If there is one thing that the Bible constantly warns us against, it’s pride. And here, God condemns the Assyrians because of theirs. The Assyrians had become a mighty people, and they started conquering the nations and peoples around them. What they didn’t know was that they were merely a tool that God was using to bring judgment on these nations.
God told them,
“I send him against a godless nation, I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets.” (6)
But in their pride, the Assyrians boasted of all the nations they had conquered, saying,
By the strength of my hand I have done this, and by my wisdom, because I have understanding, I removed the boundaries of the nations, I plundered their treasures; like a mighty one I subdued their kings. (13)
But God responded,
Does the ax raise itself above him who swings it, or a saw boast against him who uses it? (15)
Then God gets really sarcastic.
As if a rod were to wield him who lifts it up, or a club brandish him who is not wood! (15)
And so God passed judgment, saying,
Therefore, the Lord, the Lord Almighty, will send a wasting disease upon his sturdy warriors; under his pomp a fire will be kindled like a blazing flame. (16)
That would later happen during the reign of Hezekiah (Isaiah 37:36-37)
What can we learn from this? So many times, we take pride in what we can do, and what we have done. This is true as we’re out in the world. It’s also true within the church. But the thing we need to remember is that we are the tool, not the master. Everything we have comes from him, so what are we boasting about. Paul puts it this way,
For who makes you different from anyone else? (God). What do you have that you did not receive? (Nothing). And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? (Shrug). (I Corinthians 4:7)
So as we serve in the church and as we go out and accomplish things in this world, let us remember where everything comes from. Where our gifts, talents, and abilities come from. Where our blessings come from. And let us not live simply for ourselves, but for God, with hearts that are humble and grateful to him.