Learning the Hard Way

(Today’s post by Chris Queen)

Ezekiel 29-30

learnhardwyYou know, throughout the Old Testament, it seems like the Israelites were always obsessed with Egypt. Back in Exodus, God had rescued His people from slavery there, and they weren’t far away when the whiniest among them were crying to go back! After they were in the Promised Land, Israel’s Egypt obsession kept getting them in trouble.

By the time of Ezekiel, God had had enough, and He tasked Ezekiel with prophesying against Pharaoh.

3 Speak to him and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “‘I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, you great monster lying among your streams. You say, “The Nile belongs to me; I made it for myself.” 4 But I will put hooks in your jaws and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales. I will pull you out from among your streams, with all the fish sticking to your scales. 5 I will leave you in the desert, you and all the fish of your streams. You will fall on the open field and not be gathered or picked up. I will give you as food to the beasts of the earth and the birds of the sky.

6 Then all who live in Egypt will know that I am the Lord. “‘You have been a staff of reed for the people of Israel. 7 When they grasped you with their hands, you splintered and you tore open their shoulders; when they leaned on you, you broke and their backs were wrenched.

8 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will bring a sword against you and kill both man and beast. 9 Egypt will become a desolate wasteland. Then they will know that I am the Lord.  “‘Because you said, “The Nile is mine; I made it,” 10 therefore I am against you and against your streams, and I will make the land of Egypt a ruin and a desolate waste…

Later on, God gave Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar as a reward for defeating one of Israel’s enemies, sent more prophecies against Egypt to Ezekiel, broke both Pharaoh’s arms, and delivered more prophecies.

God’s hatred for Israel was no secret. And one theme that emerges over and over in these chapters is what I call Egypt’s godless arrogance. Pharaoh had the audacity to take credit for creating the Nile! Even having seen God’s handiwork, he refused to acknowledge God, and his people paid the price for it.

We see the declaration, “Then they will know I am the Lord” throughout these prophecies. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to gain that knowledge in the way the Egyptians did! There’s something to be said for avoiding learning lessons the hard way.

Do you acknowledge God’s hand and presence in your life? If not, what prevents you from doing so, and how can you change it?

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