“Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the LORD, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge.” Isaiah 30:1-2
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
“Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the LORD, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge.” (Isaiah 30:1-2)
The reports of Palestinian behavior following Israel’s departure from the Gaza Strip are being largely ignored by officials who can’t say enough about how successful Israel’s evacuation has been.
Jewish farmers in Gaza had built a network of greenhouses sufficient to supply much of Europe’s produce needs. To prevent their destruction, American Jews donated $14 million to purchase the 3000 greenhouses from their evicted owners and present them to the Palestinian people as a gift that would provide 14,000 much needed jobs. Within a few days of Israel’s departure they’ve been vandalized almost beyond use. A similar story concerns the Gaza industrial center, where another 12,000 potential jobs have been threatened due to vandalism. This happened because the Palestinian Authority failed to assert control over the area before the vandals could get there.
A more serious problem concerns Palestinian and Egyptian betrayal of both Israel and the US. Following months of hard negotiating, Egypt agreed to assume control for its side of the Gaza border with the PA controlling theirs. This border has long been a hotbed of arms smuggling that required Israel’s constant attention. Israel even agreed to the presence of a limited number of Egyptian military police in the Sinai, a situation prohibited by treaty since the 1973 de-militarization.
But as Israeli forces withdrew, nearly 20,000 Palestinians surged across the border into Egypt, providing a distraction that permitted several thousand others to cross from Egypt into Gaza. Observers claim that many among them were armed terrorists. Hamas operatives even blew holes in the border wall to facilitate this, right under the noses of both Egyptian and Palestinian forces.
Egypt now wants to scrap the agreement and start over. In the mean time they’ve given the Palestinians another 96 hours of unrestricted movement after which they’ll begin to monitor travel from Gaza into Egypt but won’t say when they’ll be able to halt the flow from Egypt into Gaza. It’s a smugglers dream! It’s been estimated that the amount of ammunition and explosives that have come into Gaza in the past few days would have required almost a year to bring in before, and perhaps the entire Palestinian stash hidden in the Sinai now rests in Gaza.
As for the thousands of Palestinians who haven’t returned from their foray into Egypt, Cairo wants to send 5-6,000 secret police into the Sinai to locate and return them. That’s nearly 10 times the number agreed upon in the negotiations, and gives Egypt a substantial military presence there.
While all this is going on, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon is visiting the UN where he’s receiving numerous accolades for a job well done. World leaders are standing in line to congratulate him. As an example, US Secretary of State Rice recently said, “Israeli Prime Minister Sharon’s courageous decision (to leave Gaza) will enhance Israel’s security and allow the Palestinians to make progress towards building the necessary institutions for a future state.” Have our leaders taken total leave of their senses, or are they purposely backing Israel into a corner from which there’s no escape?
There’s a verse from Daniel that comes to mind as I write this. Maybe you’ve heard diplomacy described as opposing parties sitting down together and agreeing on something neither side wanted. But Daniel gives us as good a definition of diplomacy as any I’ve ever seen and it certainly seems to apply here. The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time. (Daniel 11:27)
The two kings were Antiochus IV and Ptolemy VI and the conversation took place a couple of centuries BC but it could just as easily be describing current events. I don’t think the Egyptians ever intended to keep their agreement with Israel, instead hoping for an opportunity to station as many troops in the Sinai as possible. I also don’t think PM Sharon is anywhere near as favorably disposed toward Palestinian statehood as he sounded in his UN speech. And we’ve already seen how the US has backtracked on its position.
But in the final analysis it doesn’t matter what these, or any other, world leaders do. The end will still come at the appointed time, and those who have convinced themselves that they’re in charge will have to give an accounting to the One Who really is.
Fortunately for God’s chosen people, His plan for them isn’t contingent upon the behavior of their leaders. He made them a promise and He’s going to keep it. His word is at stake.
This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.
For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God”. (Ezek. 36:22-28)
It’s clear that this prophecy has already entered the realization phase. And while it’s not totally fulfilled, once He begins something the Lord always follows through to completion.
Currently about ½ the world’s Jews live in Israel. The rest will come back following the Battle of Ezekiel 38. Then His Temple will be rebuilt and Israel’s final seven years of purification and preparation will commence. Just before His return, the Lord will pour out His Spirit upon them and give them the heart transplant He promised through Ezekiel.
Now at last the Fourth Cup of the Passover, the one the He didn’t drink on the night of His betrayal, can be lifted in its final fulfillment. (The fourth cup represents God’s fourth promise to Moses at the burning bush. “I will take you as my own people and I will be your God.” Exodus 6:7.) The Land of Israel will finally be fit to receive its distinguished Landlord. He will again dwell among His chosen tenants, and Peace will reign on Earth.
Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me from inside the temple. He said: “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever. (Ezekiel 43:5-7) Selah 09-18-05