Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Isaiah 19 - Tale of Woes for Judah's Foes: Egypt

LINK: Isaiah 19 

BACKGROUND 

Egypt was the country that enslaved God's people for 400 years (Exodus 1). So, the people of Israel hated the Egyptians. Yet, Judah was considering an alliance with Egypt against Assyria (2 Kings 18:17-25). Isaiah warned against such a course of action because God would take care of Assyria in His sovereign time. 

A leading prophetic scholar, Dr. Wilbur M. Smith, once wrote in his 1957 book, Egypt in Biblical Prophecy,  that Isaiah 19 "contains the most important prophetic utterance concerning Egypt in all of the Old Testament" (p. 77). 

Isaiah 19 has two main components for Egypt:

1) JUDGMENT: Egypt was crushed by Esar-haddon, king of Assyria, in 670 B.C. Egypt's gods were powerless against this foe. Isaiah also prophesied that there would be internal fighting, the Nile would dry up, and the notoriously wise counselors would not know what to do. 

2) SALVATION: After Egypt is judged, it will turn from idols and worship the one true God united with Assyria and Israel! When they call to God for help, a Savior and Champion will deliver them. Note that the phrase, "in that day," is used five time in 19:16-25 (16, 18-19, 21, 23). This is often used in the Bible when there is a judgment followed by a blessing. 

Depending on your view of end times some would argue that the salvation of Egypt has already occurred with the "highway" from Egypt to Assyria (19:23) being opened up when Jews, scattered abroad, came to Jerusalem at Pentecost and embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:5; 9-11). 

Others see it as happening at a future time in a Messianic kingdom where the promise to Abraham would be fulfilled in that "all peoples on earth will be blessed through" his seed, Jesus (Genesis 12:3). This would include Gentiles from every language, people, tongue and tribe, bowing in worship to the true God (Revelation 7:9). 

REFLECTION 

Regardless of your end times views, take some time to worship the Prince of Peace, who will unite former enemies in love! He breaks down every barrier that man has erected (Ephesians 2:13-19). The only hope for this world of strife is Jesus Christ!

APPLICATION

We live in a time where war is everywhere. Take a look at this:

List of Ongoing Military Conflicts

Take hope in Psalm 2, read the lists in the article above, and pray for our world. 

PRAYER 

Pray through Psalm 2 (see background explanation HERE)

Why are the nations in an uproar 
And the peoples devising a vain thing? 
The kings of the earth take their stand 
And the rulers take counsel together 
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 
“Let us tear their fetters apart 
And cast away their cords from us!” 

He who sits in the heavens laughs, 
The Lord scoffs at them. 
Then He will speak to them in His anger 
And terrify them in His fury, saying, 
“But as for Me, I have installed My King 
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.” 

“I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: 
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, 
Today I have begotten You. 
‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, 
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 
‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, 
You shall shatter them like earthenware.’ ” 

Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; 
Take warning, O judges of the earth. 
Worship the Lord with reverence 
And rejoice with trembling. 
Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, 
For His wrath may soon be kindled. 
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!" 
(Psalm 2:1-12) 
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