If we were to name the number one sin that brings us to our knees it would be pride. Our pride driven by self-fulfillment, wanting to be what we want and do things our way, is our “Achilles heel”—our true weakness in our faith when it comes to loving and serving God with ALL our hearts, minds and souls. Our pride gets in our way of God’s way which is best. Our pride keeps us in a box of our own limitations while God is outside the box waiting to take us to new heights that are beyond our wildest dreams and imaginations.
Pride begins as soon as we are born. I remember as a toddler telling my mom or dad, “I can do this myself!” It didn’t matter what the task was before me, I wanted to do it all by myself no matter the mess I would make. Anger welled up if I was not allowed to do things on my own. As I matured from thinking like a child, I had to “unlearn” the childish notions from the world telling us that we need no help in rising to the top of success, such as, “Pull yourselves up from your own bootstraps”, (which is physically impossible).
It took a while, but I had to learn from God, that I needed Him most of all. God would then send other prideless people on my path that would mentor me in humility versus pride. I wanted to grow in the ways of God. So, I learned I really cannot do anything by myself except for one thing—I must decide to lay down my pride and walk humbly with God. I also discovered that apart from God, His Son, Jesus, and His Holy Spirit, I can do nothing. I am nothing of significance without Him!
Yes, nothing to see here friends, but humility before God asking Him what HE wants for my life. He is my rock, my salvation, and my best way of living life well. In a world of people who seek “balance” in life, peace of mind, and ways to work smarter not harder, pride must be laid to rest for God’s best work to be done in us. God will give humbled people all that we need to live a life with peace no matter what is happening around us in our world. “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” –Jesus (Matthew 6:33) I highly recommend reading ALL of Matthew 6 as Jesus teaches the characteristics opposite of pride.
“Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18 was written from experience. God’s people, (all of us) are pride-filled until we fall down before God and realize that God is God and we are not.
Isaiah foretells what happens to a pride-filled people who have turned away from God. Nothing to see here but destruction.
Isaiah posed almost a rhetorical question, “Who has brought this disaster on Tyre?” The Lord Almighty! Just as He purposed to destroy Egypt and Babylon, so He purposed to judge Tyre. Just as Assyria had destroyed the city of Babylon in 689 B.C., so Tyre and Sidon would be destroyed by a revived Babylon in 585–572 B.C.
The pride of Tyre was a sin that God could not ignore.
Isaiah 23, The Message
It Was All Numbers, Dead Numbers, Profit and Loss
23 1-4 Wail, ships of Tarshish,
your strong seaports all in ruins!
When the ships returned from Cyprus,
they saw the destruction.
Hold your tongue, you who live on the seacoast,
merchants of Sidon.
Your people sailed the deep seas,
buying and selling,
Making money on wheat from Shihor,
grown along the Nile—
multinational broker in grains!
Hang your head in shame, Sidon. The Sea speaks up,
the powerhouse of the ocean says,
“I’ve never had labor pains, never had a baby,
never reared children to adulthood,
Never gave life, never worked with life.
It was all numbers, dead numbers, profit and loss.”
5 When Egypt gets the report on Tyre,
what wailing! what wringing of hands!
Nothing Left Here to Be Proud Of
6-12 Visit Tarshish, you who live on the seacoast.
Take a good, long look and wail—yes, cry buckets of tears!
Is this the city you remember as energetic and alive,
bustling with activity, this historic old city,
Expanding throughout the globe,
buying and selling all over the world?
And who is behind the collapse of Tyre,
the Tyre that controlled the world markets?
Tyre’s merchants were the business tycoons.
Tyre’s traders called all the shots.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies ordered the crash
to show the sordid backside of pride
and puncture the inflated reputations.
Sail for home, O ships of Tarshish.
There are no docks left in this harbor.
God reached out to the sea and sea traders,
threw the sea kingdoms into turmoil.
God ordered the destruction
of the seacoast cities, the centers of commerce.
God said, “There’s nothing left here to be proud of,
bankrupt and bereft Sidon.
Do you want to make a new start in Cyprus?
Don’t count on it. Nothing there will work out for you either.”
13 Look at what happened to Babylon: There’s nothing left of it. Assyria turned it into a desert, into a refuge for wild dogs and stray cats. They brought in their big siege engines, tore down the buildings, and left nothing behind but rubble.
14 Wail, ships of Tarshish,
your strong seaports all in ruins!
* * *
15-16 For the next seventy years, a king’s lifetime, Tyre will be forgotten. At the end of the seventy years, Tyre will stage a comeback, but it will be the comeback of a worn-out whore, as in the song:
“Take a harp, circle the city,
Sing your old songs, your many old songs.
Maybe someone will remember.”
17-18 At the end of the seventy years, God will look in on Tyre. She’ll go back to her old whoring trade, selling herself to the highest bidder, doing anything with anyone—promiscuous with all the kingdoms of earth—for a fee. But everything she gets, all the money she takes in, will be turned over to God. It will not be put in banks. Her profits will be put to the use of God-Aware, God-Serving-People, providing plenty of food and the best of clothing.
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
Even before their eventual destruction, Tyre and Sidon would not be involved in business for seventy years. History reveals that the Assyrians restricted Phoenician trade from 700–630 B.C.; but when Assyria began to weaken in power, Tyre and Sidon revived their businesses. The prophet compared the revived city to an old prostitute who had to sing lovely songs in order to get attention. Once again proving that Isaiah is truly a prophet from God!
On our journey through Isaiah, we have learned three very important truths about God:
- God is in control. There is nothing on earth that escapes the notice of God.
- God hates the sin of pride.
- God judges the way nations treat each other.
When nations turn from the living God to trust their wealth and their armaments, God must show them that He is the only sure refuge.
Dear Friends, let us stay focused on God! No matter how frightening the national or international situation may become, God’s children can have peace, because they know Almighty God is on His throne. The nations may rage and plot against God, but it is comforting to know God knows. When the Lord of heaven and earth is your Father, and you gladly see the yoke of Jesus, you have nothing to fear. Nothing to see here but God at work in us!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
I believe. I accept your yoke and not my own yoke of pride. Help me to walk humbly with you today, seeking you first, in all I am, think, say or do.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen