Throughout this block of chapters (Isaiah 13-20), we’ve read about five different oracles, or prophecies about nations and events. Today, in chapter 19, we find one concerning Egypt. If you’re like me, these different prophecies can get confusing. The questions we all wrestle with:
Have these things already happened?
Is this about the future?
Can some of these prophecies be figurative, or is this all literal?
I strongly recommend a book to you if these are things you’ve asked. It’s called “According to Plan” by Graeme Goldsworthy. A great read that helps sift through prophecy scriptures and their role in the grand scheme of God’s glorious design of redemption through Jesus. Might be a good holiday read.
Back to today’s passage. There are a couple of things going on. God is first showing that he would bring an end to Egypt’s power, but it’s interesting that He doesn’t stop there. In v.16-25, He shows that He will restore Egypt.
“Isaiah envisions a Godward movement spreading from five cities in Egypt to that entire nation (v. 19) to the entire world (v. 23). speak the language of Canaan. Egyptians, who were prejudiced against Hebrews (Gen. 43:32), will adopt their language, melding with God’s people as one (cf. Gen. 11:1–9). the City of Destruction. See esv footnote, giving a strongly attested textual variant, “City of the Sun,” which would refer to Heliopolis, the center of the worship of Ra, the Egyptian sun-god. A culture of idolatry will swear allegiance to the Lord.” (ESV Study Bible)
What’s the point of these oracles/prophecies? Why so much repetition? A few reasons. First, God cares about the little details. He knows every hair on our head. He knows every grain of sand. No second or minute is outside of His knowledge. Second, the little details come together to make one awesome story. In the end, we will get to see the whole tapestry and we’ll realize just how unfathomable His ways really are. Finally, God reminds us — the Church — and the world that His sovereign hand will reign supreme. Nothing can overtake our unstoppable King. CPC, believe this and take hope in it today!
By: Todd Thomas — Worship & College Pastor