I read a story once of a little boy that had made a bunch of paper boats and paper planes from some old newspapers he found in the basement of his house. And he was so proud of them, he brought them to his father and mother. Unfortunately, it was kind of damp in the basement, and so the newspapers smelled really bad as a result.
So his parents, much to the child’s dismay, quickly threw out the source of his pride. (They were nice enough, however, to give him some fresh paper to make some new planes and boats with).
In this passage, the people of Judah were proud and arrogant. They were proud of their “spiritual knowledge” in following the divination of the Philistines. They were proud of their prosperity, with all their gold and silver, as well as the horses and chariots in their army.
But Isaiah warned that the day would come when all the things they took pride in would come to nothing. And instead of walking in pride, they would be humbled and ashamed of everything they had done. He wrote,
Go into the rocks, hide in the ground from dread of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty! The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. The Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled), for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty, and all the oaks of Bashan, for all the towering mountains and all the high hills, for every lofty tower and every fortified wall, for every trading ship and every stately vessel. The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day, and the idols will totally disappear. (10-18)
In other words, like the child, many people will come before God proud of what they’ve accomplished, but when their accomplishments are revealed for the dirty, smelly rags that they are, everything they took pride in will become their shame. And so they will throw away the things that they were so proud of and flee from the Lord because they will be too ashamed to stand in his presence. Instead, they will hide in fear of his judgment. (19-21)
So Isaiah said,
Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he? (22)
What is Isaiah saying? Stop trusting in yourselves, your wisdom, and the things that you have accomplished. All you’ve done and all that you have are of no worth. They will pass away. Instead turn your eyes and your hearts toward God. Put your trust in him. He is the one we are to boast in, not ourselves.
In what do you put your pride? In what do you put your trust? May our pride and trust not be in ourselves, but in Jesus. For as Paul put it in quoting Isaiah,
Anyone who trusts in [Jesus] will never be put to shame. (Romans 10:11)