Warning to the Wealthy (Isaiah 23:9)

“The Lord of hosts has purposed it to defile the pompous pride of all glory, to dishonor all the honored of the earth.”
– Isaiah 23:9

Isaiah 23:9 is so humbling. It’s talking about prophesy against nations that have boasted in their wealth. Against the nations who think, “Okay, we have all the honor. We need or want. We have everything we need or want as if they have earned it.” Isaiah says the Lord of hosts has purposed to defile the pompous pride of all glory, dishonoring all the honored of the earth. So, that which we think is honorable because it’s wealthy, it looks good in the eyes of the world, the Lord has purposed to show that that is actually and ultimately empty.

Apart from God and His goodness and grace, we have nothing.

Isaiah 23:9 Warns Us Against Wealth In This World

This is a huge warning to the wealthy in this world. When we think about wealth, we got to be really careful because we always think about wealth in relative terms like we think, “Oh yeah, wealthy.” We always think of people that are wealthier than us, we think, “Okay, that’s for them.” The realty is for most people listening to this podcast, when 90-plus percent of the world thinks of the word wealthy, they picture us. Just the fact that we have technology to listen to this podcast that we may be driving in the car, or at work, or in a home. Likely, somebody listen to this is in one of the wealthiest places in the world.

Isaiah 23:9 Reminds Us Apart From God We Have Nothing

We got to realize, there’s a danger in thinking that because we have wealth that there’s a pride that comes with that. That we have what we need as if we have anything apart from the gracious hand of God. This is the humbling reminder we need, that the wealthy need. That we do not boast and what we have as if we earned it. Every good thing we have, we have from God. He’s the giver of all good gifts, and if we’re not careful, our wealth can produce this prideful self-sufficiency in us and we forget that we need God. Then apart from God and his goodness and his grace, we have nothing.

This Verse Leads Us to Thank Go For His Gifts

So we pray, oh God, you are the giver of all good gifts. Apart from you, without you, we have nothing. Oh God, deliver us we pray from any and all self-sufficiency in our lives. Any pride in our lives, and especially any pride in, boasting in, or confidence in our wealth, we know that you could take it all away tomorrow, today. That our sustenance and sufficiency only comes from you, it doesn’t come from this world. It comes from you. Deliver us, keep us in every way we pray, from prideful self-sufficiency.

Oh God, help us to use the wealth you’ve entrusted to us, not for our own pride, or our own pleasures, or the pursuits of this world. God help us to use the wealth that you’ve entrusted to us for the spread of your worship in the world. Give us a right perspective of wealth, of ourselves, deliver us from all pride. Grant us humility before you that it doesn’t fall into this trap of looking at wealth, possessions, pride from the perspective of the world. Lord help us to see is it in light of all that we have, in light of Isaiah 23:9. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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