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The “I Will’s” of Pride

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Lesson

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Main Point: God hates pride. Pride separates us from Him.

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Key Verse: In his pride the wicked does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. - Psalm 10:4 NIV

Props: A large piece of Play-doh

Background/Review

Say: Last week we learned about the awesome power of God by looking at the creation of the world. God simply spoke and formed the earth. For six days, He created by speaking different parts of the world into existence. On the sixth day, God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed the breath of life into him. Only God can create life. God made man in His image. The man and woman had a mind, emotions, and a will. They could think, feel, and make choices. God is good, and the things He made were a reflection of His goodness. God saw that what He had made was very good. We also learned that God created the world and everything in it to make His glory known. He gave us things we CAN see to show us the power and greatness that we CAN’T see. God wants people to know who He is so that we can worship Him. God deserves all praise and honor. Let’s take a minute to praise Him right now. Raise your hand if you know a word that describes God. When I call on you, say the word nice and loud so everyone can hear. Call on kids. If kids do not participate, declare His attributes yourself. Mighty, strong, all-knowing, all-powerful, good, kind, loving, holy, great, merciful. Say: Great! You have praised God by declaring His attributes. ONLY God deserves this praise.

At the time of creation, there was no pain, no sadness, and no death on the earth. But as we look at the world today, we know that things are no longer perfect. There are many wonderful things, but there are also terrible things such as sickness, war, violence, and death. Today we will learn what happened to cause these changes.

Lucifer

Say: Before God created the earth, He created angels (Job 38:7). The Hebrew word for angel is mal’ak, which means messenger. Angels are more powerful than people. (Hebrews 2:7). People do not become angels when they die, as some books and movies suggest. Angels are separate creatures from people. The Bible tells us that there are countless numbers of angels (Revelation 5:11). The angels served and obeyed God, and gave Him the worship He deserved (Psalm 103:20-21, Nehemiah 9:6). There are different types of angels, and they serve God in different ways. Angels are spirits, but at times they can be seen and heard (Genesis 19:1-2, Luke 1:11-13). Like man, God created angels with a mind, emotions, and a will; they are free to choose what they want to do (Isaiah 14:13-14, Revelation 12:7).

One of the angels was named Lucifer. Lucifer means light-bearer, shining one, or morning star. The Bible tells us Lucifer was a powerful angel. The Bible describes him this way:

You were the model of perfection. You were full of wisdom. You were perfect and beautiful.” - Ezekiel 28:11b

God had given Lucifer an important job:

I appointed you to be like a guardian cherub. I anointed you for that purpose. You were on My holy mountain. You walked among the gleaming jewels. Your conduct was without blame from the day you were created.” - Ezekiel 28:14-15a

The Bible tells us that Lucifer was a beautiful, smart, flawless creation of God. Again, we see that the creation is a reflection of the Creator.

Teacher: Call up a volunteer by asking for a student who feels he or she is artistic. Hand them a large piece of play-doh. Tell them they have 2 minutes to make a person out of the clay. Tell him or her to make it look as much like himself or herself as possible. When the volunteer is finished, show the group. Compliment the sculpture and point out any similarities to the student. (Example: “Wow, that’s great. It has two eyes, and short hair.”) Say: This sculpture is very nice, and I see that it is made in the image of (student’s name). But who is greater? (Susie) or the sculpture of her? (Susie) is! Ask: Why is (Susie) greater than her artwork? She created it. She has the power.

Say: Lucifer had wonderful qualities, but he did not even compare to the greatness of his Creator. God gave Lucifer a special job, and it would seem, even a place of honor. Because Lucifer was perfect and blameless, he could spend time in God’s presence. But, this beautiful cherub had the ability to think, feel, and choose what to do. Listen to what the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah say about him:

You thought you were so handsome that it made your heart proud. You thought you were so glorious that it spoiled your wisdom. - Ezekiel 28:17a

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You said in your heart,
I will ascend to heaven;
I will
raise my throne above the stars of God;
I will
sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.
I will
ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will
make myself like the Most High.” - Isaiah 14:13-14 NIV

Lucifer knew he was beautiful, powerful, and smart. His wonderful qualities caused him to become proud. He was no longer content with the gifts God had given him. He wanted more. He wanted a throne that would be higher than all the other angels. Being in God’s presence was no longer enough for him. Lucifer wanted to be as great as God! Five times, Lucifer said “I will” - “I will be lifted up; I will be like the Most High God.” Lucifer wanted to rob God of the praise that ONLY God deserves. There is a three-letter word for this heart attitude. Ask: Does anyone know the word? The word is SIN.

