Thursday after the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Ezekiel 28-30 (NKJV)
28:1 The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, 2 “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD:
“Because your heart is lifted up, and you say, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, in the midst of the seas,’ Yet you are a man, and not a god, though you set your heart as the heart of a god 3 (behold, you are wiser than Daniel! There is no secret that can be hidden from you! 4 With your wisdom and your understanding you have gained riches for yourself, and gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; 5 By your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches, and your heart is lifted up because of your riches),”
6 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:
“Because you have set your heart as the heart of a god, 7 behold, therefore, I will bring strangers against you, the most terrible of the nations; And they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, and defile your splendor. 8 They shall throw you down into the Pit, and you shall die the death of the slain in the midst of the seas. 9 Will you still say before him who slays you, ‘I am a god’? But you shall be a man, and not a god, in the hand of him who slays you. 10 You shall die the death of the uncircumcised by the hand of aliens; For I have spoken,” says the Lord GOD.'”
11 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 12 “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD:
“You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. 14 You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. 16 By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. 17 Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you. 18 You defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, and I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you. 19 All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; You have become a horror, and shall be no more forever.”‘”
20 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 21 “Son of man, set your face toward Sidon, and prophesy against her, 22 “and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD:
“Behold, I am against you, O Sidon; I will be glorified in your midst; And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I execute judgments in her and am hallowed in her. 23 For I will send pestilence upon her, and blood in her streets; The wounded shall be judged in her midst by the sword against her on every side; Then they shall know that I am the LORD.
24 “And there shall no longer be a pricking brier or a painful thorn for the house of Israel from among all who are around them, who despise them. Then they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.”
25 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and am hallowed in them in the sight of the Gentiles, then they will dwell in their own land which I gave to My servant Jacob. 26 And they will dwell safely there, build houses, and plant vineyards; yes, they will dwell securely, when I execute judgments on all those around them who despise them. Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God.”‘”
29:1 In the tenth year, in the tenth month, on the twelfth day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt. 3 Speak, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD:
“Behold, I am against you, O Pharaoh king of Egypt, O great monster who lies in the midst of his rivers, who has said, ‘My River is my own; I have made it for myself.’ 4 But I will put hooks in your jaws, and cause the fish of your rivers to stick to your scales; I will bring you up out of the midst of your rivers, and all the fish in your rivers will stick to your scales. 5 I will leave you in the wilderness, you and all the fish of your rivers; You shall fall on the open field; You shall not be picked up or gathered. I have given you as food to the beasts of the field and to the birds of the heavens.
6 “Then all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD,
“because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel. 7 When they took hold of you with the hand, you broke and tore all their shoulders; When they leaned on you, you broke and made all their backs quiver.”
8 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will bring a sword upon you and cut off from you man and beast. 9 And the land of Egypt shall become desolate and waste; then they will know that I am the LORD, because he said,
‘The River is mine, and I have made it.’ 10 Indeed, therefore, I am against you and against your rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from Migdol to Syene, as far as the border of Ethiopia. 11 Neither foot of man shall pass through it nor foot of beast pass through it, and it shall be uninhabited forty years. 12 I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate; and among the cities that are laid waste, her cities shall be desolate forty years; and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries.”
13 ‘Yet, thus says the Lord GOD: “At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the peoples among whom they were scattered. 14 I will bring back the captives of Egypt and cause them to return to the land of Pathros, to the land of their origin, and there they shall be a lowly kingdom. 15 It shall be the lowliest of kingdoms; it shall never again exalt itself above the nations, for I will diminish them so that they will not rule over the nations anymore. 16 No longer shall it be the confidence of the house of Israel, but will remind them of their iniquity when they turned to follow them. Then they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.”‘”
17 And it came to pass in the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 18 “Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon caused his army to labor strenuously against Tyre; every head was made bald, and every shoulder rubbed raw; yet neither he nor his army received wages from Tyre, for the labor which they expended on it. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Surely I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; he shall take away her wealth, carry off her spoil, and remove her pillage; and that will be the wages for his army. 20 I have given him the land of Egypt for his labor, because they worked for Me,’ says the Lord GOD.
