Our Old Testament reading today continues with a range of messages (prophecies) to the nations, today Isaiah moves on to address Egypt. I found this chapter to be quite powerful, the might of the Lord is revealed against Egypt, bringing down their cities, crops, rivers, livelihoods, intellect and rulers. It is a dire scene of judgement that ‘makes Egypt stagger as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit’ (v14).
And yet, that is not the end of the story… God somehow, miraculously, turns judgement into healing. The Egyptians in their weakened state ‘will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them’ (v22).
And yet STILL it is not the end of the story…. Perhaps most baffling and miraculous of all, God not only heals Egypt but subsequently blesses them…’Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance’. These are the nations that oppressed the nation Israel, sold her into slavery, waged war upon her and systematically destroyed her… yet here is the Lord, including them as equals! What a stark and wonderful vision of God’s intent to reconcile even gentiles into his salvation plan! God’s plan of salvation history reconciles his enemies (us!) through Christ’s death.
…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8)
This is indeed foolishness to the world’s way of thinking, yet that very ‘foolishness’ – the wisdom of God – brings us life!
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Cor 1:18)
This is the eternal message of salvation – demonstrated throughout the millennia. Let us rejoice in Christ’s victory and the wonderful, ‘foolish’ grace of God!
In our New Testament reading today, the gospel continues to spread out across ‘all the residents of Asia’ (v10). In some places this brings extraordinary miracles and change of life and in other places extraordinary imitation and deception… and through it all ‘the word of the Lord continue to increase and prevail mightily‘ (v20)
As we read through the word each day, may we ask God to change our lives and allow his word to prevail mightily!