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Your conduct was without blame from the day you were created. But soon you began to sin. - Ezekiel 28:15

As far as we know, this is the first time any being ever chose to sin against God. Sin changed everything. The world was no longer perfect. Sin brought with it all the pain and suffering that we see around us today. (Next week we will look at man’s first sin.) Notice, the Bible says Lucifer said these things in his heart; they were his prideful thoughts. He didn’t even have to say them aloud for God to hear them. God is all-knowing (Psalm 147:5). He even knows the motive in every heart (1 Chronicles 28:9).

Listen to what the Bible says about those who want to be lifted up high:

Anyone who lifts himself up will be brought down. - Matthew 23:12a

God ALWAYS keeps His promises, and He will certainly bring Lucifer down.

Cast Out

Say: We have stated that God is perfect. Another way to describe God is holy (Leviticus 11:45). That means He is sacred, without any flaws, set apart, totally different. Because God is holy, He cannot tolerate sin in his presence. Because Lucifer chose to sin, God cast him out of heaven (Luke 10:18).

So I threw you down to the earth. - Ezekiel 28:17b

The Bible tells us that this prideful angel did not leave heaven quietly. In fact, many of the other angels sided with Lucifer and rebelled against God. About one-third of all the angels followed Lucifer. There was a battle between Lucifer’s angels and the rest of the angels. The archangel Michael led the fight against Lucifer. Of course, the rebellious angels were not strong enough, and they were thrown to the earth. (Revelation 12:3-9)

Ask: Who remembers what the name Lucifer means? Light-bearer, shining one, or morning star.

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Say: That name no longer described this fallen angel. Lucifer became known by other names. One name is the devil, which means slanderer or liar. The Bible says that the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44). Another name is Satan, which means adversary or enemy. Satan is God’s enemy. Since Satan could not become like God, he seeks to destroy everything that God loves (John 13:2, 1 Peter 5:8). Satan attempts to stop God’s plans (1 Thessalonians 2:18, Matthew 4). Satan lives to trap men in sin and darkness (Acts 26:18, Revelation 12:9). He does not want men to know God and have eternal life in heaven (Luke 8:12). This is the spiritual battle that Satan wages against mankind (Ephesians 6:12).

Satan and his angels, called demons, are on earth for a time. But God has a plan to destroy Satan, and God’s plans cannot be stopped (Hebrews 2:14, Job:42:2). Satan knows the time is coming when he and his demons will be cast into eternal punishment, called the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41, Revelation 12:12, 20:10). One day Satan will be forced to praise God’s Son, Jesus, and God WILL receive the glory He deserves (Philippians 2:10-11).

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Application: Hollywood loves to make scary, creepy movies about the devil and demons. We did not study this lesson today to scare anyone! God does not want His children to live in fear (Romans 8:15). God wants His children to live in truth (John 3:21). Hollywood movies are rarely based on what is TRUE. Movie makers would have us believe that Satan is as powerful as God and that Satan and God are constantly battling to gain ground on one another. That is NOT the case! Here is what is true: Satan is a powerful enemy. He is more powerful than man, but He is NO MATCH for God! Between God and Satan, there is no comparison. Ask: Who knows the opposite of hot? Cold. What is the opposite of large? Small. What is the opposite of God? (Kids will probably say Satan.) Say: That was a trick question! Satan is NOT the opposite of God. God has no opposite, because God is in a category ALL BY HIMSELF! God is on His own level which is FAR, FAR above Satan. Satan is more powerful than human beings on their own, but Christians are not left on their own! God’s Holy Spirit that lives inside of all Christians is greater than the devil (1 John 4:4), so believers do not to need live in fear.

Pride

Say: The Bible does tell Christians that we should be aware of Satan’s schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11), so we can recognize his work and stay far from it. Satan’s sin was pride. Throughout the Bible, we see that Satan tries to get as many people to follow in his pride as he can (Genesis 3:4, Luke 4:6-7). Pride changed the course of the world. Surely, it is worth our time to look into this thing called pride.

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Pride is thinking too highly of oneself. As was the case with Satan, pride always separates us from God. God hates pride (Proverbs 8:13) and He sets Himself against the proud (James 4:6). C. S. Lewis, author of the Narnia books, calls pride, “the complete anti-God state of mind.” This is a very accurate description. When we are prideful, we think we have all the answers and we cannot see our need for God. The Bible says, “In his pride the wicked does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” - Psalm 10:4 NIV

Scripture tells us that pride deceives us (Obadiah 1:3). Pride is a lie. It makes us think we are more than we are. God created us, every good thing we have comes from Him, and every good quality of ours is merely a faint reflection of His perfection. How, then, can we boast in ourselves? When we take credit for any of the good things God has given us, we are robbing God of the praise and worship He deserves.

