Read: Ezekiel 29-32
It’s always interesting how God speaks to me as I read His words and attempt to listen to His voice. In the beginning, as I read through the verses, I catalog those that seem to capture the story and provide a synopsis of what is happening. I try to be concise, to appreciate the greater story within the details. By the end of the time, my thoughts are quite different from when I began. This morning I read these prophecies against Egypt and somehow ended up in Ephesians. Weird? I dunno. It’s just the way it works for me. I pray God will speak to you as you immerse yourself in his word and listen for his voice.
The scripture this morning includes significant amount of text is devoted to Ezekiel’s prophesies against Egypt, so many words, it must be important to unpack. The prophecies here span a little over two years and reveal God’s utter contempt for Egypt.
“Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt and prophesy against him and against all Egypt. Ezekiel 29:2
Ezekiel is given a strong vision for the demise of a powerful nation, words that would have sounded foolish to many at that time.
It will be the lowliest of kingdoms and will never again exalt itself above the other nations. I will make it so weak that it will never again rule over the nations. Ezekiel 29:15
Once again, God uses Nebuchadnezzar as an instrument of wrath.
I am going to give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will carry off its wealth. He will loot and plunder the land as pay for his army. I have given him Egypt as a reward for his efforts because he and his army did it for me, declares the Sovereign Lord. Ezekiel 29:19-20
“‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“‘I will destroy the idols
and put an end to the images in Memphis.
No longer will there be a prince in Egypt,
and I will spread fear throughout the land.
All the major cities of Egypt are named in the lament, “Cush and Libya, Lydia and all Arabia, Kub and the people of the covenant land will fall by the sword along with Egypt” (Ezekiel 30:5). From Migdol to Aswan, cities will lay in ruin.
- Zoan will be set on fire
- Pelusium will writhe in agony.
- Thebes will be taken by storm;
- Memphis will be in constant distress.
- Heliopolis and Bubastis will fall by the sword,
- Dark will be the day at Tahpanhes
This is no small feat! These are forces to be reckoned with.
Ezekiel has words specific to the Pharaoh:
Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt. I will break both his arms, the good arm as well as the broken one, and make the sword fall from his hand. Ezekiel 30:22
Then they will know that the Lord is The Lord.
Chapter 31 depicts Pharaoh as a great cedar tree that is cut down, poetic words that describe how the mighty have fallen.
no tree in the garden of God
could match its beauty.
I made it beautiful
with abundant branches,
the envy of all the trees of Eden
in the garden of God.
“‘Which of the trees of Eden can be compared with you in splendor and majesty? Yet you, too, will be brought down with the trees of Eden to the earth below; you will lie among the uncircumcised, with those killed by the sword.
“‘This is Pharaoh and all his hordes, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”
Chapter 32 provides a lament over Pharaoh, verses to remember how the mighty has fallen by the hand of the Sovereign Lord, the Creator of all. Ezekiel is told to say these words to Pharaoh, a tall order for a lowly prophet, or so it seems.
“‘You are like a lion among the nations;
you are like a monster in the seas
thrashing about in your streams,
churning the water with your feet
and muddying the streams.
I will throw you on the land
and hurl you on the open field.
I will let all the birds of the sky settle on you
and all the animals of the wild gorge themselves on you.
Seriously, I’m not sure I could ever have the courage to say such words to one of the most powerful men in the world. But Ezekiel has seen so much and he is confident he is just a vassal of the Lord. Amazing.
It strikes me how God uses individuals is such mighty ways. Paul speaks to us individually many times in his writing. This morning I was drawn to his words on unity in the church, he challenge for us to live out the life we were called to live.
But to each one of us
grace has been given
as Christ apportioned it.
This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”
Will you live out that which you are called to today? Lord, help us to live a life worthy of the calling we have received. (Ephesians 4:1). Help us to understand the gives you have given us and how it is they play a part in your magnificent musical.