When Captivity and Slavery Worship Together At the Altar of the Lord








Today’s selected passage continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah, and more specifically is found in the nineteenth chapter of the book. This chapter continues in the prophetic utterances concerning the nations surrounding the house of Israel, and is directed toward the nation, land and people of Egypt. Before even considering the language that is directed toward the nation and land of Egypt it is imperative that we recognize and consider the first four words of this chapter. The nineteenth chapter opens with these four words—“The burden of Egypt”—which are absolutely incredible when you consider them. I find it to be incredibly interesting to consider that when speaking of the words which would be directed to and concerning the land of Egypt the prophet described it as “the burden of Egypt.” If there is one thing we must understand about the prophetic—especially the prophetic ministry which the Lord called specific individuals to—it’s that it wasn’t an easy task or assignment. I am convinced that the ancient Hebrew prophets carried upon their shoulders the tremendous weight, burden and responsibility of delivering the word of the Lord. Not only were these men called to deliver and declare the word of the Lord, but they were called to deliver and declare the word of the Lord to the houses of Israel and Judah. What’s more is that there were specific prophets who bore the tremendous burden and responsibility of declaring the word of the Lord concerning the nations which surrounded the houses of Israel. Men such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Amos were not only responsible for delivering the word of the Lord to the house of Israel, but the Lord also spoke to them concerning the judgment of the nations which surrounded the house of Israel. Such prophets as these not only saw the judgment of the house of Israel, but they also saw the judgment of the nations round about the house of Israel. To stand and serve as prophet of the Lord was not a small and menial task—especially when you accompanying the prophetic word of the Lord was a burden for the nations of the earth.

 Consider what it would be like to be burdened for the nations and peoples of the earth—not just burdened for the house of the Lord. Consider what type of strength one needed to possess to be able to stand and proclaim the word of the Lord to the people of God, as well as to the Gentiles. I am convinced that to stand before the Lord and serve as one of His holy prophets was not a trivial or menial task, for to stand in such a place meant that you stood between the Lord and His judgment and the nations of the earth. Pause for a moment and consider what it would have been like to stand in the gap between the nations and peoples of the earth and the Lord of Hosts Himself. As I am sitting here right now I can’t help but be gripped with the very powerful reality that the Lord has need of men and women whom He can entrust with the burden(s) of His heart and soul. I can’t help but get the strong sense that in this generation and in these Last Days the Lord of hosts is looking for men and women who possess the inner strength and fortitude to be able to stand before Him and proclaim the word of the Lord to nations, to lands, to peoples, and to those whom we interact with on a daily basis. The Lord is looking for men and women whose shoulders He can personally make broad to be able to carry the weight and burden of His heart in the earth. THE LORD WHO BROADENS YOUR SHOULDERS TO CARRY THE WEIGHT OF HIS BURDEN! It is imperative that we recognize and understand that in and of ourselves we cannot and do not possess the ability to make our own shoulders broad before the Lord to carry the weight and responsibility of His burden. It is only the Lord of hosts Himself through and by His Spirit who is able to make broad our shoulders so we can adequately carry the weight of the burden of His heart. CARRYING THE WEIGHT OF THE BURDEN OF THE LORD’S HEART! The Lord of hosts is looking for those in this generation whom He can entrust to carry the weight of the burden of His heart, and not simply carry it—but carry it as long as the Lord has ordained and appointed them to carry it.

 If there is one thing we must understand about carrying the weight of the burden of the Lord is that we have absolutely no control over when the weight of that burden is released within our lives. Moreover, we have absolutely no control over the duration of the weight of the burden of the heart of the Lord within our lives. There would be those who would seek to shorten the length of time they have been called upon to carry the burden of the weight of the heart and mind of God, yet have come to realize they have absolutely no control over such a reality within their lives. I can’t help but be reminded of the prophet Jeremiah who sought to cease proclaiming the word of the Lord to the house of Judah, yet could not escape the weight of that burden within and upon his life. In fact, the prophet would go on to say that the burden of the weight of the word of the Lord was like a fire that was shut up in his bones. THE WEIGHT OF THE BRUDEN OF THE WORD OF THE LORD! I am convinced that right now in this very hour the Lord is desperately looking for men and women whom He can entrust with the full weight of the burden of the word of the Lord. The Lord is looking for men and women who are willing to stand in the gap and make up the hedge so He doesn’t need to release His judgment upon flesh. The Lord is looking for men and women who are willing to stand before Him in prayer and allow Him to broaden their shoulders and enlarge their hearts and spirits so they can faithfully stand and proclaimed the word of the Lord to nations, lands, cities, peoples, and the like within the earth. The Lord is looking for those whom He can trust with the word of the Lord, but in addition to this the Lord is looking for those whom He can personally strengthen in order that they might faithfully carry the burden and weight of His Word. THE BURDEN OF THE WORD OF THE LORD! There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder how many men and women desire the word of the Lord, yet they are unwilling to deal with, handle and carry the weight and burden of that word. I would dare say that one of the most difficult things to do is to possess the word of the Lord absent and without the accompanying burden, weight and responsibility. The Hebrew prophets of old could not only be entrusted with the word of the Lord but could also be entrusted with the weight and burden that accompanied it.

