12/06/2010

God Strikes, God Heals (Isaiah 19); Trust God, Not Man (Isaiah 20)

The 5th oracle concerns Egypt (Isa 19:1-20:6). Judah turned to Egypt for deliverance from Assyria. But God, whom Judah overlooked, has the power both to judge and to save Egypt, to strike them (Isa 19:1-15), and heal them (Isa 19:16-25), as a good parent disciplines a child for their betterment. Isa 19:22 says, "The LORD will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the LORD, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them."

God Reveals His Purpose Against Egypt (Isa 19:1-15)

Egypt disintegrates because of idolatry on the inside (Isa 19:1-3; Eze 14:3), and is oppressed from the outside (Isa 19:4). Because of idolatry fellow citizens and family members fight against each other (Isa 19:2). Egypt's primary economic base, the Nile, will be dried up (Isa 19:5-10). Though famous for her wisdom (Isa 19:11-15), Egypt became utterly foolish, giving senseless and stupid counsel (Isa 19:11) due to their ignorance of God's judgment upon them, while thinking they were still wise (Rom 1:22,23).

God will eventually Restore Egypt and the Nations (Isa 19:16-25)

The 6-fold use of "in that day" indicates that one inevitable day in the future Egypt will turn to the true God. She will experience God's saving intervention (Isa 19:19-22), just as Israel did during the period of the judges (Judg 3:9; 1 Sam 12:11). God "will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them" (Isa 19:20; 43:11; Neh 9:27).

God will Expose the Futility of Trusting in Man (Isa 20:1-6)

Repeatedly through out Isaiah, God exposes the futility of man-centered hopes. Judah relied on Egypt for protection from Assyria (Isa 20:5). So through Isaiah going stripped and barefoot for 3 years (Isa 20:2,3), signifying disgrace and humiliation and the defeat of Egypt (Isa 20:4), God would give them a visual lesson of their foolishness in trusting in Egypt, instead of God (Isa 20:6).

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