|Tree hit by lightning (Photo - RGB stock)|
TO CHEW ON: "Therefore thus says the Lord God: 'Because you have increased in height, and it set its top among the thick boughs, and its heart was lifted up in its height, therefore I will deliver it into the hand of the mighty one of the nations, and he shall shurely deal with it; I have driven it out for its wickedness.' " Ezekiel 31:10,11
The fault of the great tree in Ezekiel's prophecy was not that it was so magnificent and towered over all the other trees in the forest—but that its "heart was lifted up in its height" - Ezekiel 31:10.
This chapter is a prophetic warning to Egypt. In it, Ezekiel recalls magnificent Assyria, the great tree in our reading. Ezekiel says that just as God allowed Assyria to be cut down by "…aliens the most terrible of nations" (thought to be Babylon), so Egypt is on notice:
" 'To which of the trees in Eden will you then be likened in glory and greatness? Yet you shall be brought down with the trees of Eden to the depths of the earth …. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude,' says the Lord God" - Ezekiel 31:18.
I find this passage both a warning and a comfort.
It's a warning against pride—exalting oneself. And this is certainly not the only place in the Bible we are warned. We cautioned against pride by:
- The example of the angel Lucifer—the father of pride - Isaiah 14:13,14.
- The stories of those who were proud, like Pharaoh (Exodus 9:17); Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:16); Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32:25), Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:30) and Belshazzar (Daniel 5:23).
- The Bible's proverbs and wisdom - Proverbs 17:19; 25:6,7,27; 27:2.
- Jesus Himself - Matthew 23:12; Mark 9:33-36.
- Paul - Romans 12:3; 1 Corinthians 4:6; 2 Corinthians 10:5,17.
- Peter - 1 Peter 5:3.
- James - James 3:16; 4:10.
- John - 3 John 1:9
It's also a comfort to know that God has the kings and kingdoms of earth under His control (Proverbs 21:1). Any dynasty or regime can be toppled at His bidding (Isaiah 40:23; Ezekiel 17:20; 29:4).
PRAYER: Dear God, help me to be wary of the sin of pride in my life and of how foolish any self-exaltation is in the face of Your sovereignty. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.