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Isaiah 19:19-20

Pillars of Faith

19 In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD. 20 And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them.

In that day, the day when the seed of the kingdom of God would be planted in the five Egyptian cities, the kingdom would begin to grow like a mustard seed.

An altar would stand in the midst of the nation as a sign that Yahweh was worshipped there. This would not be a temple that competed with the one in Jerusalem or an altar upon which sacrifices were made, although Onias, under the reign of Ptolemy IV in the second century BC, obtained permission to build a temple and an altar at Leontopolis. Instead, it would be best to interpret this "altar" in a more figurative sense, meaning that it would become obvious that Yahweh was worshipped in the land of Egypt.

The pillar (Hebrew: matstebah) is what Jacob erected as a memorial to the presence of the LORD. In most places in scripture the word means, "idol or image," but in this context it is used to mean a memorial to the presence of God. Centuries later, there were many memorials to the LORD erected throughout Egypt, and the city of Alexandria played an important role in the history of the church. However, the significance of the pillar and the altar in Egypt is that it would be obvious that Yahweh was worshipped there.

When God is worshiped and honored by someone, whether by an entire nation or a single individual, there is an unmistakable holy presence about him that cannot be ignored. One day, people would enter Egypt and know that God was worshiped there. They would come from Israel but know that they were in the Holy Land. Likewise, when you meet a Christian there is something about that person that testifies that God's presence is with him.

Throughout its history, Egypt had been an oppressor of other people. She had kept God's people, Israel, enslaved for over four hundred years. Now she would learn what it was like to be God’s people, because the world would be at enmity with her. She would become the victim. Egypt would cry out to the LORD for relief from her oppressors, and He would respond.

What a difference! In 19:3 we saw that Egypt cried out in vain to her idols, soothsayers, and magicians but now she is able to seek help from Yahweh, and He answers her prayers. He would send a Savior, a great one, who would deliver them. There are several people who could have filled the role of deliverer for Egypt. Alexander the Great could be meant or Ptolemy Soter (the savior) could have fulfilled the prophecy. However, the true fulfillment of the promised Savior can only be found in the person of Jesus Christ.

Only Jesus can bring true salvation, and only His presence will put the world at enmity with someone. The world hated Him and it will hate all who belong to Him.

As Christians, we stand out among others. We make them uncomfortable, because they sense the presence of God, although they may not know what it is. We have different interests, different habits, and speak about things that sound like foolishness to them. They feel threatened by the foolishness of Christ's people and they respond by persecuting us.

Isn't it good to know that any Christian can call out to God and be comforted in the face of oppression and persecution? We know that we have a Savior, the same Savior promised to Egypt, who will deliver us from the cares of this world into an eternity of peace, love and perfect understanding.

If you do not know Christ as your Savior and you think that your sins have been too great, look at Egypt, one of the world's worst nations, spiritually and politically. However, God's grace was able to overcome all of that and provide a Savior. He can do the same for you. He wants to do the same for you. Surrender your life to Him and experience the joy of His grace.

Before The Throne:

Ask God to make His presence in you obvious to those around you. Pray for Him to change you so that you will be a walking memorial to Him and so people will know that Jesus Christ is worshiped within your heart. Pray for Egypt, a predominantly Muslim country today, which is still in need of a Savior. Ask God to use the recent terrorist acts to expose the vanity of Islam and to cause the Arab world to believe in Jesus Christ. Ask Him to set pillars at the borders of Egypt to let other Arabs know that Jesus is worshiped there.

For Further Study:

(v.19) Isa 66:23; Ge 12:7; 28:18; Ex 24:4; Jos 22:10,26; Zec 6:15; Heb 13:10;

(v.20) ** for a. Isa 55:13; Jos 4:20,21; 22:27,28,34; 24:26,27; ** they shall. Isa 20:4; 52:5; Ex 2:23; 3:7; 2Ki 13:4,5; Ps 50:15; Jas 5:4; * he shall send. Isa 37:36; 45:21,22; Lu 2:11; Tit 2:13;


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