God likens Assyria in her greatness to a TALL tree. TIMBER; she falls at His hand. Egypt will do no less. Her grandeur doesn’t even come close to Assyria’s.
God gives this prophecy to Ezekiel for Pharoah, king of Egypt, but He spends most of the time talking about Assyria. He does this so that Egypt will clearly understand His sovereignty. Assyria couldn’t stand against Him. What makes Egypt think they could survive?
Assyria and Egypt had the same sins; pride and arrogance. God says that He strengthened Assyria so she could reach her height. He made her beautiful. More beautiful and powerful than all the nations around her. He likens her reign and reach to the bows of a tree where all the nations ‘take shelter’. Even the ‘trees of Eden’ were jealous of her beauty and stature. But, like the story of Icarus, she ‘grew’ too close to the sun.
Assyria began to believe her greatness was achieved on her own. ‘Look what I have built!’ So, the time had come to lay the axe to the tree. TIMBER! And what a fall it was. All those who trusted in her fell too. Her ‘branches’ lay scattered and broken. Scavengers picked at her as she lay on the forest floor, helpless to rise again.
God said that this is the fate of ALL the ‘trees’ that stretch to the sky. All those that are prideful and push their way past the clouds. Even the trees of Eden that attempt this, suffer the same result. They are cut down.
Egypt will be joining the ranks of the fallen trees. She too is raising her head, thumping her chest, and saying ‘Look what I have done’. Yes. Look what they have done. They have chased after every conceivable false god. They have proclaimed that their leader has godlike qualities. They even bow to him as a god. They believed themselves superior to ALL their neighbors.
If God didn’t spare the nations HE made great, what makes you think he wouldn’t take down others that sinned against Him? Assyria tried to BE God. Israel and Judah turned away from God. And Pharoah is trying to be God too. She WILL have the axe laid to her root too.
God was using the nation of Babylon at that time to wield His ‘axe’. There would come a time when Babylon too would reach too far. God would lay them bare, when He was done using them. NOT because ‘He was done playing with that toy’ but because He knew their hearts, even before He started using them. He knew they would be ruthless with His people. He KNEW how many would die at the hands of these people. But He also KNEW how many more would be saved by His using Nebuchadnezzar. He was bringing a lesson Israel and Judah would NEVER forget.
Did you notice that this prophecy came with a date? It was the date that God spoke to Ezekiel, NOT the date the prophecy would be fulfilled. Something I noticed about the date was its matching up with the destruction of Jerusalem. This only works though if they were using the same starting point for their calendars.
Something else that struck me from this passage is that Assyria essentially did the same thing Satan did as Lucifer. He started ‘believing his own press’ and exalting himself, even above God. I have no doubt that he took credit for ALL that went right. I bet he even believed he acquired his beauty and status by his own hand. He didn’t so, he was laid low too for his sin.
DON’T fall in that trap. Yes, you can be happy for your accomplishments. But, remember, that you did NOT get here on your own. God raises each of us up. Therefore, we HAVE to return the glory to Him instead of grabbing it for ourselves.
Father God, don’t let me ‘grow too tall’. I want to always remember Who made me and give You ALL the glory. I am marvelously and wonderfully made. I did NOT make myself. And I will stop ‘putting down’ Your handiwork.