Bible Study: Isaiah 19:1-25
Today's study covers the burden of Egypt and God's purpose for His judgment against the nations.
Isaiah Chapter 19
Lessons from the text
Face to Face with God
Verse 17 says that Egypt will be afraid of the land of Judah because of the counsel of the Lord. Egypt trusted in its vast riches, long history, and false gods. Even today, while there is a Christian presence, they rely on science and the growing worldwide economic system. Although they have forsaken their ancient gods, they have only replaced them with new idols.
What distinguishes the scientist from the psychic?
Both wholeheartedly believe that they are interpreting reality correctly. Both believe that they are working to understand truth. And both, regrettably, have given into idolatry: the psychic to the spiritualism of New Age thought and the scientist to Evolution and man's wisdoms.
I am not referring to the psychics who extort others by pretending to fortune tell and so forth. I am referring to the Wiccan, the feng shui practitioner, and the attempt of modern spiritualism to delve into and access the spirit world so that we can have a healthier, more wholistic life. When you start inviting spirits into your life and seek directions from "spirits," you are in serious danger.
Similarly, I'm not referring to the scientist who is looking to explain and better understand how God created this world; I'm referring to those who want to explain away God through human reasoning and scientific "fact." Those people have made science their God. Science is their moral law. It's their ultimate right or wrong, which actually makes no sense considering that all of science is a theory, not fact. Science is our understanding of what we perceive and as humans we are constantly updating our understanding to accommodate our flawed reasoning and/or information. It's the Theory of Evolution not the Fact of Evolution. Any scientist will admit this.
When we base our reality on "scientific fact," we place science above God. While obviously there are things like gravity which we have to acknowledge, we must also acknowledge that God can at anytime do whatever He pleases—including lifting Elijah up in a whirlwind into heaven. By the "laws" of physics Elijah's lungs should have imploded from the force of the whirlwind! Point being, God is the ultimate source of reality. Any line of thought, any god, any spirit, any opinion that we hold apart from God is flawed. And as Egypt will find out, when we come face-to-face with the reality of God, our false ideology will crumble.
I sometimes wonder how Darwin felt when he died and stood before God. Can you imagine how foolish and ashamed he must have felt to realize he got it so wrong?
People go about their business assuming that they are right and that they understand the way things are, but so often we are so far from the truth. I myself will misunderstand things. I look back and think how did I believe that? about something I was so convinced was right several years before. It is therefore very important to set aside our opinions and to look for the truth from God for He is Truth.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1 God's biggest problem with Egypt was it idols. Between the gods and goddesses they had over fifty deities that they worshipped. In Exodus God said He was not just fighting pharaoh, but He was fighting the gods of Egypt (Exo 12:12).
2 God often turns his enemies against each other. See Judges 7:22 and I Samuel 14:20.
3-4 In the time of trouble the Egyptians look to all the wrong places. They turn to their gods rather than the one true God. In response, God will turn them over to a cruel ruler.
5-10 Tying in with the prophecy of chapter 11:15, we see that God is pointing to events that have not yet occurred when the Nile River will be dried up.
11-15 Returning do the the theme of bringing down the haughtiness of man, God reveals that one of the problems with Egypt is their pride. They have made more of themselves than they are, for we are all equal creations of God. This misunderstanding of their rightful place combined with their idolatry has made them so confused they can no longer produce any meaningful or lasting work.
As is revealed in Romans 1:28, God will, if they refuse to listen, turn people over to their confusions. Perversions simply means to alter something from its original state to do something that it was not designed to do.
16 Being lost to confusion and perversion, they no longer have any strength. That is, because they are not in their rightful place, when God comes by they will be unprepared to face Him.
17 False gods can never take the place of the protection and safety provided by the one true God. When Jesus returns and the power of God is revealed on earth, Egypt and it's false understanding will crumble away into fear.
18 We see a transition happening now where Egypt has forsaken it's false ideology and is beginning to turn to God. When Jesus comes back He will rule the nations with the rod of iron (Rev 2:27). Here, Egypt may be turning to God willingly or, if this is a reference to the Millennial Reign, they may be obliged to serve God.
19-21 The altar and the pillar are witnesses in Egypt. Whether literal or symbolic, there will be a constant reminder of God, and the Egyptians will turn to God in truth as is seen in that they will keep the vows made to Him.
22 All of God's judgment against Egypt are designed to bring them into a healthy relationship with the Lord. As was seen earlier in the use of judgment against Israel to purge Israel of its sins (ch 1:25), God is bringing judgment on a nation that does not know Him so that they can learned of Him, turn to Him, and be healed of all their troubles.
23-24 Verse 7 of chapter 17 reveal that Assyria along with the rest of the world will at this time have respect unto God their maker. Through all the mighty deeds and judgments God is going to do, He is going to bring people and nations to Him.
25 Egypt will one day be counted alongside Israel as a chosen people; they will be grafted into the family of God. Assyria, too, after its judgment shall be acceptable to God.
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