The people are in a place where it is easy to panic and not trust God. Now the people are looking to Egypt and Isaiah is going to prophecy to them about what is going to happen with Egypt and why they should not put their trust in Egypt. Isaiah does not name the Kings during this time so exactly when this took place is unclear but one thing that is clear is that we should not put our hope in the ways of the world. Isaiah will prophecy about each aspect of Egypt that we tend to put our hope and trust in and show them how foolish it is God is the only solid rock (Isaiah 17:10) but the people keep looking to other things for salvation. We need to learn that there is only one Rock (Solid foundation) and that is found in God and God alone. What will you run to when your world is shaken? Many of us do not need convincing that our world is shaken but the reality is we still put our hope in other things besides God.
Isaiah 19:1 An oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.
“The Lord rides on a swift cloud,” which means that God is the one who is in control and “Behold” or “look” means to draw attention to what is happening. God is not hindered by anything and He quickly arrives wherever He pleases, and no obstacles can stand in His way. God is not like the Egyptian gods who stand still, and Isaiaheven uses a reference to Baalwho is said to ride on the clouds showing that God is the ruler of creation.How easily we are distracted to take our eyes off of God and put it back onto the world. The Israelites were led out of Egypt and saw miracle after miracle but when Moses was gone for too long they too put their eyes back on Egypt
Exodus 32:1-6 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2 So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden[a] calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” 6 And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.
Just like the children of Israel lost their focus and put their trust back into the idols of Egypt so we can look at our world and be convinced that the things of this world is what we need and the problem with this is that these things will not last. Isaiah explains to them what is going to happen to Egypt
1) The Worlds idols are shaken
“The idols of Egypt tremble” The people Isaiah was trying to convince to put their trust in God were putting their trust in foreign gods. The idols that the Egyptians put their trust in literally shake at the presence of God. Sometimes we as followers of Christ can look to the same idols the world tells us to put our hope in as we put our hope in the idol of money until an investment goes bad. We put our hope in the idol of health until a bad doctor report comes back.We put our hope in the idol of popularity until someone criticizes us and accuses us of things. We put our hope in the idol of achievement until we cannot accomplish what we set out to do.We put our hope in the idol of pleasure until those things no longer bring us the satisfaction, they promised they would bring. Nothing compares to God and although those things are not evil in and of themselves, we tend to put our hope in them instead of God. Whatever Idol you go to for comfort, peace or even direction will be shaken.
1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
“Idolatry is having any false god- any object, idea, philosophy, habit, occupation, sport, or whatever that has one’s primary concern and loyalty or that to any degree decreases one’s trust in and loyalty to the Lord.” (John MacArthur, 1 Corinthians, Pg 232-233)
“I trust God “ but I have a backup plan or the Bible and its ways are not relevant today. An idol is anything we turn to when we say that God is not enough. Having the right view of God is important and that is why Isaiah showed them that God is the one who rides on the clouds and that He is the one who is in control. Do not allow the things the world worships to draw your attention away from God and do not make what you are facing bigger than God.
19:2 And I will stir up Egyptians
against Egyptians, and they will fight, each against another and each against his neighbor, city against
city, kingdom against kingdom; and
the spirit of the Egyptians within them will be emptied out, and I will
counsel; and they will inquire of the idols and the sorcerers, and the mediums
and the necromancers; 4 and I will give over the Egyptians
into the hand of a hard master, and a fierce king will rule over them, declares the Lord God of hosts.
2) The Worlds relationships are shaken
“I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian” The people that Judah was looking to put their hope in Isaiah tells them that they are going to be going through a civil war. Social bonds are powerful, but we all have been part of situations where we are no longer friends or even family with people because of their actions. Many books have been written about relationships and how to keep them and the word of God also has a lot to say about relationships. Jesus even warns us that if you are going to follow Him then it might cost you family and friends.
