Monday, January 07, 2013

God is the Ultimate cause

I have been spending some time in the book of Isaiah and have rejoiced many times over the clarity of God's Word in its instruction of who He is and what He does.

In Isaiah 8, we find God's prophetic words of judgment on Assyria who was sent by God to punish Israel:
“Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of My anger, in whose hand is the club of My wrath! I send him against a godless nation,
I dispatch him against a people who anger Me,
to seize loot and snatch plunder,
and to trample them down like mud in the streets.
But this is not what he intends,
this is not what he has in mind;
his purpose is to destroy to put an end to many nations.
When the Lord has finished all His work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, He will say, “I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes.
For he says: “‘By the strength of my hand I have done this,
 and by my wisdom, because I have understanding.
I removed the boundaries of nations, I plundered their treasures;
like a mighty one I subdued their kings.
As one reaches into a nest, so my hand reached for the wealth of the nations;
as men gather abandoned eggs, so I gathered all the countries;
not one flapped a wing, or opened its mouth to chirp.’”
 Does the ax raise itself above him who swings it,
 or the saw boast against him who uses it?
As if a rod were to wield him who lifts it up,
 or a club brandish him who is not wood!

The King of Assyria was no different than any other person God has ever created. In this passage he is compared to a tool or weapon in the hands of its user. God calls him a rod and club in His hand.  God was the one causing the king of Assyria to come against the nation of Israel and to destroy her.  But we are told that God was going to punish the king for this act because he did not fear God, but instead trusted in his own army and strength.

We may boast within ourselves at all we are able to accomplish and all the choices we believe we are freely making, but like the Assyrians, we are just an ax, a rod or a club that is being swung by the Sovereign Almighty God.  And like the Assyrian king, although our actions are ultimately caused by Him, it is our sinful pride and reliance on our own strength that earns us our destruction if we do not repent and seek to obey His commands.  Do not be deceived, your life is not your own, you were created for God's purposes.  May you not be like the king of Assyria and may you not be judged eternally for exalting yourself above God.
One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? ~Romans 9: 19-21
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”  As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and does not do it, sins. ~James 4:13-17


  1. YES! We have been studying Romans in church and that passage, in particular. Then in a book I was reading last night called The Explicit Gospel (Matt Chandler), he brought up the James passage, too.


    I am so thankful for the grace of God that delivers me from death!

    Love to you, Heather!

  2. Hello dear Stacy,
    I find those passages very humbling. I'm very glad you and your church are studying these passages also. They teach much ignored and neglected doctrinal truths.
    Love to you as well!


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