we see it in Jesus so many times. We are told we are important to God. That gives us a feeling of worth but like so many other gifts from God, it is easily polluted.
Pride is never used in a positive way in Proverbs. It always is used of people who have lost their focus on God as the source and are looking at what they have done as reflections on themselves. They develop a feeling of being “holier that thou.” It causes us to forget that God is the source of our strength, talent and blessings.
Contrasting pride we find humility. We are to be “lowly" (humble NASB) (6794a) before man and God. The characteristics of humility and wisdom are often the same. We are told to put others before ourselves, and not get proud about it. One of my favorite verses that teaches that is:
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself;
Sometimes a humble person needs to stand tall because it is necessary. This is not pride, it is trust and obedience. We are facing times when we will be required to stand up and be strong. As I write a California judge has declared a constitutional amendment unconstitutional. A simple statement, approved by the proper constitutional process and millions of Californians, stating a traditional definition of marriage was declared unconstitutional by one judge. The long term goal is to silence the voice of witness of God’s people. When we stand up we will be accused of being proud and arrogant. In humility we must refuse to sit down.