The rise and fall of nations may appear attributable to charismatic and gifted leaders, but behind all international movements one must acknowledge the supreme hand of Yahweh, who alone fixes the times and the seasons of their lives, sets the limits to their conduct, determines the nature of their downfall, appoints the agents of judgment, and in the process accomplishes his goal: the universal recognition of
his power and his person.
— Daniel I. Block (The Book of Ezekiel: Chapters 25-48)
In college I used to buy the whitest heavy paper I could find. Sure, it cost a little more money than standard bond—but I think it paid off. When the time came for everyone to hand in their term papers, the brightness level of my paper made all the rest in the pile look dirty. Of course, I know that content is more important than style, but every little bit helps.
Things look best in contrast, and there is a big contrast coming. We are now looking at the sixth of seven prophecies of doom towards Egypt. Many themes are repeated from earlier prophecies. I’ll be honest—the gloom and doom message begins to wear on me. But the contrast is coming.
In a few short passages, God’s blindingly beautiful vision for Israel’s future will shine—like a super-bright term paper in a pile of gray. Hope is coming, but first we need to endure the darker messages to fully experience the contrast.
. . .
This prophecy sounds a lot like 29:1-16 where Pharaoh was depicted as a crocodile whom Yahweh would hook and pull from his river and cast on the ground. In this passage, Yahweh reveals that Pharaoh likes to think of himself as a lion. Instead, he’s acting like a monster—or a dragon.
The sequence of events is very clear:
- God will capture the monster in a public way.
- God will hurl the monster into an open field.
- God will scatter the remains of the monster’s carcass all over the land.
- God will turn the lights out on the monster.
- God will create fear in everyone who witnesses this event.
The end result: women will chant a lament over the fall of Pharaoh, and everyone will know that Yahweh is God.
. . .
It’s important to remember that this negative oracle would sound positive in the ears of an Israelite on the banks of a foreign river. God was moving to destroy evil in the world. We can take that same hope from this passage today. It does not matter how big, beautiful, or powerful a wicked power is—God can extinguish its lights in a second.
. . .
All-powerful God, please continue working to eliminate evil in this world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.