Proverbs 18:12, Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.
The word "before" is used twice in this proverb and it is used in the same way one would say the food on the table is before you.
It is before your face. You see it because it is before you.
It is not used in the sense of one thing or one event coming before another.
It is not used in the sense of order, one thing following another as in cause and effect.
So the message of this first phrase is that a haughty heart continues to be haughty in spite of the fact that destruction is before the haughty heart.
It means that the haughty heart looks destruction in the face and continues to be haughty.
Destruction or the threat of destruction does not change the proud heart.
Destruction knocking on the door of the haughty will not change the heart.
In the same manner the Proverb of the 16th chapter, 18th verse which says that:
"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall",
This proverb also does not talk about the order of things but it talks about the boldness of pride in the face of destruction or the boldness of a haughty spirit in the face of a fall.
The haughty spirit may be faced with destruction, it may be faced with a fall and yet it marches toward those destinations with full stride and full power.
That is a picture of the slavery of pride!
God despises haughtiness. This is what he thinks of it. In:
2 Samuel 22:28, we read, And the afflicted people thou wilt save: but thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down. And in:
Isaiah 10:33, we read, Behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror: and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled.
Almighty God has degreed that the haughty shall be humbled! They will be brought down.
There is no doubt about it. The haughty, those who are lifted up shall be made low.
This proverb tells us that although the threat of destruction or a fall will not stop the march of the haughty heart, God will allow destruction to take place, he will allow a fall to take place so that humility can do its work.
Haughtiness always measures self above others.
It has a contempt for others. It is lofty and arrogant. It is pride mingled with contempt.
Haughtiness uses the wrong standard to measure itself, it uses the wrong yardstick.
Haughtiness refuses to recognize that the standard is God and not man.
That is the fatal error of haughtiness.
Haughtiness refers primarily to the attitude of one's heart.
Haughtiness is an imagination of the heart.
What the heart imagines it to be, the heart convinces that person he is.
Haughtiness is simply a deceit of the heart.
In the Greek it is sometimes translated from a word meaning "to wrap in smoke."
It emphasizes the plight of the one who has been blinded by personal pride.
Haughtiness is rebellion against God because it attributes to self the honor and glory due to God alone.
It covets God's glory.
Haughty persons do not think it necessary to ask forgiveness because they do not admit their sin or their sinful condition.
They are above such thoughts applying to them.
This attitude toward God is duplicated in the haughty person's attitude toward others.
The haughty have a low estimate of the ability and worth of others and therefore treat them with either contempt or cruelty.
Haughtiness refuses to recognize the image of God in others.
So the message of this first phrase is that a haughty heart continues to be haughty in spite of the fact that destruction may be eminent.
But as in so many of the proverbs God tells us a truth in the second phrase that is similar in construction but it pertains to the righteous. He says: and before honour is humility.
Again we are given a statement about position, not order of things.
We see honor being given. Who is standing before honor?
This verse tells us that whoever it is, it is someone who is humble in the presence of honor.
This is the way God operates. In God's economy honor is not given to the proud or to the haughty but honor is only given to the humble.
We don't do it that way. We honor the proud, We honor the lofty, the one with high self esteem.
But when God honors, only humility will be there to receive it, there will be no space found for the proud.
For we know from 1 Peter 5:5-7, that, God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
And note that last phrase.
Humility is connected with not holding on to your care.
Pride and haughtiness holds on to care because pride says I'd rather deal with it myself.
Independence of God equals pride and arrogance and haughtiness and eventual destruction.
But dependence on God, as Jesus was totally dependent on the Father, equals humility and eventual honor.