We’re into 4 chapters of judgement on Egypt.
It opens with an elegant simile likening Egypt to a crocodile, with God as crocodile hunter, pulling it out of the river that allows it to thrive and leaving it in a field where it is weak and struggles.
And Egypt’s glory days never really did return after the Babylonians attacked and exiled them.
There’s a few things going on here that subverted my thinking.
This is another exile, being presented as God’s teaching another country a lesson. Israel’s exile is so profoundly tied to the revelation of God’s salvation plan, I tended to think it was unique.
Mind you, Egypt’s weakening and exile is also a lesson for Israel, an urgently relevant one. At the time the prophesy was made. They were trying to make alliances with Egypt to save them from the Babylonians. Big mistake, trust God not man.
I suppose God is caring about and shaping the narrative of all nations. I mean it says he does, but the Bible doesn’t often expose the untold stories. You tend to assume he’s only working on the chosen people.
God’s attitude to the Babylonians surprised me too. The siege on Tyre lasted 13 exhausting years and the wealthy merchants who ran the city sailed away to a nearby island with most of the valuable stuff,
So God says he is giving them Egypt without much fight as a kind of payment. A reward for the effort on Tyre, because they did it for God.
God showing concern that Babylon be rewarded for their efforts is strange to me, but sure seems to tell of his loving nature.
It reminds me of how I found the moment in Joshua 5:14 so pivotal, where the angel says God is on neither side of the conflict over the promised land.
A theme of the old testament is that wealth and prosperity leads to spiritual poverty, and losing everything material leads to spiritual renewal.
I’ve been thinking about that, as a big financial deal is going ahead that will give our church a big income. Danger ahead!
Goodies, baddies, success, failure. The Bible is telling us that nothing is as it seems.
The world is like groundhog day, set up to be generational, to restart over and over. And the specifics don’t matter a bit compared to the spiritual meta-journey.
That movie blends a little more of god’s view, eternity, into human experience than is normal, and so it draws out different implications of being both mortal and eternal.
God loves the Babylonians and the Canaanites too. We don’t comprehend God’s love with our natural instincts. God has to bless us with spiritual insight. And he does, the whole world, in different levels.