Psalm 75: Lessons For Avoiding Pride in Your Walk with God

Introduction: Pride is a sin that most people at times struggle with. When you are in an argument, pride creates pressure to prove that you are correct. When you succeed at something, pride again creates pressure to take all the credit. But pride is an offensive sin to God. Here, the psalmist Asaph reveals seven lessons for avoiding pride in your walk with God. These include: (1) gratitude, (2) submission, (3) humility, (4) trust, (5) fearing God, (6) praise, and (7) hope.

First, before condemning the dangers of pride, Asaph gave thanks for God’s wondrous works. To avoid pride, God also wants you to be grateful for His blessings. Every good thing in your life comes from Him. Second, also before condemning the dangers of pride, Asaph declared God to be our sovereign and just judge. Pride creates pressure to believe that you are in control when God is in fact in control. To avoid pride, God also wants you to submit to His will. Third, Asaph then warned of the dangers of pride. To avoid pride, God wants you to be humble and avoid boasting about His gifts in your life. Fourth, Asaph then again declared God’s sovereignty in deciding who to promote and who would be demoted. To avoid pride, God wants you to place your trust in His plans for you. If He promotes or demotes you, it is part of His perfect plan. Fifth, Asaph then warned of the judgment that will ultimately come to the unsaved who embrace pride. Those people lack the fear of God in their lives. To avoid pride, God wants you to fear Him. The Bible defines this as hating what God calls evil and its consequences. Sixth, to keep his eyes off of himself, Asaph turned to God in praise and worship. To avoid pride, God also wants you to worship Him and sing His praises. Finally, Asaph concluded with the promise that God will lift up the righteous. To avoid pride, God also wants you to place your hope in Him.

1. Gratitude: To Avoid Pride, be Grateful For God’s Blessings. Ps. 75:1.

  • Asaph gave thanks for God’s wondrous works. As our example, Asaph began by giving thanks for all God’s wondrous works. “For the music director; set to Al-tashheth. A Psalm of Asaph, a Song. 1 We give thanks to You, God, we give thanks, for Your name is near; people declare Your wondrous works.” (Ps. 75:1). God is responsible for every good thing in your life: “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (Jam. 1:17). Pride causes you to believe that you are responsible for the good things in your life. Thus, to fight pride, make a habit of thanking God for everything.

  • In every circumstance, you can find a reason to be grateful. Our sinful nature causes us to focus on the negative. Yet, even in the worst of times, you have many reasons to thank God. David wrote some of his most profound statements of gratitude when people were trying to kill him: “A Psalm of David. I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders.” (Ps. 9:1). “That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving and declare all Your wonders.” (Ps. 26:7). “I will give thanks to You, Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name forever.” (Ps. 86:12). The Apostles also suffered greatly. But they learned to be grateful in all circumstances: “in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18). “always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;”  (Eph. 5:20). In your darkest times, do you stop and give God thanks?

  • Failing to thank God robs Him of the credit He is due. Moses warned the Jews to not assume that they were responsible for their blessings: “Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’” (Dt. 8:17). “Do not say in your heart when the LORD your God has driven them away from you, ‘Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to take possession of this land.’ Rather, it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is dispossessing them before you.” (Dt. 9:4). Pride creates pressure to take credit for God’s blessings. To fight that instinct, give God the credit for every blessing in your life.

2. Submission: To Avoid Pride, Submit to God’s Will. Ps. 75:2-3.

  • Asaph declared that God is both sovereign and a fair judge. Because pride causes most people to believe that they are the masters of their own destinies, Asaph reminded believers that God is the sovereign and just judge of all the Earth: “When I select an appointed time, it is I who judge fairly. The earth and all who inhabit it are unsteady; it is I who have firmly set its pillars. Selah”’ (Ps. 75:2-3). Pride also causes many to defend their honor in an argument. But God wants you to trust that He is in control of your life. He also wants you to be patient and submit while you wait for Him to act.

  • Leave vengeance to Jesus, and He will bring divine justice. When someone hurts you, pride creates pressure to fight back. But you must trust in Jesus to judge every situation. Thus, you can leave vengeance to Him:  “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”  (Ro. 12:19). He will one day right every wrong. He will also bring about divine justice for every evil act against you. But you must wait for His timing.

  • Submit to Jesus and trust that He is sovereign and in control. The Bible calls upon every believer to submit to God instead of living to glorify yourself. When you do that and resist the devil, he will flee: “Submit therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (Jam. 4:7). You can submit to Jesus and trust that He is in control because He is sovereign over all: “it is I who have firmly set its pillars.” (Ps. 75:3). “. . . for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and He set the world on them.” (1 Sam 2:8b). “It is He who changes the times and the periods; He removes kings and appoints kings; He gives wisdom to wise men, and knowledge to people of understanding.” (Dan. 2:21). Thus, when pride tempts you to fight others, submit to Jesus and place your trust in Him.

  • Jesus will one day reign with justice and righteousness. You can trust in Jesus to “judge fairly.” (Ps. 75:2). He will one day reign over all the Earth with righteousness. “And He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples fairly.” (Ps. 9:8). “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore.”  (Is. 9:6-7a). “A throne will even be established in lovingkindness, and a judge will sit on it in faithfulness in the tent of David; moreover, he will seek justice and be prompt in righteousness.”  (Is. 16:5). “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, ‘When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land.  In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The Lord our righteousness.”’ (Jer. 23:5-6). Thus, you can trust Jesus to right every wrong against you.

  • Submission includes waiting for God’s perfect timing. Most believers will profess to trust God to act on their behalf. But few are willing to wait for Him. As one pastor observes: “In His judgments God reserves the right to choose the proper time. We often feel that we know the proper time for God’s judgments, and we are often troubled because God does not seem to share our perspective. The believer should have a humble trust in the uprightness of God’s judgments and the proper time for them.” (David Guzik on Psalm 75).1 Will you patiently wait for God to act on your behalf?

3. Humility: To Avoid Pride, be Humble and Avoid Boasting. Ps. 75:4-5.

  • Asaph warned against boasting and pride. Asaph then made his central point. Believers should abstain from all forms of boasting and pride: “I said to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up the horn; do not lift up your horn on high, do not speak with insolent pride.’” (Ps. 75:4-5). When you elevate yourself, you are in effect telling God that you don’t need Him. And you rob Him of the glory He is due.

  • Boast in God’s strength and not in your own. Asaph warned: “Do not lift up the horn;” (Ps. 75:4). In the Bible, horns symbolize power, strength, and refuge  (Dt. 33:17; Ps. 18:2; 75:4-5, 10; 89:17; 92:10; Lk. 1:69; Lam. 2:3; 1 Kgs. 1:50; 2:28). “The concrete reality behind this metaphorical warning is the ram that, having subdued the other males in the herd, raises his horn in triumphant pride. The wealthy, strong, influential people who triumph over others are first warned not to boast, then warned not to act as though they deserve credit for the success they have enjoyed by God’s providence and mercy.” (James M. Hamilton Jr., Evangelical Bible Theology Commentary Psalms (Vol. II: Psalms 73-150) (Lexham Academic 2021) p. 28). Hannah provided a contrast to the prideful person who raises their metaphorical horns of pride. She instead prayed “my horn is exalted in the Lord . . .”  (1 Sam. 2:1). Instead of boasting about your own abilities, give God the credit and boast about how He has blessed you (Jam. 1:17).

