The Prophet, Ezekiel, in Chapter 31 goes into allegorical detail of what he describes as pride, and I would interpret in our modern times as “self-importance.” Ezekiel is warning the King of Egypt and “his hordes” how strong and mighty the King of Assyria once appeared. “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says, Because it towered on high, lifting its top above the thick foliage, and because it was PROUD OF ITS HEIGHT, I handed it over to the ruler of the nations, for him to deal with according to its wickedness. I cast it aside.” It wasn’t because it towered that God had an issue–it was because it thought it was better because it towered that God had an issue. Learning from this example from Ezekiel Chapter 31 could save all of us who enjoy levels of blessing in our lives, some potential harm/hurt. Taking it verse by verse, here is what we learn:
- “Who can be compared with you in majesty?” We learn that we are nothing without God, but with God working in us and through us we are majestic in our accomplishments. We learn that majesty is God’s and God’s alone. There is nothing majestic about me.
- “Consider Assyria, once a cedar in Lebanon, with beautiful branches overshadowing the forest.” We learn that if anything is beautiful, it is God’s work in us and through us–all beauty comes from God and through God.
- “It towered on high, its top above the foliage. The waters nourished it, deep springs made it grow tall; their streams flowed all around its base and sent their channels to all the trees of the field.” We learn that God provides for us in such a way that it is perpetuating. We learn that perpetuating systems that God provides are not “SELF PERPETUATING” like we eventually believe. We learn that it is a potential error to watch out for (and not allow to creep into our thinking)–God’s supply/resources are perpetual, but not “self-perpetuating.” (I don’t have anything to do with it–it is God)!
- “So it towered higher than all the trees of the field; its boughs increased and its branches grew long, spreading because of abundant waters. All the birds of the air nested in its boughs, all the beasts of the field gave birth under its branches; all the great nations lived in its shade. It was majestic in beauty with its spreading boughs, for its roots went down to abundant waters.” We learn that when God blesses and prospers he does so to make provision. “Provision” is not made for just ONE PERSON TO ENJOY! “Provision” is not for a person to receive so much attention and praise they become self-important. “Provision” exists so that we look to God, NOT TO MAN. (And…NOT TO OWN SELVES).
- “The cedars in the garden of God could not rival it, nor could the pine trees equal its boughs, nor could the plain trees compare with its branches–no tree in the garden of God could match its beauty. I made it beautiful with abundant branches, the envy of all the trees of Eden in the garden of God.” We learn that self-importance is the basis of original sin. The tree in Eden (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) was large, nourishing, and perpetual. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was large and beautiful, it gave shade and blessed everyone. God told Adam and Eve not to “eat of it” or you will die–(become self-important). We learn an interesting insight into God: God considers self-importance as death. The tempter said to Eve, “If you eat of self-importance you won’t die. God is lying to you. God doesn’t want to you to become self-important because if you become self-important you will be like Him….!”
We all need a reality check from time to time about how self-importance is influencing our lives. Learn the lessons from Ezekiel 31 (and the cedars).