In Chapter 2 of Isaiah, there is one primary theme that is consistent throughout: pride.
As Christians I believe we all think, to some extent, that we have a good understanding of pride and how dangerous it can be– however, I hope to shed a different light on the matter.
So let’s go back to square one: what is the definition of pride? According to the dictionary, pride is a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements. The Biblical definition of pride becomes more outward. In other words, the question is not just whether or not we have pride, but rather how the pride we have affects others. Both of these are accurate, however, I give you another definition: we become prideful when we exalt anything above God, including ourselves.
With this I ask, what are you exalting in your life?
Let me give a personal example of something that I have a tendency to exalt in my life: people. I know that this seems contradictory to our mission as Christians, but I promise to explain. I value the relationships in my life more than anything else, but if I am not careful, I fall into a place where I value my relationships with others more than my relationship with God. This results in neglecting my personal time with Him, and exhausting myself because I am pouring out more than what I am allowing God to pour in. This then causes me to fall into a resentful mindset within those relationships because I am not in a place spiritually to really be present and intentional with them. I absolutely HATE reaching this point, and this is only one of many examples which is why it is imperative that we recognize these areas in our lives.
There are five verses that hold the theme of pride in Isaiah 2:
Their land is filled with idols; they worship their handiwork, what their own fingers have made. (Isaiah 2:8)
People’s proud gazing will be stopped, and humanity’s arrogance bought down…(Isaiah 2:11)
The Lord of heavenly forces has planned a day: against all that is prideful and haughty…(Isaiah 2:12)
People’s pride will be brought down and human arrogance humiliated. (Isaiah 2:17)
Quit admiring the human race, who breathe through their nostrils. Why should they be admired? (Isaiah 2:22)
This chapter brings us this repeated theme with the demand that this prideful mentality will be “brought down,” (Isaiah 2: 9, 11, 17) and only then will the “Lord be exalted on that day.” This is why pride is so dangerous!
If we exalt our money, then how can the Lord be our provision?
If we exalt our time, then how can God become our eternity?
If we exalt the people in our lives, be it a spouse or a best friend, then how are we allowing God to be our Father?
The list could go on. However, I encourage you to look at every single part of your life (relationships, goals, etc.) and ask yourself if it is taking a place in your life above God. Then, I challenge you to do something about it.
I leave you with one last thing. In the beginning of Isaiah 2, we are given an image:
In the days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house will be the highest of the mountains. It will be lifted above the hills; peoples will stream to it. Many nations will go and say, “Come, let’s go up to the Lord’s mountain, to the house of Jacob’s God so that he may teach us his ways and we may walk in God’s paths.” (Isaiah 2: 2-3a)
Can you imagine?
Can you imagine a world in which entire nations turn to the Lord, not only to exalt Him as the highest power, but to recognize him as the teacher and provider of their path?
You see, the importance of exalting God is not that we may personally have a wonderful relationship with God and a beautiful path to follow in his guidance, although that is a major bonus don’t get me wrong. Rather, when we do this we become an example so that others may do the same. We become the catalyst for the Kingdom to grow through the hearts of God’s people….
So I ask one more time: what are you exalting in your life?