  • Satan is the father of pride, jealousy, and deceit.  Pride is an inflated view of yourself. Pride can also cause you to covet power or prestige and rebel  (Isa. 1:23).  Satan was blessed with great beauty as one of God’s angels.  But his pride caused him to be jealous of and covet God’s power  (Is. 14:12-15).  Pride puts you in communion with the father of the world, not your Father in heaven:  “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”  (1 Jo. 2:16).  Jesus also reveals that pride is one of the sins that will defile a person: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.  All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”  (Mk. 7:21-23).  Pride caused Miriam to become defiled like a leper in God’s eyes  (Nu. 12:10; Dt. 24:9).  Like Miriam, King Uzziah also turned into a leper when, out of pride and coveting, he tried to take on the dual role of the King and High Priest, which God had separated  (2 Chron. 26:19-21).  You are to be an imitator of Christ, not Satan  (1 Thess. 1:6; 1 Cor. 11:1). Thus, Hannah prayed: “Do not go on boasting so very proudly, do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and with Him actions are weighed.” (1 Sam. 2:3). “For the wicked boasts of his soul’s desire, and the greedy person curses and shows disrespect to the LORD.” (Ps. 10:3). “They have closed their unfeeling hearts, with their mouths they speak proudly.” (Ps. 17:10). “Let the lying lips be speechless, which speak arrogantly against the righteous with pride and contempt.” (Ps. 31:18). “ . . . Why do you boast in evil, you mighty man? The faithfulness of God endures all day long.” (Ps. 52:1b). “They pour out words, they speak arrogantly; all who do injustice boast.” (Ps. 94:4).

  • Humble yourself and trust Jesus to exalt you in His timing. The Bible repeatedly promises: “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (Jam. 4:10). “A person’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.” (Prov. 29:23). “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12; Lk. 14:11; 18:14). “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time,” (1 Pet. 5:6). “The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility.” (Prov. 15:33). When pride swells inside yourself, repent and humble yourself.

  • Humility leads to the blessing of forgiveness. God also promises that if a nation humbles itself and seeks Him, He will bless it with forgiveness: “and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chr. 7:14). Are you praying for your nation to humble itself before God?

4. Trust: To Avoid Pride, Place Your Trust in God’s Plans. Ps. 75:6-7.

  • Asaph declared that it is God who decides who to exalt and who to put down. Pride stems from a self-centered belief that each person is in control over their own destiny: Thus, Asaph reminded believers that it is God who promotes and demotes people: “For not from the east, nor from the west, nor from the desert comes exaltation; but God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another.” (Ps. 75:6-7). “Empires rise and fall at his bidding. A dungeon here, and there a throne, his will assigns. Assyria yields to Babylon, and Babylon, to the Medes. Kings are but puppets in his hand; they serve his purpose when they rise and when they fall.” (Charles Spurgeon on Psalm 75).2 If you trust that God is in control, you don’t need to promote yourself or put others down to get ahead in life. God has a perfect plan for you. He knows if a promotion or wealth will lead to covetousness or independence from Him. If wealth will cause you to drift in your walk with Him, give thanks that He has a plan to protect you from yourself.

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Trust that God is in control and has a better plan for you3

  • Trust God to use His sovereign power for good. Asaph declared that God “puts down one and exalts another.” (Ps. 75:7). Hannah also proclaimed: “The LORD makes poor and rich; He humbles, He also exalts.” (1 Sam. 2:7). God is a judge who uses His power for good: “God is a righteous judge, and a God who shows indignation every day.” (Ps. 7:11). “And He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples fairly.” (Ps. 9:8). “And the heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is judge. Selah” (Ps. 50:6). “And people will say, ‘There certainly is a reward for the righteous; there certainly is a God who judges on the earth!”’ (Ps. 58:11). “Before the LORD, for He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in His faithfulness.” (Ps. 96:13). His eternal plan for you is better than any monetary plan you might have for yourself. Your physical belongings will disappear when you die: “He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.”’ (Job 1:21). God uses His sovereign power to instead focus on your eternal good: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Ro. 8:28). Even if you feel poor, will you trust that God has a plan for you?

  • Pride causes you to lean on your own understanding. Instead of relying on your own instincts to get ahead or put others down, trust in God’s plan for you: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5). When pride takes over and you try to make your own plans, you drift from God.

5. Fearing God: To Avoid Pride, Hate Evil and its Consequences. Ps. 75:8.

  • Asaph warned that it is God who will judge the prideful. For those who ignore God’s warnings about pride, Asaph warned that judgment awaits: “For a cup is in the hand of the Lord, and the wine foams; it is well mixed, and He pours out of this; certainly all the wicked of the earth must drain and drink its dregs.” (Ps. 75:8). Every person has a sinful nature. Thus, when you become prideful or boast, repent of your sins.

