Isaiah 31 - Do Not Trust In Egypt
Sermon Notes by Joel C. Rosenberg
|By:||Joel Rosenberg||Category:||Sermon Notes|
|Date:||Wednesday, July 11th, 2012||Topics:||Revelation, Prophecy, Muslims, Land of Israel, Joel Rosenberg, Israel and the Church, Israel, Government, eschatology, End Times|
Related sermon: Isaiah 31 - Do Not Trust in Egypt
ISAIAH 31: “DO NOT TRUST IN EGYPT”
Sermon Notes, by Joel C. Rosenberg
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- Mohammed Morsi. Until recently, most people had never heard the name. Now this senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood is the newly elected President of Egypt.
- The Muslim Brotherhood is one of the original Radical Islamic organizations in the Middle East, founded in Egypt in the 1920s and driven by the belief that “Islam is the answer and jihad is the way.” Morsi believes in destroying Israel and conquering all infidels. He believes in imposing Shariah law upon the people of Egypt, preparing for an Islamic kingdom or “caliphate” and uniting with other Muslims throughout the region to defeat Christianity and Judaism.
- The rise of Morsi to power — and the election of Muslim Brotherhood members to a majority of the Egyptian parliament — is a 90 year dream and goal of the Radical Muslims and could come to represent the Sunni Arab equivalent of the Islamic Revolution led by Shia Persians in Iran in 1979.
- The rise of Morsi and the Brotherhood poses a new and serious threat to Israel on its southern flank. Egypt is not likely to be in a position to pose a strategic, existential threat to Israel in the near term. But the new Radical Islamic government in Cairo could allow a new wave of terrorist attacks from Egyptian soil (primarily from the Sinai desert).
- The new regime is a significant departure from the Mubarak regime which while authoritarian wasn’t not made up of militant Islamists. Indeed, the Mubarak regime was quietly allied with Israel, the Saudis and the emirs in the Gulf in strong opposition to Iran getting nuclear weapons. Now, Morsi could theoretically make common cause with the mullahs in Iran and other rising Islamists in the region.
- The Prime Minister of Israel and his senior advisors are now having to dramatically rethink Israeli security strategy in the light of the fact that they can no longer count on a secure border with Egypt.
- In this context, let’s begin by reading Isaiah 31
- This a key passage in Scripture relating to Israel and Egypt.
- Let’s specifically consider verses 1 through 3. “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses,and trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the Lord! Yet He also is wise and will bring disaster and does not retract His words, but will arise against the house of evildoers and against the help of the workers of iniquity. Now the Egyptians are men and not God, and their horses are flesh and not spirit; so the Lord will stretch out His hand, and he who helps will stumble and he who is helped will fall, and all of them will come to an end together.”
- To better understand Isaiah 31, it’s worth studying Isaiah 30, as well.
- Again, consider the first three verses of the chapter. “Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the Lord, “Who execute a plan, but not Mine and make an alliance, but not of My Spirit in order to add sin to sin; who proceed down to Egypt without consulting Me, to take refuge in the safety of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt. “Therefore the safety of Pharaoh will be your shame and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation…..”
- To be clear, God loves Egypt and Israel. God loves the people of Egypt and the people of Israel and all the people of the epicenter, just as He loves all the people of the world (see John 3:16).
- But throughout the Bible we find a long and complicated history between Israel and Egypt.
- There were times that God used Egypt to be a blessing to the nation of Israel. But there also times when the people of Israel leaned too much on Egypt, relied too heavily on Egypt, trusted too much in power and prosperity of Egypt. There were times that the nation of Israel trusted in Egypt more than in the Lord. And that was wrong.
- In Genesis 12, the Lord sovereignly chooses Abram, a Hebrew, and calls Abram to follow Him, and serve Him. The Lord promises to take Abram “to the land which I will show you” (Israel), and make Abram a “great nation,” and bless Abram, and “make your name great,” and make Abram and his descendants a blessing to “all the families of the earth.” And the Abram believed the Lord, and followed the Lord, and the Lord kept his unconditional covenant to Abram and his family.
- But in Genesis 12 we also learn that there was a famine in the land of Canaan “so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there.” (12:10).
- Note that the text does not say Abram prayed about whether he should go to Egypt.
- Note that the text does not say the Lord told Abram to go to Egypt.
- Abram just went, and lied along the way, and sinned and disobeyed the Lord.
- This was the first of numerous examples of the Hebrew people’s complicated relationship with Egypt.
- In Genesis 16 we learn that Abram and Sarah had a maid from Egypt named Hagar, whom Abram sleeps with and has a child.
- In Genesis 37 through 47 we learn the story of Joseph, who was forced to go to Egypt, and was mistreated there, but then rises to become effectively the Prime Minister of Egypt and helps save the people of Israel and the people of Egypt and the region. Not a positive story initially, though the Lord was very merciful. Indeed, in Genesis 46:3, the Lord told Jacob to go to Egypt and not to be afraid.
- The book of Exodus, of course, tells us the drama of the 400+ year slavery of the Jews in Egypt, and the dramatic Passover and escape of the Jews.
