I would say this chapter is more of the same, but we know that by now. All the prophets, “major” and “minor,” had one job: declare the truth to Israel from the Lord. We must always remember the context of Israel as a national entity is the covenant God made with them in the desert. That covenant pointed to and was an outgrowth of the “covenant of works,” as it is called in Reformed theology, God made with Adam in the garden. The people told Moses, “We will do everything the LORD has said,” and the Lord tells them what will happen if they disobey. We see the latter scenario played out in the prophets exactly as the Lord predicted to the people in the desert. The confidence of the people before Moses was misplaced to say the least; their confidence was in their ability to “pull it off.” Needless to say they couldn’t, nor can we.
Chapter 6 describes a complacent people in Zion who felt secure, specifically the rich who thought nothing would ever happen to them. They partied (“You drink wine by the bowlful”) as if nothing was wrong, and the Lord says to them, “You will be among the first to go into exile, your feasting and lounging will end.” And indeed it does.
In verse 8 the Lord declares, “I abhor the pride of jacob.” As we know, pride is the essence of Satan’s rebellion against God. Here is a definition of pride:
a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
What Israel did was abandon the true and living God for everything but him. They found their satisfaction, meaning, hope, purpose, you name it, in all their and any human achievement. This doesn’t mean pride rightly place in our achievements is wrong, but that pride which doesn’t include God as the source of all things is wrong. As Paul says, God gives all men life and breath and everything else. The “pride of Jacob” was the attempt by the Israelites to establish an existence apart from the ever present providence of God for all things.
If we are in proper alignment with God, then we can place everything in its proper perspective, the interrelationship of all things understood rightly. Augustine spoke of “rightly ordered love” that perfectly captures this concept:
But living a just and holy life requires one to be capable of an objective and impartial evaluation of things: to love things, that is to say, in the right order, so that you do not love what is not to be loved, or fail to love what is to be loved, or have a greater love for what should be loved less, or an equal love for things that should be loved less or more, or a lesser or greater love for things that should be loved equally.
The “pride of Jacob” completely distorts reality because it puts self at the center of existence, and not the one who rightly belongs there. Clearly the Israelites, and by extensive those who live their lives apart from the gospel, don’t understand what we read in Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”