“By your messengers you have mocked the Lord,
and you have said, ‘With my many chariots
I have gone up the heights of the mountains,
to the far recesses of Lebanon;
I felled its tallest cedars,
its choicest cypresses;
I entered its farthest lodging place,
its most fruitful forest.
I dug wells
and drank foreign waters,
and I dried up with the sole of my foot
all the streams of Egypt.’
“Have you not heard
that I determined it long ago?
I planned from days of old
what now I bring to pass,
that you should turn fortified cities
into heaps of ruins,
while their inhabitants, shorn of strength,
are dismayed and confounded,
and have become like plants of the field
and like tender grass,
like grass on the housetops,
blighted before it is grown.” II Kings 19:23-26 ESV
For not in my bow do I trust,
nor can my sword save me.
But you have saved us from our foes
and have put to shame those who hate us.
In God we have boasted continually,
and we will give thanks to your name forever. Psalm 44:6-8 ESV
Jack was graduating from a very important university, and he was the first in his class, so he got to give the class speech. One of the things Jack did in his speech was to thank the people who had helped him get to this point in his life. He thanked the teachers he had had growing up, and his professors in the university. He thanked some special friends, and finally he thanked his mom and dad. He knew that they had planned long before that he should go to good schools and have all the help he needed to do well, and they had paid for his university education. Jack recognized that he hadn’t made his accomplishments alone. His parents and many other people had been behind him, helping him and giving him his chances.
Sennacherib wasn’t as wise as Jack was. He thought that all the things that the Assyrian empire had accomplished were the result of his own power and strength, and of the rulers that had come before him. God spoke through the prophet Isaiah to set things straight. When the Assyrian empire had conquered one nation after another, they were only doing what God had planned for them to do all along. It was God who had given him the power to climb the highest mountains of Lebanon and to cut down the cedars, and to dry up the streams of Egypt. It was only with the help of the Lord that he was able to conquer fortified cities all over the known world.
We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that we can do things on our own, and that it’s all our own cleverness or intelligence or strength that gives us our accomplishments. But this is never true. There are always other people who help us do any good thing we are able to do, and more importantly, it’s God who gives us our abilities and good health and the times and places we can use them. God deserves our thanks for any good things that comes to us in life, no matter how hard we’ve worked to make them happen. This is most true about the love and forgiveness God gives us every day. We could never do anything to earn or deserve it, but God forgives our sins of pride and all our other sins for Jesus’ sake. Jesus did everything to earn our place with God by dying on the cross and rising again for us. We thank God for his amazing love!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for everything we have, and everything we are. Help us to always be grateful for your gifts, and especially for our Savior, Jesus. In His Name, Amen