“Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger—
the club in their hands is my fury!
Against a godless nation I send him,
and against the people of my wrath I command him,
to take spoil and seize plunder,
and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
But this is not what he intends,
nor does he have this in mind;
but it is in his heart to destroy,
and to cut off nations not a few.
For he says:
“Are not my commanders all kings?
Is not Calno like Carchemish?
Is not Hamath like Arpad?
Is not Samaria like Damascus?
As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols
whose images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria,
shall I not do to Jerusalem and her idols
what I have done to Samaria and her images?”
When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the arrogant boasting of the king of Assyria and his haughty pride. For he says:
“By the strength of my hand I have done it,
and by my wisdom, for I have understanding;
I have removed the boundaries of peoples,
and have plundered their treasures;
like a bull I have brought down those who sat on thrones.
My hand has found, like a nest,
the wealth of the peoples;
and as one gathers eggs that have been forsaken,
so I have gathered all the earth;
and there was none that moved a wing,
or opened its mouth, or chirped.”
Shall the ax vaunt itself over the one who wields it,
or the saw magnify itself against the one who handles it?
As if a rod should raise the one who lifts it up,
or as if a staff should lift the one who is not wood!
Therefore the Sovereign, the Lord of hosts,
will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors,
and under his glory a burning will be kindled,
like the burning of fire.
The light of Israel will become a fire,
and his Holy One a flame;
and it will burn and devour
his thorns and briers in one day.
The glory of his forest and his fruitful land
the Lord will destroy, both soul and body,
and it will be as when an invalid wastes away.
The remnant of the trees of his forest will be so few
that a child can write them down.” Isaiah 10.5-19 (NRSV)
About 5 years ago, I decided I was going to stop asking God to use me. It was not because I do not want to serve God. It was because God, in His wisdom and mercy saw fit to treat me not like a tool, but as His child. Many of the most famous Christians came to faith from this very realization, whether it be the Wesleyan movement churches who stem from one of John Wesley’s most quoted scriptures (Romans 8:15-17) or famous passages used for evangelism such as the Parable of the Prodigal. Both of these scriptures, and many others attest to the truth that God does not simply “use” us as tools in His work, but has given us the dignity and responsibilities to be co-laborers with Christ.
Isaiah reminds us that God does have people He uses as tools. These are people who do not neccessarily profess faith in Him, but whom God chooses to use and work through anyway. They have an attitude (at best) of “God, I’m going to live my life the way I want to and I pray that you will somehow miraculously use that to help you if possible.” and (at worst) “I don’t care about God one bit… I don’t even really believe in Him.” God can and will use these people to be glorified and to redeem our world, but they may not liek the end result. As Isaiah warns Assyria, this arrogance will be their downfall. Those who refuse to accept God as a child will be reduced to being used as a tool and then discarded once the work is done.
God invites us… God invites you, this Advent and Christmas season, to receive His love and become His child.
- Do you experience others using you?
- When have you experienced God working with you?
- Do you find yourself using others around you or working alongside them?
I give you my soul
I live for you alone