Human pride is an interesting phenomena. A person can be broken and humble one day, yet let a little success come their way, and suddenly they're boasting about how awesome they are!
As we noted before, the Assyrians were the instrument that God would use to discipline His people, Israel and Judah. However, in the process, the Assyrian King Sennacherib became arrogant and prideful, rather than remember that it was God who empowered him. (Did he know? I believe scripture confirms it, as his Chief of staff noted "'Go up against this land, and destroy it." Isaiah 36:10b)
The circumstances surrounding this prophetic word are found in 2 Kings 18 & 19, and Isaiah chapters 36-37, and we'll examine this event more closely then. Today we'll look at the prophecy and its application to us.
God, the only one who can search the heart of man, saw what was transpiring in the heart of King Sennacherib:
"For he says, 'Are not my princes altogether kings? Is not Calno like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad? Is not Samaria like Damascus? As my hand has found the kingdoms of the idols, whose carved images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria, as I have done to Samaria and her idols, shall I not do also to Jerusalem and her idols?'" (Isaiah 10:8-11)
In other words, King Sennacherib had been strengthened by God, yet his pride welled up and he began taking credit for the work God was doing through him. When His forces arrived at Jerusalem, the king sent his Chief of Staff Rebshakeh to boast:
"Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?'" 2 Kings 18:35
"Have I now come up without the Lord against this land to destroy it?" Isaiah 36:10a
This is a key point to remember for anyone who desires to be used by the Lord: It is God that equips, empowers, anoints, and appoints us for service!
I think back to Isaiah 6, where God asks "who will go for us?" God is always searching for willing men and women that will carry out the work of the ministry in His name… the important point to remember is it is done in HIS name!
How many people have been anointed and appointed by God to do great things for the kingdom, yet at some point they become enamored by their success, and begin taking credit for what God was doing?
See folks, God can use anyone or anything, but He chooses to allow us to be the conduit through which He works. But make no mistake, it is God's strength, wisdom, and power that makes things happen, not ours! Jesus said:
"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)
Taking credit for the work God does is like an axe taking credit for chopping down a tree:
Shall the ax boast itself against him who chops with it? Or shall the saw exalt itself against him who saws with it? As if a rod could wield itself against those who lift it up, or as if a staff could lift up, as if it were not wood! (Isaiah 10:15)
I remember back when presidential candidate Al Gore claimed he "invented the internet." Aside from how silly that claim was, how would you have felt if you had been on the team of people that actually did invent the internet? Yea... right Al!
I know that God isn't as petty as people are (thank goodness!), but there is a parallel to how God see's it when we take credit for what He has done through us.
Saints, don't be Sennacherib, and take credit for God's work. Let's be like Isaiah, saying "here I am Lord, send me…" and when He does, let's give God the credit for the great things He does through us.