“For you have said in your heart:
I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north; . . . ”
Here, in Isaiah, we are given the details behind Satan’s fall. Before his ruin, Scripture describes the devil as the mighty angel Lucifer, who served Jehovah loyally. Isaiah explains it was pride that turned Lucifer away from God in rebellion. This pride manifested itself in exalting his desires above the desires of God. That same sin has been stumbling the servants of God ever since.
Eve sat alone one day in the shade of the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’. Her whole life had been spent enjoying the benefits of being in a relationship with the Lord. All that changed when she began to desire that which was forbidden. It was not long before that desire led her to exalt her ways above the ways of God.
David, staring out the palace window, was struck by the beauty of Bathsheba. Years of faithfully following and serving Christ, were suddenly in jeopardy, as his heart began to long for the wife of another. Once his own ways were exalted above the Word of God, it was only a matter of time before desire became action, and his life took a downward turn.
Achan is not nearly as well know as Eve or David, but his life similarly illustrates the danger of exalting our ways above the ways of God. Achan dwelt alongside Joshua as Israel entered the Promised Land. Upon entering the city of Jericho, God gave instructions concerning the spoils of war; Israel was not to loot the defeated city. Achan however, saw three items God had forbidden, and desired them for himself. Once his desire took root, it was not long before he took hold of that which was forbidden, and it cost him his life.
We could go on and on with story after story, of those who chose to exalt their own ways above the ways of God, only to find their lives were destroyed as a result. It is worth noting, Eve, David and Achan, not only brought ruin to their own lives, but also negatively impacted the lives of their loved ones. Perhaps the words of James best expresses the danger of placing our own desires above the Word of God,
“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death.”
Every time we sin we are exalting our way above he ways of God. It is for this reason Jesus declared that in order to follow Him, we must deny ourself. Instead of doing what seems right in your eyes, or what your emotions are driving you towards, take time to consider the ways of God and exalt His word above your ways.