19 A pronouncement concerning Egypt:
Look, the Lord rides on a swift cloud
and is coming to Egypt.
Egypt’s worthless idols will tremble before him,
and Egypt will lose heart.
2 I will provoke Egyptians against Egyptians;
each will fight against his brother
and each against his friend,
city against city, kingdom against kingdom.
3 Egypt’s spirit will be disturbed within it,
and I will frustrate its plans.
Then they will inquire of worthless idols, ghosts,
mediums, and spiritists.
4 I will hand over Egypt to harsh masters,
and a strong king will rule it.
This is the declaration of the Lord God of Armies.
5 The water of the sea will dry up,
and the river will be parched and dry.
6 The channels will stink;
they will dwindle, and Egypt’s canals will be parched.
Reed and rush will wilt.
7 The reeds by the Nile, by the mouth of the river,
and all the cultivated areas of the Nile
will wither, blow away, and vanish.
8 Then the fishermen will mourn.
All those who cast hooks into the Nile will lament,
and those who spread nets on the water will give up.
9 Those who work with flax will be dismayed;
those combing it and weaving linen will turn pale.[a]
10 Egypt’s weavers[b] will be dejected;
all her wage earners will be demoralized.
11 The princes of Zoan are complete fools;
Pharaoh’s wisest advisers give stupid advice!
How can you say to Pharaoh,
“I am one[c] of the wise,
a student of eastern[d] kings”?
12 Where then are your wise men?
Let them tell you and reveal
what the Lord of Armies has planned against Egypt.
13 The princes of Zoan have been fools;
the princes of Memphis are deceived.
Her tribal chieftains have led Egypt astray.
14 The Lord has mixed within her a spirit of confusion.
The leaders have made Egypt stagger in all she does,
as a drunkard staggers in his vomit.
15 No head or tail, palm or reed,
will be able to do anything for Egypt.
Egypt Will Know the Lord
16 On that day Egypt will be like women and will tremble with fear because of the threatening hand of the Lord of Armies when he raises it against them. 17 The land of Judah will terrify Egypt; whenever Judah is mentioned, Egypt will tremble because of what the Lord of Armies has planned against it.
19 On that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the center of the land of Egypt and a pillar to the Lord near her border. 20 It will be a sign and witness to the Lord of Armies in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and leader, and he will rescue them. 21 The Lord will make himself known to Egypt, and Egypt will know the Lord on that day. They will offer sacrifices and offerings; they will make vows to the Lord and fulfill them. 22 The Lord will strike Egypt, striking and healing. Then they will turn to the Lord, and he will be receptive to their prayers and heal them.
23 On that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. Assyria will go to Egypt, Egypt to Assyria, and Egypt will worship with Assyria.
24 On that day Israel will form a triple alliance with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing within the land. 25 The Lord of Armies will bless them, saying, “Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance are blessed.”
No Help from Cush or Egypt
20 In the year that the chief commander, sent by King Sargon of Assyria, came to Ashdod and attacked and captured it— 2 during that time the Lord had spoken through Isaiah son of Amoz, saying, “Go, take off your sackcloth from your waist and remove the sandals from your feet,” and he did that, going stripped and barefoot— 3 the Lord said, “As my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot three years as a sign and omen against Egypt and Cush, 4 so the king of Assyria will lead the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Cush, young and old alike, stripped and barefoot, with bared buttocks—to Egypt’s shame. 5 Those who made Cush their hope and Egypt their boast will be dismayed and ashamed. 6 And the inhabitants of this coastland will say on that day, ‘Look, this is what has happened to those we relied on and fled to for help to rescue us from the king of Assyria! Now, how will we escape?’”
A Judgment on Babylon
21 A pronouncement concerning the desert by the sea:
Like storms that pass over the Negev,
it comes from the desert, from the land of terror.
2 A troubling vision is declared to me:
“The treacherous one acts treacherously,
and the destroyer destroys.
Advance, Elam! Lay siege, you Medes!
I will put an end to all the groaning.”
3 Therefore I am[g] filled with anguish.
Pain grips me, like the pain of a woman in labor.
I am too perplexed to hear,
too dismayed to see.
4 My heart staggers;
horror terrifies me.
He has turned my last glimmer of hope[h]
into sheer terror.
5 Prepare a table, and spread out a carpet!
Eat and drink!
Rise up, you princes, and oil the shields!
6 For the Lord has said to me,
“Go, post a lookout;
let him report what he sees.
7 When he sees riders—
pairs of horsemen,
riders on donkeys,
riders on camels—
he must pay close attention.”
