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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Egypt, My People

And the LORD will strike Egypt, He will stride and heal it, they will return to the LORD, and He will be entreated by them and heal them.  In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians  In that day Israel will be on of three with Egypt and Assyria--a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, " Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance." Is 19:22-25

This was the chapter I read as our plane descended into Cairo, just happened to be where I am in my multi-site read through the Bible.  What a beautiful vision of the MIddle East.  No rhetoric about rights of one country over another, but a promise of healing, of family, of three siblings all valued and unique, all loved and blessed.  

In fact much of Isaiah, and other parts of the Old Testament, express God's concern for the nations of the ancient world, for Sudan and Syria, Egypt and Lebanon, Palestine and Ethiopia.  The people of Israel are called to bless them, to live as channels of God's mercy and grace to the rest.  A far cry from most of history, I'm afraid, but a burden of tenderness towards diverse civilizations nonetheless.

More in the next few posts on a three-day three-night sojourn into Egypt.  Scott's seminary professor taught him that one must see and grasp and tread the geography to understand the story of the past, because rivers and valleys and rainfall and coastlines impact the movement of peoples and the progress of cultures.  Nowhere is that more true than in the biblical lands.  So it was a great privilege to follow the paths of Joseph, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus, from the Nile to the deserts and back. To appreciate Truth, with a capital T, embedded in ancient Egyptian civilization, to admire the scope and scale of their art and ambition, to marvel and hope, because this is a country of God's people.

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