Just as there is no covenant relationship between the Lord and any political entity today, God was not in any special relationship with Egypt in the days of Jeremiah. Israel and Judah had the written Law of God. They had the place of Jehovah’s presence in the temple. They were the chosen people, but the Egyptians were not. Yet God had something to say even to the Egyptians in the days of the Old Testament.
The Lord rules over all the nations. By His providential plan, kingdoms rise and fall. In Jeremiah 46 God announced that the Babylonians would defeat Pharaoh and his people. The Egyptians were a mighty military power, but they would be like a big “heifer” nipped “by a biting fly from the north.”
Egypt was proud, and Pharaoh thought that he ruled the world. He imagined that he could overtake every other nation around him. Though Pharaoh had great warriors under his command from many lands, he would not win in a contest against the God of creation. The Almighty would raise the Babylonians above the Egyptians, at least for a time.
The Lord understood the sins of Egypt. He knew the pride of their hearts and the wickedness of their lives. He called out their false gods by name and taunted them with Jeremiah’s words. Their mighty ones would soon be face down on the ground in defeat. Their young women would be put to shame and their idols would be of no use to them.
It was appalling that some in Judah, the covenant people of the Lord, took refuge in the power of Egypt rather than trusting in the Lord their God. We who serve the Almighty today must never trust in worldly pride and strength. Jesus, the Captain of our salvation, achieved His unparalleled success through faithfulness to the Word of God in the face of an intense trial.
The cross exposed the folly of humanity. Through the suffering of the Son of God enemies seen and unseen were put to flight. By the proclamation of the death and resurrection of Jesus, people have been saved from hell and kept in the faith. The strongest powers of this world will be utterly overwhelmed in the twinkling of an eye, but the church of Jesus Christ will succeed by the strength of God.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord God Almighty, all nations are known to You. People groups devoted to idolatry cannot pretend that they do not know of Your great works of creation. Yet men and women everywhere are full of confidence in themselves. You are in charge of the affairs of every land. The warrior considers his own strength invincible, but a greater foe can come in a moment. Your people must not put their trust in the powers of this world. We trust in You. One nation may seem to have the strength to last forever, but that country will not stand forever against you. You, O Lord of hosts, will judge the rulers and idols of all nations. Give us hope in a better day, a hope that is secure not through the weapons of this world, but through Your divine power and love.