Humility for the Haughty
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “I will restore the fortunes of Egypt and bring them back to the land of Pathros, the land of their origin. There they will be a lowly kingdom. Egypt will be the lowliest of kingdoms and will never again exalt itself over the nations. I will make them so small they cannot rule over the nations.“ Ezekiel 39:14,15 HCSB
I recall visiting Egypt as part of a Israel tour sixteen years ago this month. It was awe inspiring to be in the land with such great history and impressive pyramids, and artifacts from the ancient world. Yet, in they year 2000, it seemed more like a “third world” country. While there were the streets packed with cars and commerce taking place, as we traveled around the country outside of Cairo, the poverty and lack of quality of life for the citizen was evident.
I found myself asking, “what happened to this once great culture?” Just doing some cursory internet research, it appears that question has not been fully answered, even today. We can observe the history of the invasions by the Assyrians, Greeks and the conquest of the Roman Empire; but there seems to be more “under the surface.”
The Bible gives us some insight. At the height of its power, Egypt was seen as a place of refuge. We see Abraham visiting Egypt. We see the children of Jacob, due to Joseph’s elevation finding refuge in Egypt and then becoming slaves. Slaves that helped build some great buildings and monuments. We see Solomon taking a wife of Pharaoh to secure his throne. Without a doubt Egypt was a world power with an intimidating military and a prosperous land that proved to be a place of hope for people in need.
So much so, that it was easy for God’s people in Israel to trust in Egypt’s power and privileged status more than in the Lord God. As a result, due to this and because of their arrogance, the Lord pronounces judgment on Egypt. They would experience their own exile, be returned to the land, but would never rise to the level of prominence and prosperity for which they were known and admired.
We can observe in scripture, that God knows the affairs of the nations and is the Lord over all the nations of the world. Is the Lord still at work in the nations of the world today as he was in ancient times? In many ways the United States is like Egypt of the ancient world. A world power that was the envy of other peoples of the world.
An article on Egypt’s demise from “The Journal of Historical Review” observes, “The one thing that we know with certainty about the causes of the collapse is that they were internal….What happened in Egypt was not a mere political upheaval to change the ruler or form of government; it was the ruin of a whole civilization through the collapse of its moral foundations.” (http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v15/v15n1p34_oliver.html)
The author of the article observes, “When civilization had come to Egypt, it must have seemed eternal. It was, of course, designed, like the pyramids, for all time….the earliest and most primitive form of civilized society is always socialism, with an omnipotent central government, a completely managed economy, and with inhabitants reduced to the kind of serfdom that our planners in Washington are now imposing, step by step, on the American people.”
We need to remember that the Lord is still the “God over the nations.” He allows to rise up those He desires to use and is able to bring down those who in the pride become overly self-sufficient and forget the God who allow them to gain such prosperity and success.
What the future holds for our country is yet to be seen. However, there is a growing sense that we will yet see in our lifetime that trajectory that our great nations will take. Will we become like Egypt of old or will we recognize that the blessings we enjoy have not come from our own might, power and resources, but from the Lord God, who has chosen our nation to be a light and beacon of hope for freedom in our world?
American is strong because it is good. When it ceases to be good, it will cease to be strong. Just look at the history of Egypt.
Prayer for today… “Lord, we stand in awe of Your ways. You are the God of the whole earth and the kingdoms of man. You use nations for Your purposes. Help us to understand that what we have in our land is from the benevolence of Your hand. Enable a spirit of humility to be restored to our land that we may enjoy Your blessings, be continue to be used by You and to be protected by You sovereign will.”