Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
And rely on horses,
Who trust in chariots because they are many,
And in horsemen because they are very strong,
But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
Nor seek the Lord!
2 Yet He also is wise and will bring disaster,
And will not call back His words,
But will arise against the house of evildoers,
And against the help of those who work iniquity.
3 Now the Egyptians are men, and not God;
And their horses are flesh, and not spirit.
When the Lord stretches out His hand,
Both he who helps will fall,
And he who is helped will fall down;
They all will perish together.
4 For thus the Lord has spoken to me:
“As a lion roars,
And a young lion over his prey
(When a multitude of shepherds is summoned against him,
He will not be afraid of their voice
Nor be disturbed by their noise),
So the Lord of hosts will come down
To fight for Mount Zion and for its hill.
5 Like birds flying about,
So will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem.
Defending, He will also deliver it;
Passing over, He will preserve it.”
6 Return to Him against whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted. 7 For in that day every man shall throw away his idols of silver and his idols of gold—sin, which your own hands have made for yourselves.
8 “Then Assyria shall fall by a sword not of man,
And a sword not of mankind shall devour him.
But he shall flee from the sword,
And his young men shall become forced labor.
9 He shall cross over to his stronghold for fear,
And his princes shall be afraid of the banner,”
Says the Lord,
Whose fire is in Zion
And whose furnace is in Jerusalem.
Two quick points today. Study history of this era and you will discover that Sennacherib, the king of Assyria tried to destroy Jerusalem and should have succeeded but mysteriously failed and returned home never to attempt another attack for the rest of his reign. Historical sources outside the Bible confirm this. The Bible tells us that his army surrounded the walls of Jerusalem but the next morning 185000 of his soldiers lay dead on the field. God promised He would not allow Assyria to destroy Jerusalem and He kept His word. It's interesting to think how different the story of that era could and would have been had King Ahaz trusted God and never hired Assyria to protect them to begin with. One mistake lead to more yet even after it all God kept His promise, trying by every means possible to demonstrate that He could be trusted.
The chapter begins with an warning not to seek help from Egypt. What I want us to notice is verse two. When God fights or brings disaster or chooses a side it is never based on nationality, race, colour, religion, or any such man-made line. God fights for justice. He puts down the oppressors. He subdues evil. The reason He didn't want Judah seeking help from Egypt was because they were evil and He couldn't work in them or through them. There is a reason why Jerusalem is held up as God's city. The name means city of peace and that's what God's army fights for - Peace. Not military peace. Not forced compliance. Not legislated truces. He desires true peace. The peace where a lion and lamb can graze together. A peace where a child can play with both. A peace where no one hurts or destroys in all His holy mountain. He cooperates with those who seek this kind of peace. He walks in step with those who defend the cause of the widow and the orphans.
His kingdom is coming. What a day, glorious day that will be!