Even though Israel is the model for all nations, there are times when America can learn lessons from God’s dealing with other gentile nations. Egypt is a case in point.
The timing is the middle to late 7thcentury BC. Egypt was heavy into idolatry and mysticism. God was about to teach them a harsh lesson.
“Behold, the LORD…will come into Egypt; the idols of Egypt will totter (shake) at His presence, and the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst. ‘I will set Egyptians against Egyptians… and everyone against his neighbor…the spirit of Egypt will fail in its midst; I will destroy their counsel, and they will consult the idols and the charmers, the mediums and the sorcerers.’” Isaiah 19:1-2
God was about to stir up tremendous civil strife within Egypt which would result in a drastic degradation of their economy. The Hebrew word ‘counsel’ in the above means ‘purpose and plan.’
God had previously used the strategy of internal conflict within invading armies by confusing enemy warriors into killing each other.
Historians report that Egypt had a long record of internal strife. God would increase such strife and civil unrest to accomplish His purpose.
God would call the Assyrian king Esarhaddon to plunder Egypt. And so it was, Assyrian’s assault on Egypt happened in 671 BC.
“‘And the Egyptians I will give into the hand of a cruel master, and a fierce king will rule over them,’ says the LORD of hosts.” Isaiah 19:4
The Nile and its tributaries would be dried up which would immediately curtail their economic success.
“Moreover those who work in fine flax and those who weave fine fabric will be ashamed (confused and confounded); and its foundations will be broken. All who make wages will be troubled of soul.” Isaiah 19:9-10
The loss of a prosperous economy would result in severe unemployment. The main source of jobs (foundations or pillars) for the working class was the Nile River, which was taken away.
The charmers, mediums, and sorcerers were at a loss as to how to deal with God’s sovereign judgment.
“Surely the princes of Zoan (major city in northern Egypt) have become fools; Pharaoh’s wise counselors give foolish counsel…The princes of Zoan have…deluded Egypt…” Isaiah 19:13
The Hebrew for ‘deluded’ also means ‘seduced and/or deceived.’
Egypt’s princes and counselors had no wisdom or remedy for their situation.
“The LORD has mingled a perverse spirit in her midst; and they have caused Egypt to err in all her work, as a drunken man staggers in his vomit. Neither will there be any work for Egypt…” Isaiah 19:14-15a
Several definitions will add clarity, i.e. ‘perverse’ means ‘sinful’ or an iniquity, while ‘err’ means to ‘seduce’ or ‘cause to go astray.’
And the wording ‘neither will there be any work for Egypt’ means exactly that. ‘Work’ means ‘labor’ and also ‘business.’
God had providentially caused the Nile and its tributaries to dry up and then caused an extended drought. In addition He had summoned the Assyrian king Esarhaddon to invade Egypt.
Egypt’s economy collapsed and their leaders and wise men didn’t have a clue how to fix it. That was also providential, i.e. ‘The LORD has mingled a perverse spirit in her midst.’
Egypt struggled with paltry results until God sent Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to utterly destroy them in 587 BC.
“Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘I will also make a multitude of Egypt to cease by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. He and his people with him, the most terrible of the nations, shall be brought to destroy the land; they shall draw their swords against Egypt, and fill the land with the slain.’” Ezekiel 30:10-11
Egypt had not learned her lesson from previous experiences under Assyrian domination.
“Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘I will also destroy the idols, and cause the images to cease…’” Ezekiel 30:13a
Is there a wake-up call or application for America?
The economy has consistently been one of America’s major priorities. There is already tremendous division between political factions on how to solve America’s economic challenges. None of the solutions offered; however, involve seeking God’s wisdom.
Exciting times lie ahead for America!
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