Changing Egypts

Isaiah 19:18-22 “In that day five cities in the land of Egypt will be speaking the language of Canaan and swearing allegiance to the Lord of Hosts… There will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord near its border. It will become a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the Lord because of oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Champion, and He will deliver them. Thus the Lord will make Himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day… The Lord will strike Egypt, striking but healing; so they will return to the Lord, and He will respond to them and will heal them.”

Observation: Isaiah here continued to paint a picture of the millennial reign of Christ. Packed into these five brief verses is a surprising description of Egypt, because Egypt neither historically nor currently has given any sign of turning to the God of heaven. In fact, as we survey recent and current world events, Egypt seems to be firmly set against God’s purposes for Israel, having participated in a series of wars and covert destructions against Israel since its modern founding.

Application: Because in the natural world Egypt seems such a hopeless case, a powerful river of hope floods my soul as I read these verses. What a profoundly encouraging passage!

The point of my excitement, however, doesn’t have anything to do with Egypt itself. I do, though, have my own list of Egypts—situations of Pharaoh-like toughness: loved ones who are rebellious, stubbornly resisting God’s call; illness that seems unrelenting; patterns of repeated behaviors which always yield disappointment and defeat, yet never change. I am surrounded by Egypts!

But look! God can change even the most incorrigible of Egypts. How many prayer projects have I abandoned because of the perceived hopelessness of the effort? Surely Egypt is a hopeless case if ever one existed. But this passage says God will strike them and in the striking, bring healing. So I must be encouraged.  Let God renew my strength as I resolve to pray afresh. Nothing is too difficult for Him. I believe He gave me these verses today as an encouragement to continue partnering with Him over those deep issues of my heart.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, sometimes the disappointments I have experienced when I haven’t seen evidence of hoped-for progress has caused me to wall myself off emotionally from the very person I’ve lifted before You. Restore my faith in Your abilities. Move creatively in each situation to overcome every resistance. Thank You for restored vision for what You can and will accomplish.

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