Throughout Scripture, Egypt and their gods come in for a substantial amount of vituperation by God’s sundry spokesmen. Calling Jerusalem both Egypt and Sodom as a pejorative gives you some sense for the animus God has against their perversion of His truth.
Isaiah 19 is one of the most compact passages, denouncing and belittling Egyptian spirituality.
“The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools; the wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice. How can you say to Pharaoh, ‘I am one of the wise men, a disciple of the ancient kings’? Where are your wise men now? Let them show you and make known what the LORD Almighty has planned against Egypt. The officials of Zoan have become fools, the leaders of Memphis are deceived; the cornerstones of her peoples have led Egypt astray. The LORD has poured into them a spirit of dizziness; they make Egypt stagger in all that she does, as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit. There is nothing Egypt can do— head or tail, palm branch or reed. In that day the Egyptians will be like women. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the LORD Almighty raises against them.” Isaiah 19:11-16 NIV
However, as with most TV dramas, the middle of the story does not reflect either end. And in fact, God was there first, determining the immense Ruler gift of that land and bringing the right people to put down roots there (Acts 17:26) for His purposes.
The degree of God’s love for Egypt is seen in the fact that He has sustained them as a nation for millennia while most of their Biblical peers have become extinct, fading away into oblivion.
The reason for maintaining this nation even while God was furious at them for their perversion of His design is seen in the end of the story.
“In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. It will be a sign and witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. So the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the LORD. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the LORD and keep them. 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. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.” Isaiah 19:19-25 NIV
If my eschatology is right, this will be during the rebuilding of the world after the sheer horror of the Tribulation when the ecology of the world is ravaged by the hand of the Most High, and the governments, cultures and economies of the world are left in shambles.
In that worst possible scenario, Jesus Christ will reign from Jerusalem, but He will promote the Ruler nation of Egypt to be the number one nation in the world, followed by Assyria and Israel, in second and third place. (As a note of interest, there are large numbers of Assyrians in Chicago and in Turlock, California, as well as in sundry communities in Europe.)
For rebuilding the ruins, God will use a Ruler nation first, aided by an Exhorter nation and supported by the Giver nation.
As we take this picture of the Ruler nation shouldering the heavy load of rebuilding the world after the unparalleled judgment and connect it with the word “God-speed,” it reminds me of Nehemiah the Ruler, who used God-speed in rebuilding walls of Jerusalem. There is something remarkable about the Ruler gift!
Let’s acknowledge that we have an incomplete theological paradigm regarding the Egyptian Curse. We know that it is one of the big three. The Edomite Curse, the Babylonian Curse and the Egyptian Curse represent the devil’s perversion of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, respectively.
We have some markers for the Egyptian Curse when it is expressed in childbirth. There is the excessive pain which is packaged in a long, drawn out process.
We have seen the heavy burden of pain caused by sundry dynamics in our lives being slow walked by the Egyptian Curse and its associated demons. And, in the last ten days, we have seen a wide variety of small pictures of what the opposite of the Egyptian Curse looks like as burdens are lifted and the gifts of God are delivered with God-speed to us.
Let us be clear however, we have only a primitive idea of what the righteous side of the equation is. Clearly, for God to select Egypt from all the Ruler nations of the world to head the biggest rebuilding project in human history means He sees some magnificence and honor that we have no grasp of yet.
The pictures in Isaiah 19 are tantalizing.
-There is an altar in the midst of Egypt and a monument at the border. The nation that has been known for their iconic monuments from the past, will presumable raise the bar remarkably when they set about to honor the Son instead of the sun. One can only wonder what spiritually engineered marvel will eclipse the immensity of the pyramids.
-God will reveal Himself to the Egyptians! Of all the different kinds of outreach into the Middle East, the consistently most effective one is for Christ to show up at night in a dream or vision to a devout man or to an entire community. That revelation of Jesus Christ is powerful in terms of immediate salvation. BUT the Hebrew word used in verse 21 is yada’. It is the profound experiential knowing of God on a deep, personal level. This is no one-time vision. This will be a privileged nation, where God reveals Himself in a broad cross section of ways, so they don’t just revere Him from a lowly posture, but they KNOW their God intimately, as Nehemiah did. From that place of personalized revelation from the God who knows the Egyptian spirit and culture better than the Egyptians do, will come the unleashing of their spiritual destiny to be the rebuilders of the world, under the direction of Jesus Christ.
-What fascinates me the most is the fact that the Ruler and Exhorter tribes will worship together, commingling their gifts. Now, as a historian, I have a huge archive of information on the challenging dynamics of those two gifts arm wrestling history for supremacy, denying each other the treasure of partnership. But in the restoration, these two immense gifts will, under the wisdom and tutelage of the Master, learn to not only work together, but to combine their worship wisdom into a majestic paean of incomparable dimensions.
So today, I would like to introduce a new term into our vocabulary and that is the Blessing of Egypt. This is far richer than just God-speed and a commensurate reduction of pain. The rebuilding component is dwarfed by having a personal revelation of God in their own key of music, resulting in the treasures of their gifts being unleashed in the culture both with visible monuments and equally monumental acts of unique worship.
In our lives, we can apply this immediately. On the surface, there is the issue of brokenness. Many of us have been broken by the enemy at some point. Many more have been broken by the consequences of our own violation of principles. The Blessing of Egypt would reflect the work of our King through the culture around us to rebuild supernaturally what was shattered beyond belief.
When we are beaten and battered, our view of God degenerates into His being a need-meeting God. The Western church has become so focused on pain relief, that we have forgotten how to worship and our saccharine little praise ditties begin to sound all alike, eventually as odious as a dirge.
Imagine the Blessing of Egypt releasing a capacity in us to worship with immensity as our King deserves to be worshipped, not just praised.
But I am drawn most of all to God revealing Himself to us in the language of our own gift and journey. Twice in human history God revealed Himself in yada‘ terms to a nation. And the latter will be larger than the former by far.
Wrap your mind and spirit around the concept of the Blessing of Egypt meaning a revelation of Himself to yourself, customized to where you walk each day and to your unique design. We hear so much teaching that bumps up against our internal firewall of “Yes, BUT, he doesn’t understand me and my journey.” But our King does!
For now, savor the firstfruits of a new chapter in our journey toward establishing the Kingship of Jesus Christ over our tribe.
Copyright July 2015 by Arthur Burk
From the Hub, with fire and vision