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God’s Word for You

Isaiah 19:5-11

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The prophecy about Egypt continues…

5 The waters of the river will dry up,
and the riverbed will be parched and dry.
6 The canals will stink;
the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up.
The reeds and rushes will wither,
7 also the plants along the Nile,
at the mouth of the river.
Every sown field along the Nile
will become parched, will blow away and be no more.
8 The fishermen will groan and lament,
all who cast hooks into the Nile;
those who throw nets on the water
will pine away.
9 Those who work with combed flax will despair,
the weavers of fine linen will lose hope.
10 The workers in cloth will be dejected,
and all the wage earners will be sick at heart.

The Nile was everything to Egypt. It was the source of all of Egypt’s water and therefore all of Egypt’s animals, business, crops and every other part of Egyptian society. Without the Nile, Egypt would be nothing but a barren corner of the Sahara desert. Egypt’s great riches were due to the fantastic blessing of the Nile—but the dependence on the Nile put all of Egypt’s eggs into one basket.

And yet, the Nile itself wasn’t the one who blessed Egypt; the Nile was simply the channel through which God poured out blessings. And God used Egypt’s wealth to sustain his people Israel when they needed it. The Nile wasn’t the problem with Egypt. The problem was within the hearts of the Egyptians.

God warned his people through Moses:

“17 You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ 18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today. 19 If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the LORD destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the LORD your God.” (Deuteronomy 8:17-20)

The prophet Haggai also warned about where in our hearts we put God when it comes to our budgets and our money (Haggai 1:2-6). A man’s prosperity means nothing if he is spiritually bankrupt. We turn to Christ because he is truly God, and we gladly serve him, pray to him, and rely on him. Egypt was guilty of sinning the way Job had described: “They say…‘Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?’ But their prosperity is not in their own hands” (Job 21:14-16).

11 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”? (NIV)

There is no other wisdom worth pursuing, if we don’t begin with the wisdom of God. The word of life is the only solution and the only medicine for our sin. God, the King of kings, has forgiven us our sins. We humbly and joyfully serve as his disciples.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.