There’s an old saying that goes, “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” In other words, God gives His people skills. He takes individuals who are nothing and makes them something in order to use them for His purposes. But what happens when those same people start to think that because of the gifts God has given them, they are somehow better than others? They start imagining that they, themselves, deserve the glory and praise? That’s exactly what happened to the king of Assyria in Isaiah 10. And, sadly enough, that’s exactly what happened to me. It was but for a moment and only in my heart, but it was enough to move God to correction. These are cautionary tales for all of us who are tools in the hands of God
Israel is Judged By God
In the year 732 BC, Isaiah prophesied judgement against both Israel and Judah for their idolatry, injustice, and harsh treatment of the poor and needy. The purpose of judgement on God’s people is always a chastening to bring about repentance. If the people turn back to God, He will forgive them. If they don’t, more judgements will come. At this time, God’s people simply would not yield to Him. “For the people do not turn to Him who strikes them, nor do they seek the Lord of hosts. Therefore the Lord will cut off head and tail from Israel, palm branch and bulrush in one day” (Isaiah 9:13-14).
So God sent the nation of Assyria to chasten His people. God called their king the “the rod of Mine anger.” He gave the nation the permission, skill, and strength to carry away captives and take spoil of all their goods. Of course, the Pagan king had no idea that he was just a tool in the hands of God. He thought he was doing it on his own. He said, “By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am prudent; also I have removed the boundaries of the people, and have robbed their treasuries; so I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man.”
Assyria Was Just a Tool in the Hands of God
But Assyria had no power apart from the abilities God gave it. Through the prophet Isaiah, God makes the point that Assyria was nothing but a tool. It was the One who wielded the tool who deserves the glory. “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).
God didn’t take the Assyrian king’s words lightly. He judged that nation swiftly for their own sins. The angel of the Lord smote 185,000 of the Assyrian army in one night. So few were left that “a child may write (count) them.” That was the day that the remnant of Israel turned back to following the Lord.
My Own Experience With Correction
My calling as a blogger has come with skills. I am also a tool the Lord wields. I write the messages He has for the people He sends to read them. My first 22 blogs were erratically timed, coming every 4-10 days. That was back when I still thought the blog was my own. But I soon realized where my inspiration was actually coming from and fell into a schedule. For the next 76 weeks in a row, I would pray for God to give me a message, listen, write the blog, and publish each Sunday after church.
Recently, I felt like God was talking to me about growing my blog. Right after that, someone complimented me on my consistency in never missing a week. I was humble on the outside, but something inside me – deeper than even the part of me that puts things into words – gushed with pride. “Oh, how disciplined and steadfast I am!” was the thought of my heart. That was about the time of blog 99. That’s when the Lord started moving my publishing schedule.
Now He wasn’t giving me the thoughts for me to write and publish every week on Sunday. Instead, I could only publish every 8-9 days for the next five blogs. I was agitated. (Hello, Lord? We have a schedule!) But I was adapting. This week, though, I was at day ten without even hearing a message from the Lord, much less writing or publishing. I felt every bit the hammer on a shelf. Without the Lord’s mighty swing, I was nothing and no benefit to anyone. Finally, on day eleven, He showed me my pride. This, of course, gave me the message for this blog.
Think about your own calling and the times when you are complimented for a job well done. Do you remember to give God the glory even in your heart of hearts? As children of God, we are all just tools in the mighty hands of God. We have gifts that match our calling and strengths for the job He has given us to do. Without Him, we are nothing. We must always remember that.
Try these other articles of warning: Beware: Backsliding is Easier Than You Think or Worship God and Him Alone: A Cautionary Tale. Please sign up to receive my blog in your email in-box. You can find that at the upper right of your screen (or at the bottom on a phone). Also, check out my YouTube Channel where I read the blogs out loud. I also have a playlist of hymns from my church.