Pride a deadly sin, says Jeff Crook
by Emily Grooms
CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMCNews) – Jeff Crook, Senior Pastor of Blackshear Place Baptist Church, challenged students to search their hearts for sinful pride.
"Careless moments can result in tragedy," Crook said during Truett-McConnell College's Jan. 31 chapel service.
With a sermon titled "It Only Takes a Moment," Crook preached from 1 Chron. 21.1-30 in a look at King David's life after his victory in Gath.
Having recovered from his moral failure with Bathsheba, David's life was going well, Crook said. "Everything was good in his life, but he became careless."
"The sin of pride raised its head in David's life and everything came crashing down," Crook noted. "We must guard our moments."
Crook cited a foolish moment in David's life: He took a census -- an act typically led by God, with pure motives -- and allowed his own pride to be the source of his counting: "So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, 'Go and count Israel from Beer-sheba to Dan and bring a report to me so I can know their number'" (vs. 2).
"All sins are against God," Crook said. "The sin David committed was the sin of pride. I wonder if anyone in this room would get honest enough to admit they struggle with pride."
Quoting C. S. Lewis, Crook likened pride to a spiritual cancer. "As long as you are proud, you cannot know God," he said. "It blinds you."
Crook noted David's prosperity. "This caused him to get distracted and he took his eyes off God." His attitude was not God-centered, as it was when he fought Goliath, Crook added.
After David's victory, Crook read from the text: "Satan stood up against Israel and incited David to count the people of Israel" (v.1).
"We don't always recognize the enemy when things are going great," Crook said. "If you're not careful, even in the midst of great victories, you won't be looking for the enemy."
After this great victory, David wanted to know how large and awesome his army was, and he sent Joab to count his army.
Crook noted the boldness of Joab's response: "He didn't want to do it. He tried to tell his king, 'This is not right; this will bring judgment on us.'"
"We all need people in our lives like this," Crook advised. "We need truth tellers."
David refused to listen, Crook said. "David had a problem that some of us may struggle with: we don't listen to wise counsel."
Warning students of Satan's cunningness, Crook claimed, "We are not ignorant of Satan's ability to get in our minds and direct our thoughts. If you don't listen to wise counsel you are going to crash and burn."
He then recognized the worst moment in David's life: "So the Lord sent a plague on Israel, and 70,000 Israelite men died"(vs. 14).
David was aware of his foolishness, Crook stated: "David said to God, 'I have sinned greatly because I have done this thing. Now, please take away your servant's guilt, for I've been very foolish'" (vs. 8).
"If you are a child of God, when you violate God's Word, you will be attacked by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit," he said. "God forgives, but there are still consequences to face."
In verse 10, we see David faced with the choice of consequence Crook said:
"Go and say to David, 'This is what the Lord says: take your choice: three years of famine, or three years of devastation by your foes with the sword of your enemy overtaking you, or three days of the sword of the Lord – a plague on the land, the angel of the Lord bringing destruction to the whole territory of Israel."
"What would it be like if we could get a glimpse of the aftermath of our sin?" Crook asked. "Don't you think it would change things?"
Crook used the 70,000 casualties as a reminder that no one sins in isolation. "When we sin, it makes waves. Think about the 70,000 families who were affected by the loss of their loved ones."
David got the picture, Crook noted. "God used this man's worst moment to point him back to Himself."
"Often times, when we find ourselves in a pit, we want to get out," Crook said. "But has it ever occurred to you that God has a ministry in the pit?"
Noting David's last moment, Crook said it was "unforgettable:" "When David looked up and saw the Angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, with his drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem, David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell down with their faces to the ground" (vs. 16).
"God honored this prayer that David and the elders would pray. He told the judgment angel to stop," Crook said. "We can short-circuit God's judgment when we get serious about confession."
Immediately after the judgment ceased, David obeyed; he did not delay in building an altar for the Lord, Crook noted. "It's amazing how obedient someone becomes after suffering sin's terrible consequences."
Crook closed by encouraging students not to minimize their sin and to confront their pride. "Deal with it and don't allow Satan to have any foothold into your heart."
Emily Grooms is a Truett-McConnell senior English major and a freelance writer for the college.