The LORD sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.
The command to be humble and cast off pride is repeated to us throughout all of Scripture. Why do you think God chose to communicate this message to us so persistently?
I think God clearly expects us to be humble Christ-followers, and He is given the most glory through truly humble servants. He desires us to be humble so much that he not only clearly states it throughout his written Word, but he also includes it as an essential quality in fulfilling other expectations He lays out for us. (For example, submission requires humility.) He also knows when, where, and how often we will be tempted to become prideful or let pride motivate us toward sinful acts, and something tells me he knew we would need firm reminders!
The other reason that came to mind was that God wanted us to know that there are severe consequences for pride and rich rewards for humility, and does not desire us to experience the consequences. As if He has not given us enough grace, He pours more on us by clearly and consistently spelling out these consequences, and He even lures us towards righteousness by promising rewards.
Let’s consider a list of consequences God grants to the prideful:
Rebuke from God (Psalm 119:21)
God’s Curse (Psalm 119:21)
Lostness (Psalm 119:21)
Distance from God (Psalm 138:6)
Mocking from God (Proverbs 3:34)
Hatred from God (Proverbs 8:13)
Disgrace (Proverbs 11:2)
Destruction (Proverbs 16:18)
A Fall (Proverbs 16:18)
Plunder (Proverbs 16:19)
Downfall (Proverbs 18:12)
Lowness (Proverbs 29:23)
Woe (Isaiah 5:21)
Now consider the rewards for humility:
Sustainment (Psalm 147:6)
God’s Attention (Psalm 138:6)
The Crown of Salvation (Psalm 149:4)
Grace (Proverbs 3:34)
Wisdom (Proverbs 11:2)
Honor (Proverbs 18:12, 22:4 & 29:23)
Wealth (Proverbs 22:4)
Life (Proverbs 22:4)
Guidance (Proverbs 25:9)
Teaching of Right and Wrong (Proverbs 25:9)
Esteem (Isaiah 66:2)
Greatness in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:4)
Exaltation (Matthew 23:12, Luke 14:11)
Lifting Up (Luke 1:52)
When I worked as a crisis counselor for at-risk youth, one of the most effective ways I was able to encourage a child to make the right decision was to make lists similar to the two above. On one list, we would write out the consequences of the first choice, and next to it we would list the consequences of the other. No matter the difficulty of the choice, nine times out of ten the child would choose the choice with positive consequences and follow through with it after leaving my office. Though they had struggled to make the right decision on their own, seeing the clear consequences of each choice made the decision much easier for them.
We are the children of a perfectly wise, clear, and consistent Father. If you have ever taken a class on parenting or child development, you know that even the secular world recognizes the value of clear expectations and consistency in parenting efforts. Our Heavenly Father desires us to make right choices, and He clearly and consistently communicates the benefits of obedience in contrast to the consequences of disobedience. Pride and humility are just one example of this truth.
Whether listing out the rewards and consequences in this way helps you understand the message more clearly, or you prefer to study the concepts in other ways, I hope you are able to see that God desires us to recognize right from wrong, and He has provided clear answers within Scripture to guide us in the way we should go.
Can you think of other concepts in Scripture that could be contrasted in this way?