Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place.
The idea is something like this: If Job can sit as a judge over what God does, he ought to be able to take God's judgment-seat and execute justice among men. But can he do this? Can he humiliate the proud? If he is incapable of this act of justice, how small a creature he is before the great God who raises up and casts down!
I. THE HUMILIATION OF THE PROUD IS GREATLY NEEDED, This particular act of justice is singled out as though it were pre-eminent in importance. It is important on many accounts.
1. For the sake of the proud. Pride is ruinous to the heart in which it has taken up its abode, eating up the better feelings and preparing for the incoming of other sins. The only hope for a proud man is that he should be brought low, and so emptied of self.
2. For the sake of others. The proud spirit is domineering. Pride is at the root of tyranny. If men are to have their rights, the pride of the exalted must be brought down.
3. For God's sake. Pride is an insult to God, a usurpation of the Divine rights and honours. Before God man is small, weak, sinful. His only titling condition is one of humility and complete self-abasement in the sight of Heaven.
II. THE HUMILIATION OF THE PROUD IS MOST DIFFICULT TO ACCOMPLISH, Can Job do this? It is not to be supposed that he can. Pride is doubly strong.
1. In its own character. It is of the nature of pride to induce self-confidence. Even while the world is pointing the finger of scorn at the proud man, he wraps himself in the mantle of his own self-importance, and despises contempt. Here is a great difference between pride and vanity, for vanity is easily cast down, because it lives on the admiration of the world, while pride is self-contained, and may be most intense when it is least honoured.
2. In its circumstances. There are poor and unfortunate proud men. But, as a rule, success and power are the temptations to pride. Thus the proud man is entrenched behind his good fortune, and he uses all the means that prosperity has given him to defend his position.
III. THE HUMILIATION OF THE PROUD IS BROUGHT ABOUT BY GOD. This is most decidedly a Divine work. It is beyond the reach of Job or of any man. God humbles pride:
1. By his power. The proud man is helpless before his Maker. His resources are as poverty itself, and all his self-importance is but childish pretence. God lifts up the lowly, and sets down the mighty with a word.
2. In his justice. Man's pride is not attacked simply because God is jealous of it, but because it is an evil thing. An insult to God, an injury to man, it needs to be cast out in order that a right spirit of humility and obedience may take the place of it.
3. For the sake of his love. God humbles the proud man because he loves him. The abasement is not a vindictive act, but a merciful preparation for salvation. The goodness of God leads him to cast down all pretence and self-importance, so that he may raise up a new and more stable structure of solid merit in place of these empty shows. The proud but useless forest is cleared that the precious grain of wheat may be sown in its place. God cuts down man's pride to make room for Christ's grace. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place.