Matthew 10:34-39 Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
In the book No God but One by Nabeel Quereshi he tells a story of a Saudi girl who became a Christian Sara Fatima al-Mutairi would be killed by her own brother
“Leaving Islam can cost you everything: family, friends, job, everything you have ever known, and maybe even life itself. Is it really worth sacrificing everything for the truth? The answer is simple: It depends on the value of the truth.” (No God but One, Nabeel Quereshi, PG 294)
Jesus did not make it sound that following Him would be easy and He knew that because some would follow Him it would cost them their families. We have to be careful to not place our hope in our relationships over our hope in God. Following God can cost you relationships in your own family, work, and school. When our hope is in our relationships then we will bow down to people and their desires even if their desires go against God’s desires.
Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Sometimes peace with some people is not always up to you but is the value of having a relationship with Jesus Christ bigger than the value of having a relationship with others?
19:5-10 And the waters of the sea
will be dried up, and the river will be dry and parched,
6 and its canals will become foul, and the branches of Egypt’s Nile will diminish and dry up, reeds and rushes will rot away. 7 There will be bare places by the Nile, on the brink of the Nile, and all that is sown by the Nile will be parched, will be driven away, and will be no more. 8 The fishermen will mourn and lament, all who cast a hook in the Nile; and they will languish who spread nets on the water. 9 The workers in combed flax will be in despair, and the weavers of white cotton. 10 Those who are the pillars of the land will be crushed, and all who work for pay will be grieved.
3) The Worlds Resources are shaken
“The Nile will be dried up” The Nile was their resource for everything as it would flood making the soil around it rich for growing crops and for fishing. Reeds were used for roofing material and for baskets and Rushes were used for many things like making clothes. The very thing they counted on would not be available to them anymore and the fishermen will mourn, and their economy will dry up because the fish will die and rot.The economic destruction will have an impact on everyone rich and poor alike.We tend to put our hope in our economy and maybe our individual industries, but the reality is none of us know what the future holds.Many people have lost money because of the actions of others who stole or mismanaged money. The catastrophes that are taking place in our world should demonstrate to us that the things we are planning on for our resources cannot be counted on.
Matthew 6:31-33 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
19:11-15 The princes of Zoan are
utterly foolish; the wisest counselors of Pharaoh give
stupid counsel. How can you say to Pharaoh, “I am a son of the wise, a son of ancient kings”? 12 Where
then are your wise men? Let them tell you
that they might know what
the Lord of
hosts has purposed against Egypt. 13 The
princes of Zoan have become fools, and the
princes of Memphis are deluded;
those who are the cornerstones of her tribes have made Egypt stagger. 14 The Lord has mingled within her a spirit of confusion, and they will make Egypt stagger in all its deeds, as a drunken man staggers in his vomit. 15 And there will be nothing for Egypt that head or tail, palm branch or reed, may do.
4) The Worlds Wisdom is shaken
“I will confound their counsel” (3) The people will not be able to grasp what is taking place and they will consult mediums as they do their best to know the future, but it will be for nothing. Egypt, who had plans to be a world power, who wanted national security and peace will see all of it go away.
The Princes have become fools (11) Egypt was famous for its wisdom (1 Kings 4:30 says Solomon wisdom passed Egypt’s wisdom) but now they will be like drunk people stumbling around.
James 3:13-17 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
Where Selfishness and Jealousy exist, there will be disorder. Proverbs 9:10 says that the Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and Matthew 7:24 says anyone who hears these words of mine is like a man who built his house on the rock and not the sand.
The problem with all of these shaken things is that we do not always see them that way. We need God’s perspective to see that our worlds Idols, relationships, resources and wisdom is on unstable ground. The people of Judah saw Egypt as being a wise, powerful, rich nation but God through Isaiah shows them who Egypt really is. We have to be careful that we do not put our hope in the world we live in whether it be our Idols, our relationships, our resources or even ours or the worlds wisdom. You first have to decide if God is the God of the universe riding in on a cloud because if you get the concept of God wrong then everything else will look like a better option to you.