30 When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger burned. 31 He sent messengers to Abimelech [x]deceitfully, saying, “Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his [y]relatives have come to Shechem; and behold, they are [z]stirring up the city against you. 32 Now therefore, arise by night, you and the people who are with you, and lie in wait in the field. 33 In the morning, as soon as the sun is up, you shall rise early and rush upon the city; and behold, when he and the people who are with him come out against you, you shall do to them [aa]whatever you can.”
34 So Abimelech and all the people who were with him arose by night and lay in wait against Shechem in four [ab]companies. 35 Now Gaal the son of Ebed went out and stood in the entrance of the city gate; and Abimelech and the people who were with him arose from the ambush. 36 When Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, “[ac]Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains.” But Zebul said to him, “You are seeing the shadow of the mountains as if they were men.” 37 Gaal spoke again and said, “Behold, people are coming down from the [ad]highest part of the land, and one [ae]company comes by the way of [af]the diviners’ [ag]oak.” 38 Then Zebul said to him, “Where is your [ah]boasting now with which you said, ‘Who is Abimelech that we should serve him?’ Is this not the people whom you despised? Go out now and fight with them!” 39 So Gaal went out before the leaders of Shechem and fought with Abimelech. 40 Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him; and many fell wounded up to the entrance of the gate. 41 Then Abimelech remained at Arumah, but Zebul drove out Gaal and his [ai]relatives so that they could not remain in Shechem.
Pride can get you into all sorts of trouble. Gaal thought that he could take over Shechem and defy Abimelech, and well he might have. But there’s a funny thing about pride, it makes you obnoxious, and people seem not to enjoy that very much.
It certainly riled up Zebul, so that when Abimelech came to fight Gaal, he sided with Abimelech (corrupt as he was), and Gaal ended up running away with his tail between his legs.
To be fair, Gaal got off easy, though we don’t know how things ended up for him yet, it could have been much worse. Solomon told us that pride goes before destruction, and death could easily have resulted from Gaal’s prideful spirit.
Pride is a difficult thing to wrangle, difficult to even distinguish sometimes from confidence. But often it’s defining attribute is that you think you are better than others, and care not what they think. Well, secretly you might care, but you’d dare not show it.
When you think you are better than anyone, look out! God will be sure to set the scales right, and you’re not going to like that much. Instead, guard yourself against pride, and when you see yourself acting pridefully, take it down a notch (or ten), humble yourself, and submit to God.