- In 1 Kings 3:1 we learn the story of King Solomon who is so wise, and so in love with the Lord, but he forms an alliance with Egypt by marrying an Egyptian woman even though the Lord made clear repeatedly that the Israelites were not supposed to marry foreign women lest they end up following foreign gods. Yet Solomon did so anyway.
- In Jeremiah 42 through 46 we read the story of the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah warning leaders of Israel not to go down to Egypt to find refuge from the Babylonians lest they suffer and be destroyed. Yet the leaders of Israel did not listen to the word of the Lord. A truly tragic story.
- In Matthew chapter 2 we learn the story of the Lord telling Joseph and Mary to take Jesus to Egypt for protection. Joseph and Mary only went to Egypt because the Lord told them. They didn’t hide in Egypt of their own accord. Their trust was wholly in the Lord, and the Lord directed them to Egypt as a blessing.
- So clearly, there are times the Lord used Egypt to be a blessing, and other times the people of Israel trusted too much in Egypt, and didn’t truly trust the Lord.
- The Hebrew prophet Isaiah made it clear to the people of Israel: “The Lord of hosts will protect Jerusalem. He will protect and deliver it; He will pass over and rescue it.” (31:5)
- What’s more, Isaiah urged Israel to repent and turn back to fully trusting in the God of Israel — to rely on Him, to depend on Him, to trust in Him, to hope in Him, to lean on Him for peace and security and provision, not on anyone or anything else.
- “Return to Him from whom you have deeply defected, O sons of Israel.” (31:6)
- What does all this mean for us today? A few thoughts:
- First, the Lord does not want modern Israel to lean on, rely, trust in Egypt for security. I’m grateful for the 1979 Camp David peace treaty between Israel and Egypt and for the three decades of peace it has provided on Israel’s southern border. But this is coming to an end and Israelis need to come to grips with the concept of a Radical Islamic regime to its south.
- Second, the Lord is going to begin to wean Israel off of dependance upon the United States. America has, in a sense, become a modern day “Egypt” for Israel. Israelis have come to lean on, rely upon, trust in U.S. military, intelligence, diplomatic and financial assistance to provide security for the Jewish State. But prophetically we know this will come to an end. In Ezekiel 38-39 during the “War of Gog and Magog,” the Bible indicates that not a single nation will come to Israel’s defense when the Russian-Iranian alliance comes against Israel in “the last days.” What’s more, the Hebrew prophet Daniel and the Book of Revelation tells us that during the Tribulation the Antichrist will invade and conquer Israel (“the beautiful land”) and no nation will come to Israel defense. Thus, we know that we are heading for a day when Israel will be all alone in the world. That means the U.S. will eventually abandon or turn against Israel. This is a sad and painful truth, but it is true nonetheless.
- Third, the reason the Lord will allow the U.S. and other nations to abandon Israel and/or turn against her is to create a situation in which Israelis find themselves all alone. The Lord God wants all Israelis to repent, to return to faith and trust in Him, not in the U.S., or Egypt, or any other power. The Lord wants Israelis to realize that their only hope for peace, security, and eternal salvation is in God the Father and Jesus the Messiah.
- Fourth, those of us who are Americans should continue to pray for our government to stand by Israel and bless Israel. We need to continue to do all we can to encourage Washington to never abandon or turn against Israel. In Genesis 12:1-3, we learn that God will bless those who bless Abram’s descendants, and He will curse those who curse them. Given America’s many troubles, challenges and sins — given how close we are to implosion — we dare not abandon or turn against Israel now. To do so could be the last straw. So we must press forward prayerfully and politically to urge America to be a strong ally to Israel and the Jewish people. But we must recognize that there will come a day when despite our best efforts, the Lord will allow America to go the wrong way.
- Fifth, we must pray for all the people of Israel to turn to their Messiah, the Lord Jesus, and seek Him while He may be found. We need to pray that every Jewish heart (and Muslim and Hindu and Buddhist, and agnostic heart, etc) will be opened by the Holy Spirit to the fact that Yeshua (Jesus) is the way, the truth and the life, and no one can come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). Let us not be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes, to the Jew first and then also to the Gentile (Romans 1:16). The Lord is jealous for His people. He wants them to return to Him, to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. He wants them to trust in Him, not in Egypt, America or anyone or anything else.
- Sixth, let us also pray for the Lord to bless the Palestinians and all the Arab and Persian neighbors and enemies of Israel, that they too would hear the Gospel and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation. God surely loves them and we must love them, too.
- Seventh, let us also pray for the Jewish and Arab believers who live in Israel and throughout the epicenter that the Lord would strengthen them, encourage them, teach them His Word, give them His boldness, and open doors for them to love and serve their neighbors, share the Gospel, make disciples, train new pastors, and plant new congregations. Jesus is building His church, and we are called to come to His side and do our part.
Finally, here’s a question for you, wherever you live: In whom are you trusting for your hope, peace and eternal security? May you turn wholly and completely to the Lord Jesus Christ today, to the Word of God found in the Bible, and seek Him with all your heart.
Copyright 2012, Joel C. Rosenberg