READING: Isaiah 13-17
“I will make myself like the Most High.”
When I first began studying spiritual warfare many years ago, I quickly accepted the idea that Isaiah 14:12ff represented the fall of Satan. After all, I thought, no mere human being would conclude about himself: “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 Most High” (Isa. 14:12-14). If no human being would think that way, then the text must primarily relate to the fall of an angel who rebelled against God and sought to take His throne. Little else made sense to me.
Now, after further decades of dealing with people, I think otherwise. While I still see Satan behind the king of Babylon whose kingdom this taunt addresses, I no longer assume that no human being thinks he can set up his throne above God’s throne. We may not use exactly the same language or images, but I have no doubt that some people elevate themselves to the point that they see themselves as their own god. Such is the nature of the combined wickedness of the human heart and demonic ambition: we convince ourselves that we know better than God does. Our own idolatry becomes apparent as we—like the king of Babylon— think, “I will make myself like the Most High.”
In the midst of the debates about the identification of the fallen one in Isaiah 14, it might be better to remember that the sin of the king of Babylon can be our sin, too. All of us are susceptible to unexplained and hard-to-believe arrogance.
- Have you ever been guilty of establishing your own kingdom, without regard for God? Are you doing that now?
- Be aware that our own kingdoms will fall someday.
PRAYER: “God, I know I’m susceptible to arrogance. Remind me today how much I need You.”