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Isaiah 19:19-22 (NIV)
19 In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the Lord at its border. 20 It will be a sign and witness to the Lord Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. 21 So the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the Lord. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the Lord and keep them. 22 The Lord will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.
Who is your greatest enemy? Who is the person that causes you the greatest amount of pain or causes you to live in anxiety and fear? Egypt was that threat to Israel. Egypt and Assyria were the major world superpowers of the day. In comparison, Israel was pretty small and weak and was often under attack. How did God feel about that? Isaiah 19:1 says: “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”. God is patient and waits for people to repent and to give up wickedness, but eventually, He will bring justice, especially for the oppressed. Yet, even Egypt will be given salvation! Egypt and Assyria are home to some of the oldest Christian churches: the gospel writer Mark started the Church in Alexandria! The reason for the history lesson? God did not destroy Egypt and Assyria with armies of Angels, but with the cross. They put their faith in military, economic and political power but God subverted those things by being cursed and dying on a tree. God’s mission is to destroy sin and death through the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Think again about the people in your life that cause you pain, suffering, or anxiety. Faith in the cross tells us that God has already given us everything we need, that we are sinners that need healing, and that we probably cause pain, suffering, and anxiety to someone else! God has given us forgiveness and mercy and shows us the path to healing in our daily relationships through the power of forgiveness and mercy to others. Let us pray: Heavenly Father, we offer praise for the mercy that you have given us through the cross of Jesus. Help us to know how deep and great your grace truly is and move us to bring healing into our relationships with others by offering mercy, forgiveness, and grace. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.