What an amazing sight when someone is pulled from the ruins of a catastrophe or natural disaster! Millions of people around the world have watched in hope as rescue workers reach someone clinging to a tree in the midst of flood rapids or find a person alive under mounds of rubble. We cheer with gladness for the heroic efforts to save lives from the fire or flood or earthquake. The only thing that can add to the elation of the moment is to witness the rescued victim worship Christ with thanksgiving for sparing his life in mercy.
In Isaiah 19, Egypt meets with disaster for a second time in her great history with Israel. Repeated references to the contamination and disappearance of the waters of the Nile River should remind us of the plagues the Lord unleashed on Egypt to persuade Pharaoh to let the Israelites go (see Exodus 7–11). Now the Lord would make Judah a victor over Egypt, weakening Egypt without any recourse for help (19:17).
We should note that Egypt’s punishment leads to the worship of the Lord. Remnants of peoples from both Egypt and Assyria will bow at altars dedicated to the Lord. Members of these polytheistic nations will turn to Israel’s God. What a wonderful word of hope for people who had been in opposition to the Lord and His people! Even in His judgment, God makes a way for people to know and worship Him.
We can participate in this work of reconciliation through the preaching of the gospel. We can make the Lord known to nations in the world hostile to Christ so that they too become His handiwork (Eph. 2:10). Our trust is in the Lord to bring people of all nations to faith in Him.
What people or nations do you think are beyond the reach of the gospel? The answer is—no one! Even in places where Christians are oppressed and the government officially bars missionaries, servants of God use online media channels, smuggled Bibles, and distribution of food aid to share the gospel. Pray that many will believe and worship the Lord!