Isaiah 19

Isaiah 19

An Oracle Concerning Egypt

19 An oracle concerning Egypt.

  Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud
    and comes to Egypt;
  and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence,
    and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.
  And I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians,
    and they will fight, each against another
    and each against his neighbor,
    city against city, kingdom against kingdom;
  and the spirit of the Egyptians within them will be emptied out,
    and I will confound their counsel;
  and they will inquire of the idols and the sorcerers,
    and the mediums and the necromancers;
  and I will give over the Egyptians
    into the hand of a hard master,
  and a fierce king will rule over them,
    declares the Lord GOD of hosts.
  And the waters of the sea will be dried up,
    and the river will be dry and parched,
  and its canals will become foul,
    and the branches of Egypt’s Nile will diminish and dry up,
    reeds and rushes will rot away.
  There will be bare places by the Nile,
    on the brink of the Nile,
  and all that is sown by the Nile will be parched,
    will be driven away, and will be no more.
  The fishermen will mourn and lament,
    all who cast a hook in the Nile;
  and they will languish
    who spread nets on the water.
  The workers in combed flax will be in despair,
    and the weavers of white cotton.
  Those who are the pillars of the land will be crushed,
    and all who work for pay will be grieved.
  The princes of Zoan are utterly foolish;
    the wisest counselors of Pharaoh give stupid counsel.
  How can you say to Pharaoh,
    “I am a son of the wise,
    a son of ancient kings”?
  Where then are your wise men?
    Let them tell you
    that they might know what the LORD of hosts has purposed against Egypt.
  The princes of Zoan have become fools,
    and the princes of Memphis are deluded;
  those who are the cornerstones of her tribes
    have made Egypt stagger.
  The LORD has mingled within her a spirit of confusion,
  and they will make Egypt stagger in all its deeds,
    as a drunken man staggers in his vomit.
  And there will be nothing for Egypt
    that head or tail, palm branch or reed, may do.

Egypt, Assyria, Israel Blessed

In that day the Egyptians will be like women, and tremble with fear before the hand that the LORD of hosts shakes over them. And the land of Judah will become a terror to the Egyptians. Everyone to whom it is mentioned will fear because of the purpose that the LORD of hosts has purposed against them.

In that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the LORD of hosts. One of these will be called the City of Destruction.

In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border. It will be a sign and a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt. When they cry to the LORD because of oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and deliver them. And the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the LORD and perform them. And the LORD will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the LORD, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them.

In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.

In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.”


Isaiah 19 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

What do we use to replace God in our lives? It’s really a thought-provoking question. The temptation is to brush it aside, or minimize it. But when given proper thought, and approached with humility, we will most likely find an idol that we don’t want to address.

Though Israel had been enslaved by Egypt years before, they were tempted to seek refuge there, as the Assyrians continued to grow into an unstoppable force. Israel feared Assyria more than Egypt, so they wanted to compromise – even if it meant siding with the dreaded Egyptians. It’s silly when you think about it. The temptation was to put their trust in the lesser of two evils. The real question is – does God put us in situations where we have to choose between evil and evil?

I have thought about this before when choosing between political candidates. Do I have to choose the lesser of two evils? Maybe you have thought the same thing? I have also been in situations of temptation and emotional pain where it seems that choosing a lesser evil is the best way to cope. We know what God’s Word says, but we fear the uncertain… so we settle for the immediate.

God reminds Israel that Egypt is in the palm of His hand. There is nothing that will come to pass that isn’t filtered through this fingers. To answer my own questions above, I don’t believe God makes us choose between evil and evil. Through faith, we can always choose what brings glory to God. The reason for this is because the Bible consistently presents a moral ethic with which to live our lives. For the early Christians, that decision meant death. For us today, it may mean death of our flesh.

Killing our sinful ways is tough business, but if we have the power that raised Christ from the dead, we are empowered to choose His way instead of what makes sense to the world. Common sense, logic, and popularity all pale in comparison to faith in God.

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