God empowers his people to do amazing things using the gifts and talents he has given them. We take delight in leveraging our gifts and talents for the kingdom. However, those gifts and talents are a two-edged sword; if we’re not careful, they can cause us much harm.

The passage in Isaiah is part of a prophecy concerning the end times. It uses the nation of Moab as an idiom to collectively describe people who have grown prideful. In other words, Isaiah 25 uses the nation of Moab as an illustration to convey a message.

In case you’ve forgotten, Moab was one of Lot’s sons by his oldest daughter (Genesis 19:30-38). As the story goes, both of Lot’s daughters enticed him to drunkenness to have intercourse with him, resulting in both daughters birthing sons. Moab was born to the eldest; Ammon was born to the youngest. Though the people of Moab were occasionally displaced and the exact borders of their nation continuously changed over time, they maintained residence in predominantly mountainous regions. Furthermore, the Bible presents Moab as a place of prosperity and peace, though as an antithesis to God’s blessing. Isaiah 15, 16, and Jeremiah 48 pronounce judgment on Moab for their prosperity and pride. Additionally, Deuteronomy 23 forbids Israel from allowing Moabites and Ammonites to enter into their assembly due to their not blessing Israel during their exodus and because the Moabites hired Balaam to curse Israel. To take this yet one step further, God commands Israel to specifically not seek the peace and prosperity of the Moabites and Ammonites (Deuteronomy 23:6).

Peace and prosperity are not necessarily indicators of God's blessing.

One thing is clear from all of this: peace and prosperity are not necessarily the result of God’s blessing. The Moabite idiom in Isaiah describes a false sense of peace and prosperity—one that merely appears to be so. Not only that, but Isaiah says that those who take pride in this false hope do so with open arms. He describes them as swimming in dung. In other words, they are gloating in manure. There’s a considerable irony to what Isaiah is describing. Their city walls built on pride and wealth seem too high to scale, much less destroy (Proverbs 18:11). Their confidence is misplaced. However, Isaiah promises that God will bring down their walls and transform them into dust.

The same warning goes out to us. Though believers will be saved from eternal destruction, our pride can reap drastic consequences in our current lives. We might assume that because God gave us specific skills, we can take pride in them. However, we must be careful not to elevate them or our accomplishments over the giver. Let us not bask in our successes and achievements. Isaiah warns that the Lord will destroy the prideful with their skills (Isaiah 25:11). Instead, as James encourages, if we are to have pride, let us do so in our lowly positions (James 1:9-11). Let us join Paul in boasting about Christ and his own weaknesses (2 Corinthians 11:16-33).