Week of Monday, April 12 ­– Sunday, April 18
Poison of Pride – Man as an Instructor

Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you.
—Ezekiel 28:17 ESV

It is easy to recognize the handiwork of Satan after the fact by observing the wickedness of the world around us. When you watch videos of violence in the streets, hear the horrors of human trafficking, or see the seismic impact of the opioid epidemic, you know the devil is at work in all that. It even makes you wonder how anyone could be drawn to him and deceived by him. But the wreckage Satan leaves in his wake looks a lot different than his first impressions. See, the devil doesn’t present himself as a malevolent monster with horns, tail, and a pitchfork. In fact, the verse here in Ezekiel tells us that he isn’t scary looking at all; he’s beautiful.

We are engaged in a spiritual battle, and it bears repeating how vital it is that we learn to recognize our enemy. Remember back in our devotional on Isaiah 14, we talked about how Sun Tsu in his Art of War famously urged: “Know your enemy,” and how that was no small task in the military. The same is true spiritually. In fact, the Apostle Paul reinforces that need, advising the Corinthian church of the susceptibility of being “outwitted by Satan” and the importance of not being “ignorant of his designs” (2 Cor. 2:11 ESV). The original Greek word translated “designs” can mean methods or schemes. Later, Paul warns them about false apostles who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ, adding: “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (11:14 ESV).

The bottom line is we shouldn’t make the mistake that we will be able to identify Satan easily. The old saying “appearances can be deceptive” applies here. In fact, Satan is described as beautiful and covered in jewels in Ezekiel 28:13. He was also a guardian angel, so he had been given some power and authority. However, don’t miss the fact that this description lets us know that he and his deceptions will often be appealing. If we want to identify Satan, we can’t trust our senses. We must trust the Spirit of God to help us detect “his designs,” and as Instructors, teach those in our charge to do the same.

What we can also trust is that, in the end, Satan will be exposed. God will have ultimate victory and those who live for Him will share in that victory. Those who live for anything or anyone else will share in Satan’s defeat. Ezekiel tells us that Satan’s great beauty was and is his downfall. He wanted to set up his own throne and make himself “like the Most High” (Isa. 14:15). In his pride, Satan wanted to share God’s glory and position. But no one can; it belongs to God alone. While Satan was expelled from God’s presence, he has not stopped spreading the poison of pride.

As Instructors, we need to point to his bad example and warn about the poison of pride. When pride takes root and spreads through our thoughts, words, and actions, it can result in us putting ourselves in the place of the Lord, believing that we should rule our own lives. This is no small problem. Prideful individuals might be admired and even look beautiful to the world around us, but pride always has a bad end. As we learn from the old King James Bible: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18 KJV). Consequently, we should not wait for that day but should invite God to expose it. We should repent of it and ask God to remove it. Ask Him to keep you and yours from the poison of pride.

  • Thank God for His Word and His Spirit to help you learn to recognize the presence of evil in your life. Ask Him to give you a heightened sense of awareness of the spiritual battle going on around you. Help your family understand this unseen but very real battle and the importance of putting on their spiritual armor (Eph. 6:10-18).
  • If Satan and pride look so appealing, then how can you avoid it? What steps can you take to detect and rid yourself of pride? What steps can you take to teach your family to do the same?
  • Pray that you would be able to identify and resist the subtle pull of pride in your thoughts, words, and actions this week.