Motives Matter to God
Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger – the staff in their hands is My wrath. I will send him against a godless nation; I will command him [to go] against a people destined for My rage, to take spoils, to plunder, and to trample them down like clay in the streets. But this is not what he [Assyria’s king] intends; this is not what he plans. It is his intent to destroy and to cut off many nations. For (rather) he [the Lord] says: Aren’t all my commanders kings? Isn’t Calno like Carchemish? Isn’t Hamath like Arpad? Isn’t Samaria like Damascus? As my hand seized the idolatrous kingdoms, whose idols exceeded those of Jerusalem and Samaria, and as I did to Samaria and its idols will I not also do to Jerusalem and its idols? But when the Lord finishes all His work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, [He will say,] “I will punish the king of Assyria for his arrogant acts and the proud look in his eyes.” For he [the king of Assyria] said: I have done [this] by my own strength and wisdom, for I am clever. I abolished the borders of nations and plundered their treasures; like a mighty warrior, I subjugated the inhabitants. My hand has reached out, as if into a nest, to seize the wealth of the nations. Like one gathering abandoned eggs, I gathered the whole earth. No wing fluttered; no beak opened or chirped. Does an ax exalt itself above the one who chops with it? Does a saw magnify itself above the one who saws with it? As if a staff could wave those who lift it! As if a rod could lift what isn’t wood! Therefore the Lord God of Hosts will inflict an emaciating disease on the well-fed of Assyria, and He will kindle a burning fire under its glory. Israel’s Light will become a fire, and it’s Holy One, a flame. In one day it will burn up Assyria’s thorns and thistles. He will completely destroy the glory of its forests and orchards as a sickness consumes a person. The remaining trees of its forest will be so few in number that a child could count them. Isaiah 10:5-19 (HCSB)
There may come times in your life when God will open the door for you to serve a key role for his greater purposes. You may called to instruct and redirect the hearts of others. However, be careful to remember you are but God’s ambassador, the authority behind the message rests with the author of the message. We often allow our egos to get caught up in our role to deliver the message and believe we had something to do with the life-changing response to our sharing the message.
Assyria was God’s ambassador to discipline the nations of Israel and Judah – His chosen children, but pride and arrogance got in the way. They needed a wakeup call from God. Assyria had been instructed to provide a dire message to Israel and Judah, not their annihilation and exile from the land! However, the pride, greed and arrogance of the Assyrian kings conflicted with their marching orders from God. They not only plundered, they also razed the kingdom of Israel from the lands that God provided to fulfill his promise to the people. The Assyrian army headed into Judah intent to exact the same harshness on the land of Judah until they laid siege against Jerusalem. Only there history and the Bible records they were turned away by God’s hand as he redirected his anger upon Assyria for their disobedience. Not long after, Assyria was crippled by disease and taken captive themselves by the Chaldeans and Medes (Neo-Babylonians).
When we eagerly seek to serve God, remember to stay near to him each step along the way. Invest in the guidance of God’s perfect will, not our selfish will; God’s pleasing ways, not our perverse ways; and, God’s infinite wisdom, not our finite wisdom. When we serve humbly and faithfully God blesses over-abundantly. However, should we attempt to take control and do things our way, God will intervene and detour our selfish efforts.
Even when our intentions appear to be good, are our intentions stirred by the right motives? We might fool ourselves and others, but never God. When we are engaged in God’s work, it is his name on the line, his reputation that matters.