Read Isaiah 19
A Prophecy Against Egypt
19 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 savior 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.”
We all pursue comfort in some form or fashion. Comfort is not inherently bad or evil. However, if we are not proactively careful, comfort will naturally pull us away from God who calls us to consistently pursue discomfort for the sake of His Kingdom. When we get too comfortable, often we slip into more sin. When we slip into more sin, we naturally descend into more and more debauchery all the while becoming more and more numb to the Holy Spirit.
Then, eventually, our lives begin to fall apart. We look around and ask, “How did I get here?” Maybe you’ve been there, maybe you know someone who has, or maybe this is you right now. How did we (the world) get here (how the world currently looks around us)? Every day there is news of sin, debauchery, and evil that directly produces fear, anxiety, and sadness.
You are probably reading this on a phone, laptop, tablet, or some other form of technology that did not exist until recently. If you look around, we have more access to more comforts than any other human in history. However, we are looking more like the Egyptians in Isaiah 19 every day. “Egyptians against Egyptians…city against city…kingdom against kingdom…rivers dry and parched…branches of Egypt’s Nile diminished and dried up…workers in despair…pillars of the land crushed…” and the list goes on and on.
In those days, the Nile was the source of life and of comfort for the Egyptians. With the Nile dried up, so did comfort and provision. What is your Nile? Your investments? Your job? Your relationship? It may seem like these aspects of your life are drying up like the Nile. The comfort they once provided is drying up as well. So, what do we do? Do we run to another worldly comfort that will dry up? Another Nile? Or do we run to the One who provides living water and eternal comfort?
When all that is temporary begins to show that it is indeed temporary, it should serve as a reminder to run to the only thing that is eternal: Jesus. At the end of Isaiah 19, we see that Egypt will eventually repent and find the life they were looking for all along. Instead of turning to other temporary pleasures and provisions, they create “an altar to the Lord and a pillar to the Lord at its border.” When they do this, the Lord promises that “He will send them a Savior and Defender and deliver them…and make Himself known.” As we read this, we know that the savior is Jesus, who was the same then as He is today.
Turn to Him. He will make Himself known. He is not a hidden, dead god. He is a fully revealed, alive God who fully knows and loves you.
- What does building an altar to the Lord look like in your life right now?
- What are some temporary altars you have tried to build in your life to provide comfort?
- What is one comfort you can give up in pursuit of true comfort in Jesus?
Did You Know?
Pastor David Guzik, an author and commentator, said this about the fulfilled prophecy of Isaiah 19:21:
“In the days of Jesus, more than a million Jews lived in Egypt. In the early days of Christianity, there was a strong, vital church in Egypt for more than 600 years.”
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