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“Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?” (Is 2:22).

We do rely on people, don’t we?

And, to a certain extent, rightly so. Children and infants need their parents to provide for them and nurture them. In fact, any successful group of adults, from professional footballers to military units to an orchestra playing a symphony need each other to achieve the goal or create a greater whole.

God made us to exist and function, flourish and grow in the context of community. Family. Team. Paul goes further to describe our life together like a human body: “the body is not made up of one part but of many” (1 Cor 12: 14).

He goes on: “God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it” (1 Cor 12: 24 – 26).

God has created humans to be connected, especially in local churches. We are to love and serve one another, sharing in each other’s sufferings and difficulties as well as our joys. The Lord provides leaders for us, whom we are exhorted to treat with respect: “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Tim 5: 17).

So, with all of that in mind, the phrase at the end of Isaiah 2 above, might seem a little puzzling. Stop relying on humans and definitely don’t hold them in high esteem!

Isaiah is prophesying to a people who have become proud, worshipping idols and relying on their own resources and abilities. But the Lord almighty has already planned a day when the people of God will learn humility. The Presence of the Lord will remind them to fear Him once again.

No longer will they rely on themselves or foreign nations to do the things only God can do.

There is nothing wrong with honouring others if we honour God more. There is no sin in trusting a brother or sister to play her part in the team as long as our ultimate trust in life is in our Father in heaven. And there’s no shame in receiving praise for a job well done as long as you know it was the Lord’s Grace and provision that got you there.

How heavily do you lean on others? Those who have but a breath in their nostrils. A breath that God can call home at any moment. Paul’s picture of a human body speaks of giving more than receiving. Loving others. Serving others. Sharing in their sufferings. Honouring those who preach and teach. Giving out rather than relying on. Valuing those whom God gives us, rather than esteeming a person in the place of God.