21 ‘In that day I will cause the horn of the house of Israel to spring forth, and I will open your mouth to speak in their midst. then they shall know that I am the LORD.'”
30:1 The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, 2 “Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD:
“Wail, ‘Woe to the day!’ 3 For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near; It will be a day of clouds, the time of the Gentiles. 4 The sword shall come upon Egypt, and great anguish shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain fall in Egypt, and they take away her wealth, and her foundations are broken down.
5 “Ethiopia, Libya, Lydia, all the mingled people, Chub, and the men of the lands who are allied, shall fall with them by the sword.”
6 ‘Thus says the LORD:
“Those who uphold Egypt shall fall, and the pride of her power shall come down. From Migdol to Syene those within her shall fall by the sword,” says the Lord GOD. 7 “They shall be desolate in the midst of the desolate countries, and her cities shall be in the midst of the cities that are laid waste. 8 Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I have set a fire in Egypt and all her helpers are destroyed.
9 “On that day messengers shall go forth from Me in ships to make the careless Ethiopians afraid, and great anguish shall come upon them, as on the day of Egypt; For indeed it is coming!”
10 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD:
“I will also make a multitude of Egypt to cease by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. 11 He and his people with him, the most terrible of the nations, shall be brought to destroy the land; They shall draw their swords against Egypt, and fill the land with the slain. 12 I will make the rivers dry, and sell the land into the hand of the wicked; I will make the land waste, and all that is in it, by the hand of aliens. I, the LORD, have spoken.”
13 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD:
“I will also destroy the idols, and cause the images to cease from Noph; There shall no longer be princes from the land of Egypt; I will put fear in the land of Egypt. 14 I will make Pathros desolate, set fire to Zoan, and execute judgments in No. 15 I will pour My fury on Sin, the strength of Egypt; I will cut off the multitude of No, 16 and set a fire in Egypt; Sin shall have great pain, No shall be split open, and Noph shall be in distress daily. 17 The young men of Aven and Pi Beseth shall fall by the sword, and these cities shall go into captivity. 18 At Tehaphnehes the day shall also be darkened, when I break the yokes of Egypt there. And her arrogant strength shall cease in her; As for her, a cloud shall cover her, and her daughters shall go into captivity. 19 Thus I will execute judgments on Egypt, then they shall know that I am the LORD.”‘”
20 And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first month, on the seventh day of the month, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 21 “Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and see, it has not been bandaged for healing, nor a splint put on to bind it, to make it strong enough to hold a sword. 22 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Surely I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and will break his arms, both the strong one and the one that was broken; and I will make the sword fall out of his hand. 23 I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them throughout the countries. 24 I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon and put My sword in his hand; but I will break Pharaoh’s arms, and he will groan before him with the groanings of a mortally wounded man. 25 Thus I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but the arms of Pharaoh shall fall down; they shall know that I am the LORD, when I put My sword into the hand of the king of Babylon and he stretches it out against the land of Egypt. 26 I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.'”
“No longer shall it be the confidence of the house of Israel, but will remind them of their iniquity when they turned to follow them. Then they shall know that I am the Lord GOD” (Eze. 29:16).
God’s people had put their trust in the Egyptian paper tiger. Rather than trusting in the true God for deliverance from the Assyrians, the kings of Judah placed their confidence in Egypt, their ally. Judah had picked a weak ally, but what is worse is that they had the promises of the true God and so often refused to place their confidence in God’s Word alone. The Lord says in today’s reading that once Egypt is subjugated, the house of Israel will no longer place her confidence in Egypt. He will remove the illusion of support from Israel so that they learn to trust in the promises of God for their deliverance.
So it is for His Christians. We often put our fear, love, and trust in the things of this life. Our hearts are daily tempted to place our confidence in our own abilities, our cunning, or our possessions and wealth. None of these will deliver us from the perils of this life, let alone our true adversaries of sin, death, and the wiles of the devil. We have the Lord’s promise in Psalm 50:15, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” Part of daily taking up our cross and following Christ means to put our confidence in His promises because they are certain and will not fail us. The help of men and worldly things will not save us. Our help is in the Name of the Lord.
Lord God, increase our faith in the promises You give us through Your Gospel and Sacraments. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.