2 Kings 14
Amaziah was another king of Judah who started out well, but ended poorly. It seems that pride was his downfall. After celebrating a huge military victory over Edom, Amaziah turned his sights on conquering Israel as well. So he sent Jehoash king of Israel an invitation to fight.
Jehoash’s response was clever: "One day a thistle in Lebanon sent word to a cedar in Lebanon, 'Give your daughter to my son in marriage.' But then a wild animal of Lebanon passed by and stepped on the thistle, crushing it. Just because you’ve defeated Edom in battle, you now think you’re a big shot. Go ahead and be proud, but stay home. Why press your luck? Why bring defeat on yourself and Judah?" (vs 9-10)
Unfortunately, Amaziah wouldn’t listen. He was so enamored with his success that he was determined to continue his winning streak. But that’s not what ended up happening. He went to war against Israel, and Israel won. Amaziah, who had started out with such promise, ended up seeing his kingdom looted, and he was eventually hunted down by his own people and killed.
Pride is such a dangerous thing. Because of that, God really works to root it out of our lives. He prefers humility, since humility includes concern for the wellbeing of others, along with a basic willingness to listen. When we get infected with pride, as Amaziah did, we have a much harder time listening to reason. And God is the One who invites us to reason (Isa 1:18).
Humility can be a hard thing to define. A lot of times, it seems like people have this idea that being humble must mean denying your gifts and talents or turning into a self-basher. But I like the definition I once heard that has stuck with me for a long time: Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself less.
So, if God detects pride in your life, He will most likely embark on a campaign to weed it out. Don’t be discouraged by that. Instead, thank Him, because He doesn’t want you to end up like Amaziah did!