  • Fearing God in part comes from “hating” pride.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge  (Prov. 1:7; 9:10; Ps. 111:10).  The fear of the Lord is defined as “hating” evil, which includes pride:  “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverted mouth, I hate.”  (Prov. 8:13; Ps. 97:10).  If you have pride in yourself, ask Jesus to humble and cleanse your heart of this sin. 

  • Fear God by hating all forms of pride and boasting. Many people sadly cannot see the consequences of their sins. But the Bible warns that the unsaved who are filled with pride and boasting will face God’s ultimate judgment: “The boastful will not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do injustice.” (Ps. 5:5). “Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.” (Ps. 1:5). “May the nations be glad and sing for joy; for You will judge the peoples with fairness and guide the nations on the earth. Selah” (Ps. 67:4). “When the wicked sprouted up like grass and all who did injustice flourished, it was only that they might be destroyed forevermore.” (Ps. 92:7). “The LORD supports the afflicted; He brings the wicked down to the ground.” (Ps. 147:6). “But with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the humble of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.” (Is. 11:4).

  • Pride becomes a cup of wrath. Asaph referred to pride as “a cup is in the hand of the Lord,” (Ps. 74:8). Jeremiah used the same analogy: “For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to me: ‘Take this cup of the wine of wrath from My hand and give it to all the nations to whom I send you, to drink from it.”’ (Jer. 25:15). Those who consume pride will one day drink from God’s cup of wrath: “he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.” (Rev. 14:10). Thankfully, Jesus took the cup of wrath (Lk. 22:42). All you need to do is profess Him as Lord and repent of your sins (1 Jo. 1:9).

6. Praise: To Avoid Pride, Worship God and Sing His Praises. Ps. 75:9.

  • Asaph sang God’s praises and focused on His goodness. Because Asaph knew that he also had a sinful heart, he proclaimed that he would turn to God with songs of praise: “But as for me, I will declare it forever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.” (Ps. 75:9). Worship and praise help you to keep your eyes on God and not yourself.

  • In all circumstances, turn to God with praise and worship. Just as you always have a reason to be thankful, you always have a reason to give God praise and worship: “I will proclaim Your name to my brothers; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You.” (Ps. 22:22). “My foot stands on level ground; in the congregations I will bless the LORD.” (Ps. 26:12). “I will give thanks to You, Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name forever.” (Ps. 86:12). “May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in His works;” (Ps. 104:31). “With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the LORD; and I will praise Him in the midst of many.” (Ps. 109:30). “Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart, in the company of the upright and in the assembly.” (Ps. 111:1). In all circumstances, do you praise Jesus?

7. Hope: To Avoid Pride, Place Your Hope in God. Ps. 75:10.

  • Asaph placed his hope in God. Pride stems from a belief that you control your own life. But Asaph reminds believers to place their hope in God: “10 And He will cut off all the horns of the wicked, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.” (Ps. 75:10). “The righteous, people who have humbled themselves and put their faith in the LORD, can look back through time and see how God has held wickedness in check by His mighty acts, how He has frequently delivered His people, and how He has often reversed the situations of the arrogant and the humble. This not only builds their confidence for the future deliverance but provides them with enough reason for praise.” (Allen Ross, A Commentary of the Psalms: Volume 2 (42-89), Kregel Academic (2013) p. 612-13).

What Does Psalm 75:10 Mean?

Give thanks that God will one day uplift all those whom Jesus has made righteous4

  • Place your hope in God to provide for you and restore you. Instead of relying on yourself, put your hope in God: “He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the mud; and He set my feet on a rock, making my footsteps firm.” (Ps. 40:2). “And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.” (Ps. 39:7). “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and reliable and one which enters within the veil,” (Heb. 6:19). If you place your hope in Jesus, pride will have no place in your life.