Passage: Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it, or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it? As if a rod should wield him who lifts it, or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood! Therefore the Lord God 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 the forest and of His fruitful land the Lord will destroy, both soul and body, and it will be as when a sick man wastes away. The remnant of the trees of His forest will be so few that a child can write them down.
Journal: God is using Assyria to punish His people for their outright disobedience. The Assyrian empire stretched through Syria and into northern Israel, and even took control of Babylon around 729 B.C. Because of conquest and power, Assyria was full of itself. It was a picture of man becoming enthralled with man, with no room for a living and powerful God. The essence of pride is the failure to acknowledge God.
However, the boast of man eventually amounts to nothing. And so it was with Assyria when, a few short years later, it would fall to Babylon without much of a struggle. God's judgment often seems delayed and hesitant in our eyes but, in reality, His judgment is swift and sure and is according to His perfect time line. ("The glory of the forest and of His fruitful land the Lord will destroy, both soul and body, and it will be as when a sick man wastes away.") For every conqueror, there is another conqueror. Assyria ultimately fell to Babylon, and then Babylon ultimately fell to Persia. And on and on it goes. Man becomes full of himself, and then judgment comes in an instant.
Yet often, as we pursue our daily struggles, it seems at times that evil reigns and has no consequences. It is because of this that our sanctification requires a requisite amount of patience. This patience looks to God alone and trusts a sovereign God to pursue His will for His glory. At times His pursuit will include the rebellious as His axe, His saw, His rod and His staff. ("Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it, or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it? As if a rod should wield him who lifts it, or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood!") Likewise, we are to be thankful that He has set aside His children, His remnant, as part of that glorious pursuit. ("The remnant of the trees of His forest will be so few that a child can write them down.")
Heard 'Round the House:
I have season tickets to Texas Tech football games. This may seem crazy, and it probably is, since we live about 5-6 hours away from Lubbock, Texas and since there are usually about 6 home games (yes, we always drive). However, I use the 2 tickets as a get away and take a kid with me for some one on one time (my wonderful and understanding wife also usually goes to one game during the season). My kids look forward to it and it is interesting how they like different aspects of football weekend. This week is the Colorado game and it is Anna's (age 7) turn to go. She if very excited, and received this sage wisdom from Song (age 9), who went a couple of weeks ago to the Iowa State game.
Anna: Daddy, who do we play on Saturday?
Anna: What is their name, you know, their animal or whatever?
Daddy: They are the Buffaloes.
Song: Is it the Buffalo Bills?
Daddy: No. That is a pro team.
Song: I thought we played them.
Daddy: That was the Cowboys that played Buffalo, not Tech.
Song: Anna! You better hope that Tech is winning. You do not want Tech to be losing. Daddy gets really mad when Tech is losing.
Daddy: Song, we won like 42-17 when you went. We were never losing.
Song: I know, but if Tech did bad on certain plays, you got really mad. Anna, you better hope Tech is winning.
Anna: Daddy, will Tech be winning?