THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Isaiah: Jahweh Is Salvation
Part XXIX: Learning Utterly To Shun All False Idols Of Security
A. Isaiah's name means "God Is Salvation," and one key step one must take in relating to God as one's Savior is to avoid relying on popular "crutches" or idols for stability and security versus relying on the Lord.
B. Egypt in Isaiah's era was a popular "crutch" idol for security for the people of Judah, and we learned in our last lesson (Isaiah 19:1-15) that God wanted Judah to avoid such false security idols in favor of trusting in Him.
C. However, "avoiding" is not a strong enough word for God, for He despises idolatry that competes against Him, and Isaiah 19:16-25 shows how God wants His people utterly to shun such false idols (as follows):
II. Learning Utterly To Shun All False Idols Of Security, Isaiah 19:16-25.
A. After God said He would judge Egypt by an Assyrian invasion, ending Egypt's appeal as a popular crutch idol for Judah to use in countering its own fear of Assyria (Isaiah 19:1-15), He foretold how He would transform Egypt and all the nations by trials to purge them from either heeding or being crutch idols for Judah's people.
B. This prediction is offered in Isaiah 19:16-25 (as follows):
1. First, instead of Egypt being Judah's security haven from Assyria, God would reverse the roles, bringing even every Gentile nation under Judah's control in the future Messianic Kingdom, Isaiah 19:16-17:
a. Opposite her false self-confidence, Egypt in the future Messianic Kingdom would tremble with fear before Judah as the Egyptians realized Judah's people were under the hand of the Lord of hosts, Isa. 19:16.
b. In addition to Egypt, every Gentile nation to whom Judah would be mentioned would fear because of what Judah's God had planned against them in terms of judgment for sin, Isaiah 19:17.
2. Second, instead of Egypt offering security as an idolatrous nation, God planned to make Egypt give its allegiance unto the Lord as opposed to holding to false idols, Isaiah 19:18:
a. The mention of the five Egyptian cities represents the nation, so the Egyptians will speak the language of Canaan, or Hebrew, so as to offer sacrifices in Jerusalem unto Israel's God as they will need to have a working knowledge of Hebrew to be involved in that worship, Isa. 19:18a; B. K. C., O. T., p. 1066-1067.
b. Even one of the Egyptian cities called the city of the Sun (NIV ftn.; Ibid., p. 1067), or Heliopolis where Egypt in Isaiah's day worshiped their great sun god, would worship Judah's true God, a remarkable testimony to Egypt's genuine change of heart from pagan idolatry to worship the Lord, Isa. 19:18b; Ibid.
3. Third, opposite Egypt's being a haven of security for Judah's people amid the onslaught of foreign invaders, God Himself would save her from oppression, with Egypt truly trusting in Him, Isaiah 19:19-22:
a. In the Messianic Kingdom, there would be an altar to the Lord in Egypt and a monument to the Lord at its border, Isaiah 19:19a. This monument would be a sign and a witness unto the Lord akin to how the Transjordan tribes in Joshua's day built an altar at their border with the other tribes at the Jordan to signify their allegiance to the Lord on the other side of the river in Joshua 22:1-34; Isaiah 19:20a.
b. When Egypt will then cry to the Lord for deliverance from an oppressor (Isaiah 19:20b), acknowledging God and worshiping Him, He will send her a deliverer and a defender to rescue her, Isaiah 19:20c-21.
c. The Lord will also strike Egypt with a plague to discipline her people but then heal them when they repent, turning to the Lord with pleas for mercy, and He will then graciously heal them, Isaiah 19:22 ESV.
d. Fourth, in place of Egypt and Assyria being powerful foreign powers that tempted the people of Judah to trust in one or the other for protection, God would transform these nations into peaceful countries that will be subject to God at Jerusalem: a highway will run from Egypt through Israel and on to Assyria, uniting these once three competing nations in a holy, humble fellowship with God's words of blessing that will say: "Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance," Isa. 19:23-25 NIV.
Lesson: Not only would God judge Egypt, dismantling it as a false crutch idol of national security for Judah, He planned to transform this proud, self-sufficient nation by trials into becoming a humble, God-fearing nation that would look to the Lord alone for its own deliverance, security and blessing. Indeed, God planned to transform all the Gentile nations, Assyria included, thus to worship and to trust in Him in true humility. This prediction was designed to teach Judah in Isaiah's day utterly to shun viewing any Gentile nation as a false idol security crutch.
Application: May we not only avoid false crutches of security, but utterly shun them all to rely on the Lord alone!