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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Isaiah 19: A Prophecy God's Judgement of Egypt

      Because of the long historical connection with Egypt, going back to the times when they were enslaved, it was hated by the people of Israel. Despite this, Judah was considering entering into an alliance with Egypt. Isaiah issues them with a warning against doing so, prophesying that God would destroy Assyria in His time.
      Generally speaking, Egypt was noted for its wisdom, but in verses 11 to 15 we read that both its wise men and its officials were foolish and deceived. True wisdom can only come from God. The message for us to learn from this is that we should always seek God's guidance in all matters, and that if we look to ourselves or to others for guidance then we will be misdirected and uncertain. No matter what we need guidance on, God alone gives us the best answer.
      Due to the foolish advice given by their wise men, the Egyptians suffer under the hand of Judah, and the result prophesied by Isaiah would be the conversion from idol worship to the worship of the one true God. He prophesies that when Christ returns to reign both the Egyptians and the Assyrians will unite in worshipping God. Verse 20 contains not only a cry for help from the Egyptians but also God's promise that He would rescue them by sending a saviour to deliver them.
      The message for today is that our Saviour, Jesus Christ, is available to all who call upon His name, and that His saving grace will be bestowed on all who call upon Him. In Jesus Christ, those who were formerly enemies can unite in the love of Christ. No matter how cold and distant the relationship may be between people or nations, in Christ they can become as brothers and sisters, bowing at His feet in worship. There are no barriers that are strong enough to withstand either the wrath of God or the love of Christ.

1 A prophecy against Egypt:

 See, the LORD rides on a swift cloud
   and is coming to Egypt.
The idols of Egypt tremble before him,
   and the hearts of the Egyptians melt with fear.

2 “I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian—
   brother will fight against brother,
   neighbor against neighbor,
   city against city,
   kingdom against kingdom.
3 The Egyptians will lose heart,
   and I will bring their plans to nothing;
they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead,
   the mediums and the spiritists.
4 I will hand the Egyptians over
   to the power of a cruel master,
and a fierce king will rule over them,”
   declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.

5 The waters of the river will dry up,
   and the riverbed will be parched and dry.
6 The canals will stink;
   the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up.
The reeds and rushes will wither,
7 also the plants along the Nile,
   at the mouth of the river.
Every sown field along the Nile
   will become parched, will blow away and be no more.
8 The fishermen will groan and lament,
   all who cast hooks into the Nile;
those who throw nets on the water
   will pine away.
9 Those who work with combed flax will despair,
   the weavers of fine linen will lose hope.
10 The workers in cloth will be dejected,
   and all the wage earners will be sick at heart.

11 The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools;
   the wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice.
How can you say to Pharaoh,
   “I am one of the wise men,
   a disciple of the ancient kings”?

12 Where are your wise men now?
   Let them show you and make known
what the LORD Almighty
   has planned against Egypt.
13 The officials of Zoan have become fools,
   the leaders of Memphis are deceived;
the cornerstones of her peoples
   have led Egypt astray.
14 The LORD has poured into them
   a spirit of dizziness;
they make Egypt stagger in all that she does,
   as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit.
15 There is nothing Egypt can do—
   head or tail, palm branch or reed.

16 In that day the Egyptians will become weaklings. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the LORD Almighty raises against them.
17 And the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom Judah is mentioned will be terrified, because of what the LORD Almighty is planning against them.
18 In that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the LORD Almighty. One of them will be called the City of the Sun.
19 In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border.
20 It will be a sign and witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, he will send them a saviour and defender, and he will rescue them.
21 So the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the LORD. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the LORD and keep them.
22 The LORD will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the LORD, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.
23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together.
24 In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth.
25 The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.”

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