For the next four chapters, God turns His attention to Egypt and its sins.
Ezekiel Chapter 29
Lessons from the text
Taking Credit God rebukes Pharaoh for saying that he had made the Nile River. If we take credit for something God has done, we are in danger of being cast down for our sin of pride.
In life, it is easy to take credit for an accomplishment. “I made that machine work.” “I made my boss appreciate me.” “I made the opportunities to get me where I am today.”
These are easy thoughts to have. However, each one takes credit for something that no human can do. After all, who gives us the ability to learn? Are we the source of our knowledge? No. We learn from others who learned from others who learned from God. Even our ability to reason and to learn come from God.
To take credit for our accomplishments in life is as foolish as Pharaoh taking credit for making the Nile River; only God is the Creator and only He is responsible for the opportunities and successes in our lives. Praise God for what He has allowed you to do and never deceive yourself into thinking that you alone deserve credit for your accomplishments.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1 This prophecy comes in the year previous to the prophecy against Tyre (Eze. 26:1).
2 God does not only judge a ruler for his sins, but He judges the entire nation according to the sins of the ruler. As the authority over a nation, the ruler is held responsible for the sins of the people, and the people are influenced by the sins of the ruler. In essence, if the ruler is sinful, the nation has become tarnished with sin. This does not exclude God’s mercy on those who He finds righteous; as God spared Noah from the flood, He will spare any individual spiritual harm even though He may judge the nation for its sins.
3-7 Like the ruler of Tyrus, Pharaoh’s sin is pride against God; instead of acknowledging God as the giver of life and material blessings, Pharaoh believes that he himself is master over God’s creation and vainly thinks that the river was made just for him (Eze. 28:2-5). For this, God will humble him, directing his actions as He pleases; by putting a hook in his mouth, God is declaring that He is the master of Pharaoh. After demonstrating His mastery over Pharaoh, God will make him a spectacle so that all the Egyptians will realize that Pharaoh was not a god but only a man (the Egyptian kings claimed themselves as gods and their subjects worshipped them as divine). Seeing that their god is caste down, the people may consider that the Lord is the true God.
8-12 Leaving the poetic imagery behind, God declares how He will judge Egypt; He will send an invading army that will conquer the nation. From Syene to Ethiopia, the destruction will be so complete that it will be uninhabited for forty years. This is a reference to Nebuchadnezzar who, at this time, was expanding his territory and was turning his attention to Egypt (see II Ki. 24:7, Jer. 43:8-13, Eze. 30:10).
13 God promises restoration to Egypt. Compare with the end-time prophecy of Isaiah 19:25.
14-16 Despite just being freed by the hand of God through Moses, Israel wanted to return to Egypt and its bondage because there at least they were surrounded by wealth and plenty to eat and drink (Exo. 16:3). God states that this desire will disappear because Egypt will no longer be a place to be desired. Historically, Egypt has lost its position as a world power.
17-20 Sixteen years after the previous prophecy is given, Ezekiel received a prophecy that Nebuchadnezzar will come up against Egypt. As the Babylonian king fulfilled God’s judgment against Tyrus, so, too, will he fulfill His prophecy against Egypt. Egypt’s wealth is described as pay for the work Nebuchadnezzar has done for the Lord. This is fulfilled through the tribute imposed on Egypt when Nebuchadnezzar is successful in his military campaign against the nation. 21 Once Egypt is humbled by Babylon, Israel will begin to reemerge as a nation; instead of being scattered and helpless, a door will be opened for them wherein they may enter into political favor and eventually return to their homeland. See II Kings 25:27-27 and II Chronicles 36:22-23.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word. Please comment below to share what you learned from today's lesson.