8 Then the lookout[i] reported,
“Lord, I stand on the watchtower all day,
and I stay at my post all night.
9 Look, riders come—
horsemen in pairs.”
And he answered, saying,
“Babylon has fallen, has fallen.
All the images of her gods
have been shattered on the ground.”
10 My people who have been crushed
on the threshing floor,
I have declared to you
what I have heard from the Lord of Armies,
the God of Israel.
A Pronouncement against Dumah
11 A pronouncement concerning Dumah:[j]
One calls to me from Seir,
“Watchman, what is left of the night?
Watchman, what is left of the night?”
12 The watchman said,
“Morning has come, and also night.
If you want to ask, ask!
Come back again.”
A Pronouncement against Arabia
13 A pronouncement concerning Arabia:
In the desert[k] brush
you will camp for the night,
you caravans of Dedanites.
14 Bring water for the thirsty.
The inhabitants of the land of Tema
meet[l] the refugees with food.
15 For they have fled from swords,
from the drawn sword,
from the bow that is strung,
and from the stress of battle.
16 For the Lord said this to me: “Within one year, as a hired worker counts years, all the glory of Kedar will be gone. 17 The remaining Kedarite archers will be few in number.” For the Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken.
A Pronouncement against Jerusalem
22 A pronouncement concerning the Valley of Vision:
What’s the matter with you?
Why have all of you gone up to the rooftops?
2 The noisy city, the jubilant town,
is filled with celebration.
Your dead did not die by the sword;
they were not killed in battle.
3 All your rulers have fled together,
captured without a bow.
All your fugitives were captured together;
they had fled far away.
4 Therefore I said,
“Look away from me! Let me weep bitterly!
Do not try to comfort me
about the destruction of my dear[m] people.”
5 For the Lord God of Armies
had a day of tumult, trampling, and confusion
in the Valley of Vision—
people shouting[n] and crying to the mountains;
6 Elam took up a quiver
with chariots and horsemen,[o]
and Kir uncovered the shield.
7 Your best valleys were full of chariots,
and horsemen were positioned at the city gates.
8 He removed the defenses of Judah.
On that day you looked to the weapons in the House of the Forest. 9 You saw that there were many breaches in the walls of the city of David. You collected water from the lower pool. 10 You counted the houses of Jerusalem so that you could tear them down to fortify the wall. 11 You made a reservoir between the walls for the water of the ancient pool, but you did not look to the one who made it, or consider the one who created it long ago.
12 On that day the Lord God of Armies
called for weeping, for wailing, for shaven heads,
and for the wearing of sackcloth.
13 But look: joy and gladness,
butchering of cattle, slaughtering of sheep and goats,
eating of meat, and drinking of wine—
“Let’s eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
14 The Lord of Armies has directly revealed to me:
“This iniquity will not be wiped out for you people as long as you live.”[p]
The Lord God of Armies has spoken.
A Pronouncement against Shebna
15 The Lord God of Armies said, “Go to Shebna, that steward who is in charge of the palace, and say to him: 16 What are you doing here? Who authorized you to carve out a tomb for yourself here, carving your tomb on the height and cutting a resting place for yourself out of rock? 17 Look, you strong man! The Lord is about to shake you violently. He will take hold of you, 18 wind you up into a ball, and sling you into a wide land.[q] There you will die, and there your glorious chariots will be—a disgrace to the house of your lord. 19 I will remove you from your office; you will be ousted from your position.
20 “On that day I will call for my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. 21 I will clothe him with your robe and tie your sash around him. I will hand your authority over to him, and he will be like a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22 I will place the key of the house of David on his shoulder; what he opens, no one can close; what he closes, no one can open. 23 I will drive him, like a peg, into a firm place. He will be a throne of honor for his father’s family. 24 They will hang on him all the glory of his father’s family: the descendants and the offshoots—all the small vessels, from bowls to every kind of jar. 25 On that day”—the declaration of the Lord of Armies—“the peg that was driven into a firm place will give way, be cut off, and fall, and the load on it will be destroyed.” Indeed, the Lord has spoken.
As I read today’s reading, I couldn’t help but have this thought: “One day every man, woman, boy and girl will know who the Lord is.” It is our job to introduce them to Him during a time of grace, during a time when they can repent and trust in Him. One day, every knee will bow. We want as many people as possible to bow to Him voluntarily instead of being forced to bow. Live in this reality. There are those all around us who do not know Jesus as their Savior. He died to give them life and He is waiting on us to tell them about His love.