Blessing of the GentilesDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
For the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will say, “Blessed be Egypt, my people. Blessed be Assyria, the land I have made. Blessed be Israel, my special possession!”
Isaiah 19 is a prophecy concerning Egypt. It begins much as we might expect, with the Lord promising judgment on the Egyptians. But then, beginning with verse 18, the tide changes most unexpectedly. Isaiah looks forward to a day when even the Egyptians, Israel’s classic enemy, will turn to the Lord. After striking Egypt in judgment, God will heal Egypt in mercy.
The closing verse of Isaiah 19 is one of the most surprising in the whole Old Testament. One of Israel’s treasures is the knowledge that she is God’s special nation. The Lord refers to the Israelites as “my people.” But in Isaiah 19:25, the Lord says, “Blessed be Egypt, my people. Blessed be Assyria, the land I have made. Blessed be Israel, my special possession.” Israel is not demoted. She is still special to the Lord. But in a shocking way, he identifies both Egypt and Assyria as his special people as well.
How does this passage speak to us today? For one thing, it reminds us that though we are special to the Lord, he is reaching out to other special people as well. Churches are indeed gatherings of God’s people, but he claims others in the communities where churches find themselves. In fact, God places churches where they are, not only that they might be blessed, but also so that they my reach out to draw others into the fellowship of God’s people. Every church has a missional calling: to proclaim in word and demonstrate in action the gospel of Jesus Christ, so that people might come to faith and join the people of God.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How might you think differently of non-Christian people in your life if you thought of them as potentially God’s people? How are you living so that people might be drawn to God through you? Do you have a passion to see non-Christian folk come to the Lord?
PRAYER: God of the whole earth, this is an astounding verse. So much of the Old Testament emphasizes your unique relationship with Israel. But here we are reminded that you seek other people as well. Your plan was to reach all nations, even the Egyptians and the Assyrians, through the Israelites. So you chose Israel to be your special people, and from Israel raised up one who was the Savior of the World.
How I thank you, Lord, for including the Gentiles in your plan . . . because this means you have included me! Though I am not part of Israel in the flesh, I am still one of your people.
Help me, Lord, to live in this world as a channel of your grace and truth to others. May people be drawn to you through me. And may this also be true of my church. May we speak and act in our community so that people might become your disciples. Amen.