I woke early this morning and could not go back to sleep. This is rare for me – I have always been able to sleep well no matter the situation around me. In fact, I took a health survey at one point and the main finding was that I would have a tendency to fall asleep if I lay down in the afternoon. Somehow that has changed recently. I find myself uneasy on my job and in my church – generally restless. And so I will search for peace in the only place I know to look – God and His Word, the Bible.
In Isaiah 19-21, the prophet was issuing warnings to several different countries: Egypt, Ethiopia, Assyria, Babylon, Philistia, Edom, and Arabia. In the middle of those threats, there is a promise of redemption to Egypt and Assyria, a future when they too will serve the Lord in peace, as God’s children and special possession.
23 In that day Egypt and Assyria will be connected by a highway. The Egyptians and Assyrians will move freely between their lands, and they will both worship God. 24 In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth. 25 For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will say, “Blessed be Egypt, my people. Blessed be Assyria, the land I have made. Blessed be Israel, my special possession!
I’m not aware of any time in history when this prophecy has come close to being fulfilled.
- Does that mean it won’t ever be fulfilled? I don’t know. Christians point to many of his fulfilled prophecies, most notably Isaiah 7:14, “14 All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin[f] will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).“
- Does it depend on the response of the people of Egypt and Assyria? I would say, almost certainly. God reaches out to us and invites us to draw near to Him, but we must respond.
- Is this a figurative comparison of how God can give peace and hope to any individuals, groups or nations, even those who appear to stand directly opposed to God and His plans, purposes and ways? I think this is one way to understand it, but not the only way – perhaps we will see the day when Assyria, Egypt and Israel together serve the same God.
I am going to continue to look for God’s promise of peace in the readings in the days to come.