(26 verses, 3:02 to read)
What I am about to Read
- This reading continues from the previous reading in which the destruction of Egypt is prophesied
MARK & LEARN
- 1-19: Note the use of the sword throughout this reading. It occurs 9 times. The sword that God will use to destroy Egypt and her allies is Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, from the “most ruthless of nations” (10-11).
- Vs. 12 is particularly interesting. Remember the Pharaoh’s of Egypt claimed divinity. One key claim to divinity is that of being a Creator and Preserver. Note that the Pharoah’s claimed to create the Nile river – the very center of life in Egypt. If the Lord God dries the Nile, He is shown to be Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Hence, the common repetition in Ezekiel, “you shall know I am the Lord.”
- 20-26: This reading has a fantastic image of helplessness on the part of Pharoah: that of a sword fighter whose arms are broken, and broken for good. Thus, the sword is taken from Pharoah. The image is built upon as God Himself will also stregnthen the arms of the king of Babylon and then put **His sword** (emphasis needed here!!!) in the kings’ hands to be stretched out against the land of Egypt.
- This reading should lead us to pray for those who have God’s sword in their hands. Top priority in that prayer would be a recognition on their part to not say, “This is my sword. I am the author of justice and good and evil.” Another top priority is for strengthening of our faith that God, in fact, is the One who has the sword and we should never despair despite failing and ruthless governments. Read also Romans 13:1-7 where the theme of the sword is picked up.
- Pray: “Lord Jesus, rule in my heart and conscience through Your Word, which is sharper than any two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). You were the One who told Peter to put away His sword, for those who live by the sword will die by the sword (Matthew 26:52). You were the One who knew You had to drink the cup of the Father’s wrath (John 18:11) and be pierced in Your side for me. I thank You for instituting government to protect life and order. Hear my prayer for all who bear Your sword in this world, that they punish the evil and reward the good, always recognizing all authority comes from You (John 19:10-11). Strengthen my faith to always remember that You are final judge and that nothing can separate me from Your love – not even “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword” (Romans 8:35). No kingdom or evil government is more powerful than Your Kingdom. May Your Kingdom in me, among all, and in finality.” Amen.
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Christopher Stout, Pastor of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Kannapolis, NC & Abundant Life Lutheran Church, Charlotte, NC