“Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help, and stay on horses, and trust
in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very
strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the
Egypt continues to represent the world of business, the might and power
of which is portrayed by Egypt’s horsemen, horses, and chariots. To the men
of Isaiah’s day Egypt may have seemed invincible, as does the great business
machine that bestrides today’s world like a colossus, but the one as much as
the other is as a ball of thistledown compared to the omnipotent Jehovah
revered by every true believer. And as the men of that day esteemed Him
lightly, and placed their trust in Egypt, so does today’s world accord Him
only token acknowledgement, while reposing complete confidence in Mammon.
“Yet he also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back his words:
but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of
them that work iniquity.”
God is not
only omnipotent: He is also omniscient, knowing just exactly how to deal
with every circumstance of life, including in the present instance, Israel’s
rebellion in forsaking Him, and seeking help from Egypt instead. He is no
less capable of administering correction when we duplicate Israel’s folly,
and turn to the world for aid, or seek to employ its methods to solve our
problems, instead of casting ourselves upon Him. Israel’s failure to trust
Him aroused His anger so that He would frustrate their plans, and punish
them and those whose aid they had enlisted.
announced in the command “Be ye not unequally yoked together with
unbelievers ...” is age-abiding, but it is doubtful whether it has ever been
more blatantly violated than in this day of libertinism.
“Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not
spirit. When the Lord shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth
shall fall, and he that is holpen (helped) shall fall down, and they all
shall fail together.”
disparagement of the Egyptians and their horses was designed to teach Israel
the folly of trusting in anyone or anything except God; and the principle
still applies: we should never forget that He is the Creator of all things,
so that it is folly to attribute to a person or other creature a power
greater than that of the Creator. Note for example what the Psalmist has
written, “Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man,” Psalm
“For thus hath the Lord spoken unto me. Like as the lion and the young lion
roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against
him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise
of them: so shall the Lord of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and
for the hill thereof.”
careful to remind the people that he is God’s spokesman, what he says being
not his own personal word to them, but God’s, so that they are responsible
to obey, or suffer chastisement. Every one who ministers God’s Word today
should do so in the same spirit, being scrupulously careful neither to add
to nor subtract from what is written in Scripture. It is regrettable that a
great deal of today’s preaching is marred by carelessness in this respect.
The lion here
is Jehovah; and the multitude of shepherds, the Assyrians.
He Who came
once as the Lamb of God to put away sin by His death at Calvary, is He Who
will come again as the mighty Lion of Judah to execute judgment. He is a
wise man who by faith presents that Lamb to God as the only Offering that
can expiate sin, for to die without having made that presentation is to meet
that same Jesus, not as the Lamb, but as the devouring Lion Who will banish
every unbeliever first into Hell, and then into the eternal torment of the
dreadful lake of fire.
Zion, the citadel of the temple, is a synonym for Jerusalem, the
earthly city of God. It means parched place, and reminds us that
during this present era it may seem to be indeed a parched place, but in the
Millennium it will be lustered with Divine glory, and will be the center of
earthly worship and government.
reign of the Beast however, it will be so much the object of his malign
hatred that he will attempt to destroy it, but will be frustrated in his
evil purpose by the Lord returning in power and glory to establish His
millennial kingdom and administer His rule from Zion.
“As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also
he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.”
birds are those which hover protectively over their young; and as they do,
so also will the Lord watch over Jerusalem, the evidence of that care being
the existence of the city to the present, in spite of many attempts to
destroy it. That same watchful care guarantees that in spite of every
attempt to destroy her, the Church will be preserved until her rapture to
heaven before the Great Tribulation begins. The “passing over” here is from
the same root as Passover.
portrays the power of God; the hovering bird, His tender love.
“Turn ye unto him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted.”
is as applicable to the Gentiles of this present era as it was to ancient
Israel. The one as much as the other has rebelled against Him, and can be
saved only by repentant confession of sin, and return to an obedient walk.
“For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his
idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin.”
“... that day”
is the Great Tribulation, see Isaiah 2:19-21, “And they shall go into the
holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord,
and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the
earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of
gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to
the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the
ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when
he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.”
“Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the
sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the
sword, and his young men shall be discomfited.”
fulfilled when God slew 185,000 Assyrian soldiers while they slept, see
“And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall
be afraid of the ensign, saith the Lord, whose fire is in Zion, and his
furnace in Jerusalem.”
surviving Assyrians would flee in panic-stricken terror, awed just by the
sight of Israel’s flag or banner.
Fire is one of the symbols
of God as being inherently holy, see Deuteronomy 4:24, “... the Lord thy God
is a consuming fire,” and Hebrews 12:29, “For our God is a consuming fire.”
A furnace, on the other hand, is frequently associated with judgment in
Scripture. Zion, the citadel of the temple, is a synonym for Jerusalem, the
earthly city of God.