Bible Studies
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Thursday, 19 May 2005

by Jim Jordal

Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts: "O My people, who dwell in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrian. He shall strike you with a rod and lift up his staff against you, in the manner of Egypt. For yet a very little while and the indignation will cease, as will My anger in their destruction." And the Lord of hosts will stir up a scourge for him like the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb; as His rod was on the sea, so will He lift it up in the manner of Egypt. It shall come to pass in that day that his burden will be taken away from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing oil.

Isaiah 10:24-27 (NKJV, emphasis mine)

"But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in it's midst; and after that he will let you go. And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians."

Exodus 3:19-22 (NKJV)

Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

Exodus 12:35-36 (NKJV)

Scripture uses the phrase "after the manner of Egypt" (KJV) to describe the deliverance from oppression promised in Christ’s earthly millennial kingdom. The phrase arises from the dramatic deliverance of the Hebrew children from Egyptian slavery after 400 years of suffering under an onerous, tyrannical system. It was precipitated at last by the soulful cries of the suffering people following a dramatic increase in oppression accompanied by a hardening of despotic will. It required many miracles, and a final smiting by the death angel of all the first-born of Egyptians to finally persuade a reluctant dictator to release the captives. And even then he relented by attempting to recapture the slaves at the Red Sea crossing. The final outcome was the deliverance of God's people and the destruction of the pursuing forces. But that deliverance first required a strong leader, Moses, who was compassionate toward his people and obedient to God's command. Notice also that the deliverance was total, including not only the people, but their livestock and possessions as well, and required a final act of direct intervention by God in order to complete the act and ensure that it would live forever in the collective memory of the people.

The slaughter of Midian and the deliverance of God's people (Judges 7) referred to by Isaiah in the first reading is detailed as occurring in a manner similar to the deliverance from Egyptian bondage. Gideon and his 32,000 warriors faced the powerful armies of Midian under kings Oreb and Zeeb. But the Lord determined that Israel would become proud of their own military prowess if they conquered with so large a number, so He instituted a series of qualifications reducing Gideon's force to only 300 men. It was with this small group and the help of a God-inspired subterfuge (surrounding the camp of Midian with three separate forces, placing candles inside pitchers, then breaking the pitchers, blowing trumpets, and shouting "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon"), that Gideon spread terror in the camp of Midian and created victory.

So what do these biblical accounts of deliverance "after the manner of Egypt" have to do with current issues of economic justice in America? If you ponder the second reading above, you'll notice that God told Moses to urge the Hebrews to use their hard-earned favor with the Egyptians to borrow everything they could before their promised deliverance. In other words, God wanted them to strip the Egyptians of valuables before their economic and political deliverance.

Now consider something I recently read in a national magazine. For the first time in my memory a national commentator mentioned the unthinkable in American political economics: possible future default on the nation’s internal and/or external debt. That mere thought is a most heinous heresy to creditors, both domestic and foreign. Should this occur the American economy, not to mention that of the world, would be in serious danger of total collapse. Even the remote possibility of such action is enough to spread panic in financial markets, and to spur massive demands for payment by both bondholders and foreign exchange creditors. So why mention it at all?

Could it be that God has in mind once again to deliver His people from economic bondage to world financial oppressors by creating circumstances similar to those existing at the time of the Exodus? Could our massive consumer debt, overwhelming domestic and external deficits, and consequent suffering finally claim God’s attention to the extent that He proffers deliverance "after the manner of Egypt"? Don’t laugh, it could happen.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1978, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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