The Lord will strike Egypt, striking but healing; so they will return to the Lord, and He will respond to them and will heal them. (19:22).
The warning came to Egypt. This time, God would be swift in His coming.
The oracle concerning Egypt.
Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud and is about to come to Egypt;
The idols of Egypt will tremble at His presence,
And the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them, (19:1).
Everything the Egyptians had counted on for security, every foundation in which they had placed their hope, would be decimated. Their idols, their society, their self-governance, their agriculture, their commerce, their rulers, their advisors, their knowledge, their courage; all would be grievously crushed under the hand of God’s wrath.
And the pillars of Egypt will be crushed;
All the hired laborers will be grieved in soul, (19:10).
And in that day, they will see their hope undone with no way to escape.
So the inhabitants of this coastland will say in that day, ‘Behold, such is our hope, where we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria; and we, how shall we escape?’” (20:6).
But tucked between the announcement that He will be swift in His judgment, and the aftermath of His holy wrath upon the nation of Egypt, is God’s ardent aspiration for all of His creation, that none would perish but all would come to repentance.
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance, (2 Peter 3:9).
And tucked throughout Isaiah, this book of God’s prophecy that is often associated with His coming wrath, is the greater revelation of the Savior Who will come as our Champion to destroy every false hope and bring deliverance and restoration through faith in Him.
It will become a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the Lord because of oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Champion, and He will deliver them, (19:20).
And oh, how many opportunities He offers. For some seven hundred years earlier, the Lord had sent Moses to the Egyptians with a similar message: His judgment would reveal Him as Lord.
“The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst,” (Exodus 7:5).
To the Egyptians who had so mistreated His people; to the Egyptians who had hardened their hearts to His mighty hand; and now once again, to the Egyptians, steeped in idolatry, the Lord is going to send His wrath so that they will know. Not only will He make Himself known as the Lord of all heaven and earth, but the Egyptians will know Him; they will worship Him with sacrifice and offering, and they will perform the vows they make. Wow. And How? By His Strike that Brings Healing. Although He will Strike His enemy with His punitive action, He will Heal them with His kindness, grace and mercy that will lead them to repentance.
Thus the Lord will make Himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day. They will even worship with sacrifice and offering, and will make a vow to the Lord and perform it. 22 The Lord will strike Egypt, striking but healing; so they will return to the Lord, and He will respond to them and will heal them, (19:21-22)
Consider His Strike that Brings Healing
Once again, I am reminded of how different His thoughts and ways are from our own. And we often quote Isaiah in whole-hearted agreement.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
We can relate these verses to His wisdom that far surpasses our own, and His foreknowledge and omniscience that is so beyond our ability to grasp. And while this is undeniably true, within the context of this discourse regarding His thoughts and ways, God is disclosing to those who have experienced the ways of His judgment, that His thoughts of displeasure are but a moment in eternity.
“For a brief moment I forsook you,
But with great compassion I will gather you.
8 “In an outburst of anger
I hid My face from you for a moment,
But with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,”
Says the Lord your Redeemer,” (Isaiah 54:7-8).
And if only His people would recognize His Strike that Brings Healing and return to Him in repentance, forsaking their own ways and thoughts, they would become the recipients of His compassionate Healing.
Seek the Lord while He may be found;
Call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
And let him return to the Lord,
And He will have compassion on him,
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon, (Isaiah 55:6-7).
But because His thoughts and ways are so unlike ours, His Strike that Brings Healing does not make sense to the natural mind.
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:14-16).
And by far, the most complete and graphic demonstration of this was in His Ultimate Strike that Brought our ultimate Healing.
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him, (2 Corinthians 5:21).
And when we place our faith in Him Who knew no sin and are born again, we receive His Spirit Who aligns our thoughts with the very mind of Christ, to be able to appraise every circumstance according to Truth.
In our afflictions, His Strike Brings Healing, that we will learn His statutes.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word…
71 It is good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes, (Psalm 119:67, 71).
In our weakness, His Strike Brings Healing, that we would learn to depend on the sufficiency of His grace.
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong, (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
And in His discipline, His Strike Brings Healing, that we would be trained and empowered to yield the peaceful fruit of His righteousness.
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness, (Hebrews 12:11).
How do we respond to His Strike that Brings Healing?
In Scripture, Egypt is often depicted as a type of the world; the natural as opposed to the spiritual; a worldly mentality rather than a kingdom mindset. And if we are not careful, we too can find ourselves seeking the things of this world as our foundation. But God is faithful to His children, and His Strike that Brings Healing will fix our thoughts and ways on Him, that we would find all our security in Christ alone.
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God, (Colossians 3:1-3).
We must have an eternal perspective, a perspective that is beyond ourselves. Today, let’s close by spending some time meditating on the truths from His Word that will strengthen our faith and enable us to see the faithfulness and glory in His Strike that Brings Healing.
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal, (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, (James 1:2-3).
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you, (1 Peter 5:10).