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The opposite of pride is humility, or being humble. Pride separates us from God, but God draws near to those who are humble (2 Kings 22:19). To be humble is to have a correct view of oneself, and a correct view of God. Being humble is NOT thinking we are terrible, lowly creatures. The Bible says we are wonderfully made because God knit us together (Psalm 139:13-14). The Bible also says that God delights in His people and even sings over us (Zephaniah 3:17).

Application: How do we have (and keep) the right perspective? How do we view ourselves as wonderfully made by God, yet remain humble and far from pride? The Bible gives us the answer by pointing us to Jesus.

You should think in the same way Christ Jesus does. In his very nature He was God. But He did not think that being equal with God was something He should hold on to. Instead, He made Himself nothing. He took on the very nature of a servant. He was made in human form. He appeared as a man. He came down to the lowest level. He obeyed God completely, even though it led to his death. In fact, he died on a cross. So God lifted Him up to the highest place. He gave Him the name that is above every name. - Philippians 2:5-9

Jesus is our perfect example. Even though He DESERVED all praise and honor, He chose to set those things aside. In obedience to the Father, Jesus left the adoration of the angels to come to earth to serve mankind.

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Jesus was the picture of humility. Jesus knew the Father and He completely trusted the Father’s plan. Jesus remained in His Father - He spent time with His Father (John 10:15, John 12:50, Mark 1:35). To believe in, trust and remain with is called ABIDING. When we ABIDE in the Lord, we will have the correct view of Him, and of ourselves. When we ABIDE in the Lord, it is impossible to be proud.

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Main Point: God hates pride. Pride separates us from Him.

Note to Teacher: The Bible gives us another wonderful example of humility in Moses. Humanly speaking, Moses could certainly have been proud. He was raised as Pharaoh’s grandson, well educated, powerful in speech and action, and then hand-selected by God to lead His chosen people (Acts 7:21-22). Yet Numbers 12:3 says, “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” (NIV) The key was ABIDING in God! The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. - Exodus 33:11 NIV

Additional Note to Teacher: On using Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 as texts to study Satan

Both texts are written about earthly kings, yet both describe Satan’s pride and rebellion.

(1) Both texts begin as a taunt against a king of a nation which opposes both God and Israel. Isaiah 14 is a taunt against the king of Babylon (14:4); Ezekiel 28 is against the ruler or prince of Tyre (28:2).

(2) The taunt in both texts takes us beyond and behind the earthly king Satan, who stands behind them and whose character and work they exemplify. Some would dispute the claim that Satan is addressed in these two texts, but the descriptions in both go beyond that of a man and fit no one other than Satan. Who but Satan:

  • has fallen from heaven (Isaiah 14:12)?
  • can be called the “star of the morning” and “son of the dawn” (Isaiah 14:12)?
  • had the “seal of perfection” and was “full of wisdom and perfect in beauty,” in “Eden, the garden of God” (Ezekiel 28:12-13)?
  • was “blameless” when created (Ezekiel 28:15)?
  • was “the anointed cherub” (Ezekiel 28:14)?

(3) These texts indicate what we should already know--that Satan’s character and conduct are manifested in those over whom he has control. The Christian is to manifest the character and conduct of our Lord. The non-Christian likewise manifests the character and conduct of Satan (see John 8:39-44). The taunt therefore addresses the earthly king who opposes God and His people, and the “prince” who stands behind, prompting men to carry out his will.

A pair of bifocal glasses offers an analogy of these texts. Some bifocals have a very clear, distinct line between one lens and the other. Newer lenses often have no distinct line; one lens blends into the other. So it is with these texts in Isaiah and Ezekiel. One “lens” is the earthly king, who opposes God and His chosen people. The other is Satan, the ultimate enemy, the ultimate evil, standing behind, orchestrating opposition through his servants. The shift from one “lens” to the other is not a clear line but a blur. Looking through the center of the lens lets us see clearly who is intended. Isaiah 14:12-15 are addressed to Satan just as Ezekiel 28:12-15 are. The immediately surrounding verses are blurry, referring most likely to both men and Satan. We now can understand these two texts as referring to Satan’s creation, his fall, and his character.

Bob Deffinbaugh, Satan’s Part in God’s Perfect Plan ©1996-2006 Biblical Studies Press, reprinted with permission from

www.bible.org.

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