Arrogant Pride and Self-Sufficiency (Isaiah 2ff.)
In the writings of Isaiah, arrogant pride and self-sufficiency are particularly related to the denial of the authority and majesty of God in all spheres. We replace God’s uniqueness with trust in human ingenuity or foreign gods. Isaiah addressed this issue head-on early in the book: “The haughty eyes of people shall be brought low, and the pride of everyone shall be humbled; and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day” (Is. 2:11).
The nation’s pride is exhibited in three things: its wealth, military might, and idolatry. The combination of these three factors creates a pernicious triad drawing the people away from a humble reliance on God. Instead, they rely on the work of their hands — idols as well as wealth and military might.
Isaiah describes their wealth in silver and gold: “there is no end to their treasures” (Is. 2:7). He makes the same statement of their military prowess and the idols: there seemingly is no end to which the people do not go. The prophet ridicules the idols, crafted by their own hands and then worshiped as gods (Is. 44:10-20). God abhors human pride and self-reliance. Accumulated wealth or the pursuit of wealth that presses the majesty of God to the margins of our daily lives is an offense to God: “Stop trusting in human beings, who have only breath in their nostrils, for of what account are they?” (Is. 2:22). In chapter 39, King Hezekiah comes under the judgment of God because he took it upon himself to show off the temple treasury to the emissaries from distant Babylon. Instead of trying to impress an adversary with the kingdom’s wealth, the king should have been humbling himself before God.