King Sennacherib of Assyria was more than a little proud. He boasted and bragged about his conquests to everyone within earshot. He wanted everyone to know that his strength and resources were responsible for his military successes. Boy, was he deceived!
Here’s what God said about Sennacherib: “You have said, ‘With my many chariots I have conquered the highest mountains—yes, the remotest peaks of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars and its finest cypress trees. I have reached its farthest corners and explored its deepest forests. I have dug wells in many foreign lands and refreshed myself with their water. With the sole of my foot I stopped up all the rivers of Egypt!’
“But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen. I planned for you to crush fortified cities into heaps of rubble. That is why their people have so little power and are so frightened and confused” (2 Kings 19:23-26).
God had a few other choice words for the king, too. Basically He said Sennacherib’s arrogance didn’t go unnoticed. Neither did his attempt to claim credit for his success.
God reminded the king that He had ordained these successes long ago to accomplish His eternal purposes, and now He was fulfilling them. Sennacherib fought the battles, yes, but he won them only because God predetermined his victories, not because of his skill.
What relevance does this story have for us today? Simple. We’re to guard our hearts against arrogance and give credit where credit is due.
Who gives us physical strength to do our work? God does.
Who gives us creativity and smarts to think and configure and strategize? God does.
Who gives us the divine appointments and networking opportunities we need? God does.
It’s easy to say, “I succeeded because I’m well-trained, intelligent, and hard-working.” Those things might be true, but only because of God’s mercy. We can’t even take a breath without His go-ahead. Who are we to think we can succeed at anything else on our own steam?
The next time you enjoy success at anything, take a moment to give credit where it’s due. Thank God for His mercy and kindness. Thank Him for giving everything needed to get the job done with excellence. And then celebrate that success as a gift from your heavenly Father.