Thursday, September 20, 2012
empires on the chessboard
It shall be the most lowly of the kingdoms, and never again exalt itself above the nations. And I will make them so small that they will never again rule over the nations.
This is the decree of God for the fate of Egypt. In Ezekiel's lifetime Egypt would fall to Babylon. They would tumble from superpower strength to subservient vassal state. Never again would Egypt be the military and cultural force upon the Middle East. No more would an empire rule from the banks of the Nile.
This was world-shifting change. Israel had always had some relationship with the powerful nation of Egypt. It started from the Exodus. And during the monarchies of Israel and Judah, various alliances and struggles with Israel's powerful and wealthy southern neighbor had defined international relations and military alliances. But the influence of Egypt upon the Holy Land would be permanently and severely diminished by Babylon's armies. God was using Nebuchadnezzar to reshape the world in many ways.
Egypt had always been a source of temptation for Israel and Judah. They would always compare themselves to that mighty empire where their ancestors had toiled in slavery. With the influence of Egypt brought to ruins, God was setting the scene for Israel to thrive when the people resettled the land after the exile.
By the hand of God Babylon rose to become a conquering empire. And by the decree of God, the wealth of Egypt was swallowed up by the army of the Chaldeans. He moves empires at His will. And nothing we trust in is greater than the force of God's will. We only have to look at the magnificent ruins of Egypt to see the truth of that reality.