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THEN THEY WILL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD…These are God's Words, delivered through the Watchman Ezekiel, as He pronounced judgment on ancient Egypt. The phrase or its subject equivalent is used 68 times in the book of Ezekiel. Millennia later, her legendary pyramids now function as a tourist attraction viewed through the front window of the “Pizza Tut” across the street.

Once the wealthiest nation in the entire world, Egypt was also one of the most desired. A huge, beautiful oasis created by the Nile River, the nation stood proudly amid the desert on the east, west, and to the south. The lush Nile and its fertile 9582 square miles of rich black soil provided more than enough food and natural irrigation to sustain the people, even without rainfall. Add to that the iconic monuments of the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Great Sphinx, as well as Memphis, Thebes, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings, and Egypt must have seemed like heaven on earth!

What happened? In today’s lesson, the Watchman Ezekiel delivers God's Words of impending judgment upon the nation. His lament in the 32nd chapter begins on the 1st day of God's appointed 12th month, February 3 on our 2022 calendar, and continues through February 17, the 15th day of the biblical 12th month. "When I make Egypt desolate and strip the land of everything in it, when I strike down all who live there, then they will know that I am the Lord."

Centuries before, the Lord had repeated the same phrase over and again when pronouncing Ten Plagues on Egypt when they refused to release the Israelites from bondage. Even long after, when Israel was an established kingdom, God’s people still turned to the mighty nation for protection from other powerful enemies. The “straw that broke the camel’s back” was when King Zedekiah of the Southern Kingdom of Israel, Judah, couldn’t make up his mind which nation to align with for protection: Babylon or Egypt. The enraged Babylonians finally ended up warring against both Judah AND Egypt. Moral to the story: Don't wait too long to figure out that only the Almighty can protect you from your enemies.

Our lesson timeline begins around 586BC in the months that followed the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem. The prophet Ezekiel delivered a final eulogy for Egypt, announcing the death of the mighty nation at the hands of the Babylonians. "On the first day of the twelfth month in the twelfth year of exile, the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Son of man, sing this sad song about Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Say to him: ‘You thought you were like a powerful young lion walking proud among the nations. But really, you are like a dragon in the lakes. You push your way through the streams. You make the water muddy with your feet and stir up the rivers of Egypt.’” Ezekiel 32:1-2

“This is what the Lord God says: “I have gathered many people together. Now I will throw my net over you. Then those people will pull you in. Then I will drop you on the dry ground. I will throw you down in the field. I will let all the birds come and eat you. I will let wild animals from every place come and eat you until they are full. I will scatter your body on the mountains. I will fill the valleys with your dead body. I will pour your blood on the mountains, and it will soak down into the ground. The rivers will be full of you. I will make you disappear. I will cover the sky and make the stars dark. I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not shine. I will darken the lights in the sky over you. I will make your whole country dark. This is what the Lord God said.” Ezekiel 32:3-8

Most likely, the graphic description seemed cruel and heartless by most within earshot of Ezekiel’s prophecies. But it wasn’t like the people were just hearing this for the first time. The Lord had said this about the nation of Egypt earlier in Ezekiel 29:9-16: “‘Because you said, “The Nile is mine; I made it,” therefore I am against you and against your streams, and I will make the land of Egypt a ruin and a desolate waste from Migdol to Aswan, as far as the border of Cush. The foot of neither man nor beast will pass through it; no one will live there for forty years. I will make the land of Egypt desolate among devastated lands, and her cities will lie desolate forty years among ruined cities. And I will disperse the Egyptians among the nations and scatter them through the countries.”

“‘Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says: At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the nations where they were scattered. I will bring them back from captivity and return them to Upper Egypt, the land of their ancestry. There they will be a lowly kingdom. 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. Egypt will no longer be a source of confidence for the people of Israel but will be a reminder of their sin in turning to her for help. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.’”

And so, the word of the Lord came to pass. Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians invaded the country and decimated the entire Nile Valley, exiling survivors to surrounding nations for 40 years. Over millennia, surviving Egypt was destined to be no more than a colony for the Greek, Persian, and Roman, Arab, Ottoman, and European nations.

But it wasn’t just the nation of Egypt that had angered the Lord, it was all their “hordes” of good buddies. We read the account of the hordes in Ezekiel 32:17-31. ”In the twelfth year, on the fifteenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, wail for the hordes of Egypt and consign to the earth below both her and the daughters of mighty nations, along with those who go down to the pit. Say to them, ‘Are you more favored than others? Go down and be laid among the uncircumcised.’ They will fall among those killed by the sword. The sword is drawn; let her be dragged off with all her hordes. From within the grave the mighty leaders will say of Egypt and her allies ‘They have come down and they lie with the uncircumcised, with those killed by the sword.’”

Who can miss the stinging sarcasm in the words of this scripture as it sounds like the “good ‘ole boys” will all be greeting Egypt when she joins them down in the grave!

“Assyria is there with her whole army, …” They aren’t spreading terror anymore. God’s own brand of terror fell on them when an unexpected flood made their city vulnerable to a Babylonian invasion 50 or so years earlier. The Lord told Judah not to trust in Assyria as their deliverer when the threat from Syria and Israel came. “The remnant of Israel . . . will never again depend on him who defeated them, but will depend on the Lord” Isaiah 10:20.

“Elam is there …” The Elamites were a nation living east of the Tigris River and north of the Persian Gulf. They had left the land of the living 60 years earlier. But it seems some things will always follow you, even to the grave. “Because their terror had spread in the land of the living, they bare their shame with those who go down to the pit…”

“Meshech and Tubal are there…” In the very beginning Magog, Meshech, and Tubal were sons of Japheth (son of Noah) who migrated north into the area that is now occupied by modern Russia. They also spread terror in the land of the living. Unfortunately for them, there’s not much terror they can deliver from the grave, even though they were buried with their swords under their heads.

“Edom is there, her kings and all her princes…” But there’s not much to rule down in the pit! “Because Edom took revenge on the house of Judah and became very guilty by doing so, therefore this is what the Sovereign Lords says… I will take vengeance on Edom by the hand of my people Israel…” Ezekiel 5:12-14. The entire book of Obadiah talks only about Edom and their intense national hated of Judah. No one know exactly what happened to Edom. They are just gone.

“All the princes of the north and all the Sidonians are there…” These folks were also well-known for spreading terror. This mindset may deliver temporary power, but it guarantees your arrival to the grave in disgrace. 1 Kings 11 also provides earlier history on why the Almighty was angered. “Now king Solomon loved many foreign women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites… For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians.”

“Pharoah—he and all his army—will see them and be consoled for all his hordes that were killed by the sword, declares the Sovereign Lord.”

Hopefully the ancient Assyrians, Sidonians, and all the other “hordes”, and the once mighty Egyptians, have taught us invaluable lessons today. The haughty nation who thinks they are a "powerful young lion walking proud among the nations", can very quickly be reduced to just a mere shadow of what they once were.

But God has always had a perfect plan in place for all generations and all nations of the entire world. Christianity was introduced to Egypt through the Disciple Mark. By the 4th century, it had become a dominant force in Egypt. Today there are 16,250,000 Christians in Egypt. 

God's judgment is perfect and will be exacted as He has proven throughout the course of history. Because of His great love, He has given the whole world the chance to know Him as God the Father through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. "The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them…” John 3:35-36


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Fontana Dam, NC 28733

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