For the most part the word 'resist' is used today in a defensive mode as a reaction to unwanted words or deeds done by other people. But there is an offensive component (military style) to the word that is seldom seen, when one takes active opposition (not simple retribution) to another's actions. That is what is conveyed here, God opposes, goes on the offense, actively pushes away the proud. First on the list of seven abominations that God hates is "a proud look"---Prov. 6:16 & 17. God actively opposes the haughty, the presumptuous, those who believe that they will be in His "good graces" when death comes despite the fact that such men have ignored, cursed, ridiculed, and mocked Him all their life. They do now, and will at death attempt to deceive their Judge that their "good works" are sufficient reason to escape the eternal judgment of hell, which is their only interest. They have no heart or mind or stomach to offer praise and thanksgiving to their Creator, but only make demands upon Him to exonerate their sins without repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We find this active, military style offensive opposition to pride throughout the ministry of the Lord Jesus as He dealt harshly and straightforward with the proud Pharisees in His day. We also see this active opposition to Esau in Malachi 1:1-5 where God declares His hatred for Esau (1:3) and pronounced "indignation forever" against all of Edom, the descendants of Esau. Heb. 12:16 & 17 describes Esau as a "profane" or godless man who sought repentance for selling his birthright to Jacob but could not find it despite his tears. It should be noted that God's perfect hatred for Esau was due to election and not foreknowledge. Rom. 9:11 specifically states this in no uncertain terms. Continuing further to Rom. 9: 12-16 we find more evidence that election is God's method of choice in determining who is saved (loved) and who is lost (hated).
"...God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble, therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God..." 1 Peter 5:5 & 6. It is impossible for any man to achieve humility that is acceptable to God apart from the grace of God. We have all inherited a most vile and corrupt nature due to the first Adam's sin. An apt description of our nature received from Adam is found in Rom. 3:10-18 with the consequences of our depravity given in Rom. 3:19 & 20. Note that there is not the faintest hint or mention of humility in these verses. There is no stated requirement for a man to be humble in keeping the Mosaic Law, only unwavering obedience. But for a humbled man to "walk with God" is an entirely different matter. Micah 6:8 says: "He has shown you , O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." We may fancy ourselves to "do justly" and even to "love mercy," but the second we lay claim to any semblance of 'humility" that claim was born of pride and the supposed humility vanishes.
If this be the case how can anyone ever humble himself before God? We can not---apart from the grace of God. James 4:6 quotes the same verse but with the preface "But He gives more grace..." It is the momentary glimpse of the Savior that puts a man on his knees, his face in the dust, his heart crying for deliverance from this Holy, Holy, Holy God (Isa. 6:1-8; Job 42: 1-6; Luke 5:8 and the many accounts Paul gave of meeting the Lord on the road to Damascus). There are myriads of others who have met Him, had their sins exposed and His mercy received. Millions have been humbled by God via various means through the ages and billions more await that day in final judgment. But it is the elect few that receive His grace to not only be properly humbled in His sight, but to be made righteous before Him, washed in the blood of the crucified and risen Savior.
"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan