“And the spirit of Egypt shall fail…” (Isaiah 18: 3)
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Cor.3: 17)
As one Arabian country after another began resisting the established rule of tyrants & dictators, and revolution broke out in almost a domino effect, how could we not see the deep & impassioned cry for liberty therein? Though many have suggested Muslim Brotherhood manipulation – and very possibly there was/is – still, weren’t the consequent eruptions of rebellion, though violent, the result of a desire for the long-withheld freedom God intended man to have? Whether these people knew the God in which I believe or not, they knew what they were missing as far as their personal liberty was concerned. Man was created to grow & function within certain environments, be they emotional, spiritual, environmental or social, and when key elements are missing in any of these environments, one way or another we feel that pain.
Fights erupt, battles are fought, wars are waged for different reasons. Opposing sides clash in a contest of wills & goals. It seems to me, though, that all conflicts are fueled to some degree by the universal desire for freedom. Freedom to live as one chooses, where one chooses – in fact, freedom to choose! - freedom to pursue happiness…now where have we heard that before? Oh, right, the Declaration of…what? Independence.
One more time…Independence.
Enter an adversary. Or, the Adversary…who will obstruct your plans, your rights. In whatever way will work for him/her/them, an adversary is out to get you, or what belongs to you, be it possessions, property, relationships, well-being or your life. Your enemy does not want to let you just live your life, free & unhindered. Through varied means, your enemy needs to try to control at least part of it.
I submit that the motivation provoking such actions is, essentially, jealousy. Coveting what one does not have, perhaps thinks they can’t get, and hating the one who can. Needing not to feel that loss or void, they contrive, manipulate & deceive to acquire the elusive prize…from you or someone else. Or, to put it another way, “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain…” (James 4:2)
I find it interesting that this section of Scripture houses words such as lust, kill, enmity, and envy, but immediately following these verses we see the appearance of the grace of God. Hmmm…if we are humble enough to receive His grace, perhaps we will find a way out of the whole lust/murder cycle.
Isaiah records much concerning Egypt of Old Testament times. I am not a student of Old Testament history, and so, not knowledgeable of exactly what it all means. For purposes of this article, let’s just say that ancient Egypt was a powerful, wealthy country, no stranger to wars & battles, and essentially Godless. Big on idols. Probably not a champion of human rights. And I’m pretty sure slavery didn’t cause Pharaoh and his crowd to lose any sleep at night. We would not call the Egypt of that day ‘the good guy’.
Chapter 19 of Isaiah begins with these words “The burden of Egypt.” I always get this onerous sense of dread whenever the word ‘burden’ shows up in prophetic Scriptures….usually not a harbinger of good things to come! (at least for one of the parties involved!) So it is here – “…the LORD shall…come into Egypt; and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.” Note that this reaction is just to His presence – He hasn’t even taken any actions yet. He just arrived on the scene. Afterwards of course, chaos ensues. But my point is that there comes a moment when He arrives. And things begin changing.
Which is what I suspect is the real force behind the Arab Spring.
In this world, in a material/technical or motivational sense, nothing exists apart from some form of impurity or pollution. That is simply the nature of earthly reality. But possible Islamic maneuverings aside, before or during, previously or at present (and I really have trouble believing that these maneuverings aren’t an element here, one way or another), I believe at root, the spirit of liberty that is found in the LORD, and which I believe is the same Spirit that powered the American Revolutionary War, is at work again today, in 2011, in these burdened lands of & around once-ancient Egypt.
“…God uses the sword for surgery, not anarchy.” (Eerdman’s Handbook to the Bible, pg.384)
I like the sound of that! This statement is made as part of a commentary on Chapter 19 of Isaiah, and points us forward in time and history. Though it has surely seemed impossible in the past, and hard to believe even now, God has plans for ‘Egypt’ that may surprise you. I know they’ve floored me…let’s move ahead to the end of this chapter.
“In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.” (v. 24,25)
With God, nothing shall be impossible.