You which rejoice in a thing of nothing, which say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength?
"Horns" are signs and symbols of power; here they stand for the military resources with which they fancied that they could conquer every foe. "These delusions of God-forgetting pride the prophet cast down, by saying that Jehovah, the God of hosts, will raise up a nation against them, which will crush them down in the whole length and breadth of the kingdom. This nation was Assyria" (Delitzsch).
I. To rejoice in WORLDLY WEALTH, is to "rejoice in a thing of nought."
II. To rejoice in PERSONAL BEAUTY, is to "rejoice in a thing of nought." But is this beauty a thing to rejoice in? Those who possess it do rejoice in it; many pride themselves on their good looks and fine figures. But what is beauty? It is a "thing of nought."
III. To rejoice in ANCESTRAL DISTINCTION, is to "rejoice in a thing of nought." There are those who are constantly exulting in their pedigree. But even had we come from the loins of the intellectual and moral peers of the race, what in this is there for rejoicing? It is truly "a thing of nought." Our ancestry is independent of us, we are not responsible for it. It is not a matter either of blame or praise.
IV. To rejoice in MORAL MERITORIOUSNESS, is to "rejoice in a thing of nought." There are many who rejoice in their morality. Like the Pharisee in the temple, they thank God they are not as "other men." Moral merit in a sinner, is a baseless vision, a phantom of a proud heart. No, our righteousness is "a thing of nought."
Parallel VersesKJV: Ye which rejoice in a thing of nought, which say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength?