November 23 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“…the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will carry off its wealth. He will loot and plunder the land as pay for his army.” ~Ezekiel 29:19

OLD TESTAMENT

Ezekiel continues his sermonic tour of the ancient world. These three chapters are God’s word against Egypt. Ezekiel preached these messages just before or after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC while he himself was in Babylon, but he’s looking several decades into the future. Through the prophet, God says, “I will pour out my wrath on Pelusium,” and in 525 AD, Egypt would fall to the Persians at the great Battle of Pelusium, a fortified city near the coast in the Nile Delta (Ezek. 30:15). Egypt was annexed into the Persian Empire after 525.

The theme of pride runs through these international sermons. Egypt is a great nation, but her power led to arrogance. “The Nile is mine: I made it,” she claims (Ezek. 29:3). The land is beautiful, graced with palm trees and pyramids, and the glory and power of the pharaohs (Egyptian kings) is legendary. The economy is stable thanks to the Nile Delta, a fertile region that produces crops year round.  When surrounding nations are hit with famine, they trade with Egypt, which brings a steady flow of foreign currency and goods (which pharaohs happily tax) into the national economy.

However, the prophet says that Egypt will be brought low. If the Egyptian pharaohs think their land is too rich and too powerful to fall, they need only recall what happened to the great Assyrian Empire in the north. Assyria was a beautiful, well-watered land stretching from Asia Minor (Turkey) to the Persian Gulf. The Babylonians dismantled the empire piece-by-piece between 612 BC and 605 BC.

The message in today’s reading is not that some things are “too big to fail,” but rather “the bigger they are, the harder they fall.” No one should ever think they are too secure, or too powerful, or too respected, or too protected, or too feared to fail. May God help us to walk in humility and holiness so that we may avoid the judgment that He brings on the high-and-mighty.

NEW TESTAMENT

James has a word of encouragement for those who have been injured by the proud. Persevere through the hurt like Job did. Remain faithful like the prophets. Do not give up, even in a chapter of life filled with suffering. Your story is not yet complete.

There is much to learn from the life stories of the people who have weathered troubles and scorn. “You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about (blessing!). The Lord is full of compassion and mercy” (Jas. 5:11). Lord, help us get through the difficult chapters. We know there is more to the story. Persevere with hope.


Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.