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Pastor Steve Ellison
As we continue our journey through the Bible examining the questions that God asks of various individuals and groups, we come to Isaiah 19, which is a prophecy against Egypt. In the first half of the chapter, God gave the Egyptians a warning regarding what He was about to do to their country. He gave a detailed account of what was about to happen to them. The mighty Nile which was Egypt’s source of life in all areas was going to fail them.
About halfway through the chapter, God turned His attention to the so-called wisdom of the leaders of Egypt. God bluntly declared that the government officials were deceived, fools who were only able to give stupid and senseless advice to the Pharaoh. God used graphic terms in describing their ineptness. He said these national leaders were leading the country to stagger around like a drunkard staggers in his vomit.
God gets around to asking a question in Isaiah 19:11-12, The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools; the wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice. How can you say to Pharaoh, “I am one of the wise men, a disciple of the ancient kings”? Where are your wise men now?Let them show you and make known what the Lord Almighty has planned against Egypt. (NIV) These royal officials, advisors to Pharaoh and self-proclaimed wise men, had run out of answers. God issued a challenge that no man can answer. He told them to read His mind, to predict what He was about to do. Of course, they could not take that challenge. No one could. No person can conceive of the mind of God. How foolish of them in that day! How foolish of us in this day!
Today, in the age of instant mass communication, we look around and see chaos, looting, and senseless violence in the streets. We see anarchy arise in a matter of hours. Just when things seem to be moving in one direction, in a heartbeat these same events move in exactly the opposite direction. We cannot even figure out what is happening in the present, much less predict what is about to take place. We cannot even predict the consequences of that which we see happening before our very eyes. Our own so-called wisdom is nothing but foolishness, leading us around in blind staggers.
Even though we cannot fully comprehend world events, much less predict, or alter them, we must not despair. We must not focus on them. They are only a distraction. Their purpose is to turn us to Him who knows all and controls all. Psalm 2 gives us a great perspective on this matter. Psalms 2:1-6 says, Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!” He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.” (NASU) In case we missed it, Acts 4 quotes this passage and specifically applies it to God’s redemptive work through Christ on the cross, which He accomplished through the evil deeds of evil men. Those first century human instruments, who accomplished the crucifixion of Christ, had no idea what God was up to through them.
No matter what man does and does not do, God’s purposes will be accomplished. Surely evil men and evil nations do things that God opposes. Surely, they deserve punishment. Surely, they will eventually receive it. Far more surely, God is sovereign over all and is at work accomplishing His redemptive purposes.