Today: [Isaiah 19] Egypt is the Work of God’s Hands! In this chapter Isaiah brings what he calls “the Burden of Egypt.” Egypt was a nation that the people of God were forced to deal with throughout their entire history. For us “spiritual Egypt” is the world of unredeemed humanity around us. Isaiah prophesies against those that have enslaved and brutalized His people and declares in this chapter that He will in effect save them from themselves and restore them to their original Edenic purpose. Toward that end a Savior will be sent Isaiah declares, a Great One who is Jesus that will save Egypt and Assyria and Israel itself from the ravages of disobedience.
[Isa 19:1-25 KJV] 1 The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it. 2 And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, [and] kingdom against kingdom. 3 And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards. 4 And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts. 5 And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted and dried up. 6 And they shall turn the rivers far away; [and] the brooks of defence shall be emptied and dried up: the reeds and flags shall wither. 7 The paper reeds by the brooks, by the mouth of the brooks, and every thing sown by the brooks, shall wither, be driven away, and be no [more]. 8 The fishers also shall mourn, and all they that cast angle into the brooks shall lament, and they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish. 9 Moreover they that work in fine flax, and they that weave networks, shall be confounded. 10 And they shall be broken in the purposes thereof, all that make sluices [and] ponds for fish.
In Isaiah 19 the prophet turns his attention by the Spirit of God to Egypt. Egypt was a powerful nation that Israel had to contend with throughout its history from the very beginnings with Moses and the exodus to the end of the line of the kings of David with Zedekiah. Egypt for us is a type of the world. As a Christian you will always be living your life in juxtaposition with the demands of a godless world around you. Christianity throughout its history has made great efforts to disengage with the world with questionable effect. In the early centuries of the church there were the desert fathers and the beginning of monasticism. Monks and ascetics would go out to the desolate places, separating men from women, cut out their tongues, and wall themselves up in monks cells with nothing but bread and water and the word of God. This was never God’s plan. Jesus Himself in His great intercessory prayer never prayed that we as a kingdom community would sequester ourselves from the world around us:
[Jhn 17:15 KJV] 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
What does that mean – when we say “in the world” but not “of the world”? One of the great problems in Christian culture how permeable it is to ungodliness. Regardless of what is going on in the world around us there is a clear boundary and calling to be a separate people. Christians who do not understand the meaning of a separate life and holiness and godliness are no Christians at all. It is easy to take the people out of Egypt but not easy to take Egypt out of the people! For us then when we read of Egypt in Isaiah it is a metaphor for unredeemed mankind and the culture of the world that rejects Christ.
11 Surely the princes of Zoan [are] fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say ye unto Pharaoh, I [am] the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings? 12 Where [are] they? where [are] thy wise [men]? and let them tell thee now, and let them know what the LORD of hosts hath purposed upon Egypt. 13 The princes of Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived; they have also seduced Egypt, [even they that are] the stay of the tribes thereof. 14 The LORD hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken [man] staggereth in his vomit. 15 Neither shall there be [any] work for Egypt, which the head or tail, branch or rush, may do. 16 In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which he shaketh over it. 17 And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of hosts, which he hath determined against it. 18 In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of hosts; one shall be called, The city of destruction. 19 In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD. 20 And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them.
In verses 11-14 Isaiah declares that the Lord will confound the wisdom of the Egyptians and send a perverse spirit in their counsels causing them to be as drunken men slipping and falling in their own vomit. Does this mean that God is working to deceive men? Psalm 18:26 gives us a sobering insight into the character of God and how He deals with those who refuse to kiss the Son:
[Psa 18:26 ASV] 26 With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; And with the perverse thou wilt show thyself perverse.
Fair dealing and open understanding are virtues lost upon the ungodly and those who see themselves as above humbling their lives to the Father. This is one of the reason why Jesus constantly taught in parables:
[Mar 4:11-12 KJV] 11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all [these] things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and [their] sins should be forgiven them.
In fact Matt. 13:34 tells us that “without a parable, spake He (Jesus) not unto them…” There are parables and typology in everything that Jesus did. Man looks upon the teachings of Jesus from an unredeemed perspective and sees an idealistic zealot. You and I look at the teachings of the Master and see DEEP calling unto DEEP because we hear the noise of the whale song of the Spirit of God calling us out of the mentality of the carnal mind into the adoption of the mind of Christ.
In verse 17 Isaiah prophesies that the land of Judah shall be a terror to the land of Egypt. Is this not the case today? The world is terrified of Christian culture. The world always pre-emptively strikes out at men and women of faith because they serve a God who cannot be manipulated or coerced – to whom every knee will bow and every tongue confess. Even though God is a God of love and a God of clemency toward the offender the evil heart of rebellion will even rebel against His tender mercies because man wants to have his own way.
21 And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform [it]. 22 And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal [it]: and they shall return [even] to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them. 23 In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. 24 In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, [even] a blessing in the midst of the land: 25 Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed [be] Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.
Even though the world rejects God – nonetheless His promise is to send a Savior, a Great One to deliver them. This is who Jesus is. This is the kingdom of God within the kingdom of men that we represent. Men might deny it but He is the light that lights every man that comes into the earth. He has set eternity in every man’s heart and it is our commission to activate that reality in the lives of all we meet until the capitulate to our sovereign and accept Him and Lord and Master of their lives – to their own benefit.
Verse 22 says that Egypt will be smitten because not all of the world, (spiritual Egypt) will accept Christ. Nonetheless Egypt and Assyria, and Israel all belonged alike to the Lord before they refused and rebelled and in the end God will call Egypt His people and even Assyria – the work of His hands to the Glory of God the Father!
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