Isaiah 14:12-15 God Gives Us Perspective

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Isaiah 14:13 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven;

above the stars of God I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly

Isaiah 14:14 in the far reaches of the north;* I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;

Isaiah 14:15 I will make myself like the Most High.’
But you are brought down to Sheol,
to the far reaches of the pit.


Editors Note: We will return to the book of Genesis tomorrow, but I believe it’s important to briefly discuss this section first since it gives some background to Satan and his temptation in our lives.

The book of Isaiah is a prophecy that includes judgment on many nations that had chosen to disobey God, or attack the Jewish people. This specific passage (Isaiah 14) is written as a “taunting song” (14:4–11, 14:12–21) directed towards the King of Babylon.

I don’t think this king literally believed he could go to Heaven and become God, but believed that he had complete control over his life [1]. So he expected to take the place of God (the one who has control) much like Satan told Eve she would become like God (Genesis 3:5) by deciding what was right or wrong.

This is slightly different from having free-will since in that situation God still makes the rules [2]. Here the king decides he will be the one who makes the rules.

Another issue in this passage is HOW the king decides he is going to do all of these things. The word “ascend” emphasizes climbing a ladder or mountain in a persons own strength.

So basically the king is saying here, “I will become the one who makes the rules in my own strength!” However instead of climbing up to the position of God we see this king brought down to Sheol (14:16) [3].

This passage teaches us a foundational truth about Scripture

  1. There is one God
  2. And you’re not him

Throughout the Bible those who tried to take the place of God (control) ended up facing terrifying judgments. The Lord doesn’t do this because He enjoys seeing us suffer, but because we make very poor substitutes for God.

Think for a moment about how the stress and drama of our lives overwhelm us from time to time, and then imagine yourself bearing the burdens of everyone in the whole world. If your anything like me you have enough trouble caring for your own problems!

Within each one of us is a Sin Nature (Romans 3:23). I will get into this more next week, but basically it’s a constant idea that we can do a better job of being God than God.  This is why God brings moments into our lives that give “perspective.” [4].

Another reason why people view this passage as important is it gives us a portrait of Satan’s rebellion against God [5].

For those of you who may not understand the Biblical view of Satan here is the main idea.

  1. He was created as an Angel of God
  2. Scripture states that he was one of the most powerful angels (possibly the most powerful)
  3. At some point Satan gathered other Angels with him, and they tried to overthrow God
  4. They were defeated and cast out of Heaven
  5. Since that time Satan has tried to keep people from obeying the Lord
  6. The Angels cast out with him became demons

Satan the moment he was cast out of Heaven began telling individuals that God was being dishonest or unfair (Genesis 3:4) because we are indeed proper replacements for him (Genesis 3:5).

Now of course none of us will have the arrogance of this king or Satan who proclaimed “I will be like God!” But we all “ascend” don’t we?

Ascending is about relying upon my own strength or wisdom instead of God’s. And when the Lord calls me to rely upon Him responds, “oh it’s okay God I got this.”

  1. It’s refusing to ask for help when everyone knows your struggling
  2. It’s refusing to confess our sins or rebellion
  3. It’s looking for something (anything) to find our purpose in other than God
  4. It’s covering up that weak or sinful part of our lives so nobody can see it

With every step God in love pleads with us to stop because He doesn’t want to judge us.

But eventually He must bring us down so that we can be reminded of our brokenness.

Yet there is hope in that…

It isn’t my job to take care of all the problems
It isn’t my job to meet all of the needs
It isn’t my job to make decisions
My job is just to obey God

Because there is only one God…and I’m not Him

  1. The Prophet ridicules the pride of the Babylonian monarch, who, relying on his greatness, ventured to promise to himself uninterrupted success, as if he had the power of determining the events of his life.  ↩
  2. he decides what actions deserve consequences, and what those consequences will be  ↩
  3. this can refer to Hell, but I believe the author here is referring to death.  ↩
  4. reminding us we are poor God substitutes  ↩
  5. the rebellion of this king is a portrait of Satan’s rebellion  ↩

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