When the Lord gives you rest from your pain, torment, and the hard labor you were forced to do, you will sing this song [of contempt] about the king of Babylon and say: How the oppressor has quieted down, and how the raging has become quiet! The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers. It struck the peoples in anger with unceasing blows. It subdued the nations in rage with relentless persecution. All the earth is calm and at rest; people shout with a ringing cry! Sheol below is eager to greet your coming. He stirs up the spirits of the departed for you – all the rulers of the earth. He makes all the kings of the nations rise from their thrones.” …Shining morning star, how you have fallen from the heavens! You destroyer of nations, you have been cut down to the ground. You said to yourself: “I will ascend to the heavens; I will set up my throne above the stars of God. I will sit on the mount of the [gods’] assembly, in the remotest parts of the North. I will ascend above the highest clouds; I will make myself like the Â Most High.” But you will be brought down… Isaiah 14:3-15 (HCSB)
Babylon was the home of the Chaldeans (Neo-Babylonians) and it became known for its beauty and grandeur; for its haughty rulers proclaiming their greatness. After they plundered Jerusalem and ransacked the temple and palace of the Jews, they felt superior to the God of the Jews as well. However, they failed to realize that they had accomplished the bidding of the Lord. Their arrogance and haughtiness would cause their own demise. The citizens of Jerusalem and Judah who were exiled to Babylonia were not subjects of the Babylonian kings for long. The Persian Empire rose up and captured Babylon while the Babylonians (Chaldeans) reveled and gloated over their plunder. They had become blinded by their own claims of greatness. They sang songs about how they were greater than the gods they conquered. However, this time they flaunted themselves not above man-made gods, but the one true God. God would not let their arrogance go unpunished and they were humbled by defeat and made captives themselves.
The Lord is a gracious and just God, but lessons had to be learned by even his own chosen people. Their belligerent ways and misguided self-serving attitudes were exposed. The Lord responded to them just as he did to all who believe they are without judgment and accountability for their actions. The Lord always humbles the prideful and arrogant and reminds them of their rightful place among all his people.
God inspired the message behind the Proverb that states: “Pride comes before destruction and an arrogant spirit before a fall.” Prov 16:18 (HCSB)
True greatness never needs to be flaunted. True champions and leaders honor God and are among the most humble of God’s chosen. They humbly acknowledge the source of their talents and gifts. In God’s kingdom, those with the greatest responsibility recognize that their authority derives from their greatest accountability before God himself. The message is clear: Be careful! Your arrogance and pride may blind you into believing you are great because of whom you are, rather than who you belong.
This Christmas season, it is appropriate for all of us to take a moment from our busy holiday schedule and humbly acknowledge the true reason for Christmas and the greatest gift of all – God within us.