12” 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. 13 For he 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. 14 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.” 15 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 lift him who is not wood! 16 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 fire. 17 The light of Israel will become a fire, and his Holy One a flame, and it will burn and devour his thorns and briers in one day. 18 The glory of his forest and of his fruitful land the Lord will destroy, both soul and body, and it will be as when a sick man wastes away. 19 The remnant of the trees of his forest will be so few that a child can write them down.”
Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” The writer of this proverb set forth the fundamental principle that self-exaltation, arrogance and conceit precedes one’s destruction, collapse and breaking. Additionally, a haughty spirit, or an exalted view of oneself, comes before personal stumbling and calamity.
The principle set forth in Proverbs 16:18 is personified and exemplified in Isaiah 10:12-19. The Nation of Assyria was a powerful nation who attacked and conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C. However, instead of recognizing that they were God’s instrument of judgment, they became filled with pride and arrogance.
Isaiah 10:12-19 is God’s oracle that whatever power a nation may possess, it is the LORD who is the source of that power. He not only gives power to a nation, but He also removes power, according to His sovereign purpose and plan. When a nation fails, or forgets, to acknowledge or remember this truth, God will humble that nation.
Consider what Daniel the Prophet prayed in Daniel 2:20-23. “20 Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. 21 He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; 22 he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. 23 To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”
Observe what King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon wrote in light of his own humiliation by God. “34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; 35all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:34-35)
Several of the United States’ founding documents, such as the Mayflower Compact, colonial constitutions and even The Declaration of Independence, acknowledge their existence by and the providence of Almighty God. Sadly, those important truths have been all but forgotten today by the majority of American, and the world’s, citizens.
Again, recalling the words of King Nebuchadnezzar, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.”
Let us never forget this humbling truth.
Soli deo Gloria!