Thursday, April 3, 2014

365 Days with God - Day 104: What is a Powerful Man?

I'm giving myself a challenge. Read the Bible each day for a whole year, following the ESV Study Guide 1-year plan. Each day, I will post whatever God has revealed to me in His Word, and how it is changing me. A friend of mine once said that nothing has changed her life as much as reading the bible each day - and I'm excited for how this will change me. Join me on an adventure into the heart of God - and day by day, we can learn more about who He is and what that means to us!

- Andy Catts

Day 104, April 3, 2014
Readings: Psalm 104, Leviticus 11, Isaiah 9:8-21, Isaiah 10:1-34, 2 Corinthians 6:11-18, 2 Corinthians 7:1-16

Have you known an arrogant person? (I'm sure you have.) Someone who boasts in their powers and abilities? Someone who is convinced of their own strength, and has an attitude of unwavering dominion? They consider themselves above the rules and regulations because of their power or prowess?

There are many such as this. And their main downfall is not the power that they wield. No, the downfall is who they give credit to for that power. God uses the weak and powerful alike to reach His ends. God gives the power, and God takes it away. Are you willing to recognize that it is God who has given you everything you have?

When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes. For he (the king of Assyria) says:

"By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I have understanding;
I remove the boundaries of peoples,
and plunder their treasures;
like a bull I bring down those who sit on thrones.
My hand has found like a nest
the wealth of the peoples;
and as one gathers eggs that have been forsaken,
so I have gathered all the earth;
and there was none that moved a wing
or opened the mouth or chirped."

Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it,
or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it?
As if a rod should wield him who lifts it,
or as if a staff should life him who is not wood!
Therefore the Lord GOD of hosts
will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors,
and under his glory a burning will be kindled,
like the burning of a fire.  (Isaiah 10:12-16)

The imagery was so vivid for me, it nearly jumped off the page. Possibly because I just spent an entire day sawing down half a tree with a handsaw. But the idea that (if saws could speak) that it would boast of cutting down the tree! That it would say to me, who provided the strength of my arm, the height of my ladder, the will of my mind,  that it was powerful. That the saw had brought down the tree, all by itself.

But if I had not provided the power, the capability and the direction, the saw would have lain, useless and lifeless, in my tool shed. The tree would not have been cut. The supposed power of the saw over the tree would never have been realized, because the saw is nothing, it is lifeless, without someone to guide it, to power it.

And yet, to God, the king of Assyria, a mighty man who had felled many nations, was just as a saw is to us. Without God, he had no strength to plunder other nations, no reach to do so, and no mind to plan the battle strategy. He saw himself as the sole reason for his success. He chose to boast in himself, to simultaneously reject God and elevate himself to a position of godlike power.

And that never goes over well with God.

God declares through the prophet Isaiah that Assyria's glory will burn. That it will not last because of their boasting. Because God is the one who provides all power, all capability, all strength. To whom do you attribute your success? Your accomplishments? Your power?

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