We CANNOT exalt GOD when we are ‘PROUD’: "The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day" (Isaiah 2:11, 17)
Isaiah 2:6–22 speaks about God’s impending judgment on the pride of Jerusalem. The days of temporary peace will be preceded by God’s fiery judgment as the nation of Israel had turned from their true God to superstitious idolatry. The last days will reveal God’s judgment on the proud which will cause the people to abandon their worthless idols!
We see that verse 17 is repeated from verse 11 for emphatic confirmation about what God is planning to do in the future. The references to cedars, oaks, high mountains, hills, tower, wall, ships, and sloops are symbols of human sufficiency and strength. God will deal with all human arrogance, whether of individuals (cedars and oaks), governments (high mountains and hills), military might (tower and wall), or commerce (ships and beautiful sloops). It is clear from these verses that one day man’s loftiness will be leveled and God alone will be exalted!
The day of the Lord brings judgment on the godless, but blessing and salvation to the godly (Joel 2:31; Zeph. 1:7; 2:13–18). God will so vindicate His honor "in that day" of judgment that none else "shall be exalted" on that day (Zechariah 14:9).
Lofty looks are the outer manifestation of proud hearts. The refrain (vv. 11, 17) that God alone shall be exalted highlights the theme of this prophecy and describes the coming, glorious revelation of the risen and exalted Savior King. In that day the Savior will be exalted above all other proud contenders!
Remember, we cannot exalt God when we lift ourselves up in pride. Man’s pride will be brought low, and all that man lives for will be destroyed. God patiently waits as people rebel against the truth, but in the end, sin will be judged and the Lord will be exalted. Let us humble ourselves before God and people, so that God will exalt us in due season. "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up" (James 4:10).