Judgment of Egypt

The great Alliance preacher and renowned Christian author, A. W. Tozer, makes this observation: “Before the judgment seat of Christ my service will be judged not by how much I have done but by how much I could have done!... In God’s sight, my giving is measured not by … More

Judgment

This passage begins one of Isaiah’s most unusual prophecies in that it is both a message of judgment and blessing that is to come upon Egypt. Judgment was to come to Egypt from the Lord. God is pictured as riding on a swift cloud (v. 1). He was the true giver of rain (not Baal) which was something Egypt would sorely need. This judgment brought internal despair and division among the people (v. 2). They try to get advice from their idols and fortunetellers (v. 3). God says He will put them under the power of a cruel, heartless king (v. 4).

The river (v. 5) undoubtedly refers to the Nile. A drought would ruin the economy. The people depended on the annual flooding of the Nile over the fields to enrich the soil. With the drying up of the Nile, every sown field would wilt (vv. 6-7) and the fishermen using either hooks or nets would not be able to pursue their livelihood (v. 8). This was true of those who derived their income from working with flax, which depended on water for its growth. The cloth makers and weavers will not know what to do (vv. 9-10). In other words, the entire economy depended on the Nile River. The king’s officials give stupid advice (vv. 11-13). The Lord has confused Egypt and its leaders stagger in their vomit like a drunkard and no man can do anything, no matter who they are (vv. 14-15). Foolish confidence in one’s own wisdom leads not only to failure but also causes others to follow a pathway to disaster.

Application

Even though the princes and counselors were noted for their wisdom, they were deceived and foolish. True wisdom only comes from God.  It is easy for me to become confused about some decision I need to make. I need to ask God to guide me or I will be uncertain and misdirected.

Isaiah 19:1-15 (English Standard Version)

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.

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