And the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the Lord and perform them…
In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:21, 24, 25 ESV)
I usually think of the New Testament in terms of gaining a missional picture of the church, where we read about the Great Commission and “every tribe, tongue, and nation” populating the new earth. But here in Isaiah there is no mistaking the missional plan of God to include the nations alongside Israel. It really is almost shocking to read, the degree of inclusiveness that is shown. Commentators consider the preaching of the gospel in the time of the apostles. In church history one of the important Christian centers was Alexandria, which held perhaps the greatest library for scholarly Christian thought. Although there are still some Christian churches there today, it hardly seems a place that would fit Isaiah’s description. We still have both work to do in spreading the gospel and a great picture of what is to come.
What is even more amazing is to think of the hostility in the world that exists between these places, Israel, Egypt, and Assyria (modern day Iraq/Iran). Can you imagine these nations at peace, worshiping alongside one another? It is quite a picture!
This gives hope for our own quarrels, does it not? Are there not people in your life with whom you have strife and have built up walls? The gospel overcomes these. It opens highways through our walls.