 Perhaps the one prophet who truly understood the full weight and burden of the word of the Lord was the prophet Jeremiah who was known as “the weeping prophet.” In fact, in addition to and accompanying the prophetic book which bears his name is a second book which bears the title “Lamentations”—a book which perfectly describes the tremendous burden the word of the Lord had within and upon his life. Jeremiah continually and regularly found himself standing before the Lord and weeping—not only weeping because of the word of the Lord, but because of weight and burden of the Lord. Jeremiah was one of fifteen specific prophets whose writing makes up the prophetic literature found within the Old Testament of Scripture, yet he not only carried the weight of the burden of the Lord for Jerusalem and the house of Judah, but also for the surrounding nations, lands and peoples. Tell me—when was the last time the word of the Lord so burdened you within the very depths of your heart and spirit that you could not help but weep before the Lord? When was the last time the weight of the burden of the Lord thrust you deep into the secret closet and inner chamber of prayer where you prostrated yourself before the Lord weeping in His presence? When was the last time the word of the Lord so impacted you that it literally and utterly consumed every fiber of your being, thus causing you to experience a glimpse of the burden which the Lord Himself carries? THE BURDEN OF MOAB! THE BURDEN OF DAMASCUS! THE BURDEN OF EGYPT! Thus far within this prophetic discourse to the nations the prophet Isaiah has been met with and encountered the burden of the Lord for Moab, for Damascus and now for Egypt. The more I read and consider these words the more I can’t help but see a powerful picture of the prophetic and the burden of the Lord. In fact, I would dare say that it is utterly and completely impossible to separate the prophetic from the burden of the Lord. It is absolutely impossible to separate the word of the Lord from the burden of the Lord. Both the prophetic calling and ministry and the word of the Lord have at the very heart and foundation of them the burden of the Lord—the burden of His heart, His soul and His Spirit. Remember when the Lord declared that His Spirit would not always strive with men, and that it repented Him that He made man upon the face of the earth. Pause for a moment and consider how those two realities perfectly and accurately describe the full weight and burden of the heart of the Lord—a burden which would cause Him to cover the entire face of the earth with a flood.

 This passage within the prophetic book of Isaiah begins with a powerful description of the activity of the Lord within the land of Egypt. “Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at His presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it” (Isaiah 19:1). When speaking of the land of Egypt the first thing we find is the Lord riding upon a swift cloud and entering into the land of Egypt—something that is actually quite remarkable when you read it. PREPARE FOR THE COMING OF THE LORD! PREPARE FOR THE LORD’S ENTRANCE INTO YOUR MIDST! The words of the prophet Isaiah in this passage speak of the Lord Himself entering into the land of Egypt—something that is truly astounding when you consider that this isn’t the first time the Lord entered into the land of Egypt. When the prophet Isaiah declares and speaks of the Lord riding on a swift cloud and coming into the land of Egypt, it’s important that we understand that this was actually the second time He would visit the land. If you journey back to the Old Testament book of Exodus you will discover that the Lord entered the land of Egypt during the days of Moses—days when the children of Israel were suffering great affliction and oppression because of their slavery and bondage within the land. If you read the first thirteen chapters of the Old Testament book of Exodus you will find the very first time the Lord entered the land of Egypt—entering it not only to deliver His people out from the midst of it, but also to bring judgment upon the gods of Egypt and even Pharaoh himself. Consider the reality that the Lord didn’t enter Egypt with a message to Pharaoh to let His people go, but with a great demonstration of His might, His power and strength. Within the first fifteen chapters of the book of Exodus we find the Lord entering the land of Egypt to unleash ten plagues which would devastate land, crops, cattle and the like. In the seventh chapter of the book of Exodus we begin to see the demonstration and manifestation of the Lord’s might and power as the Lord turned the waters of the Nile River into blood, thus causing the fish and everything in the river to die, and the river itself to stink. In the eighth chapter we find the Lord revealing His incredible power in the land of Egypt by unleashing and sending frogs upon, within and throughout the land—frogs which entered every area of the land, and even into houses and the palace itself. Within the same chapter we find Moses striking the dust of the land, thus causing the Lord to send lice within and throughout the land—upon both man and beast alike. In the same chapter we find the third plague unleashed and manifested in the land as the Lord caused the land to be filled with flies that would utterly consume and cover the land.

 When you come to the ninth chapter of the book of Exodus you will find the Lord again stretching forth His hand upon the land of Egypt, as He stretched forth His hand upon the cattle which was in the field, upon the horses, upon the donkeys, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep. The Lord stretched forth His hand upon the cattle and livestock of the Egyptians within the land, thus causing them to perish among them. The Lord would then strike the Egyptians themselves and their physical bodies as he causes boils to break forth upon both man and beast throughout all the land. The Lord would then go on to send a great hailstorm upon the land of Egypt which would fall upon both man and beast that is out in the open mind exposed. Anything that was not brought in and brought into shelter would perish because of the grievous hail the Lord would rain upon the land of Egypt. Moreover, the hail which the Lord rained down upon the land of Egypt smote every herb of the field, and broke every tree of the field. Following the great hail storm the Lord caused to come upon the land of Egypt the Lord would then bring locusts into the land of Egypt, which would cover the land, eat every herb of the land and that which the hail had not destroyed when it fell upon the land. This plague was followed by two more plagues which struck and consumed the entire land of Egypt—the plague of darkness and the plague of death upon the firstborn. In total the Lord would unleash ten distinct plagues upon the land of Egypt which when they were accomplished would leave the land completely and totally devastated and ruined. Moreover, when Pharaoh sought to pursue the children of Israel in the wilderness and sought to overtake them as they passed through the waters of the Red Sea, his entire army was consumed and destroyed by the very same waters which stood as walls of passage for the children of Israel. When the Lord entered the land of Egypt he didn’t just devastate and ruin the land itself with all its cattle, trees, herbs and the like, but He also destroyed and devastated the army itself. When we come to the nineteenth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah we find the Lord entering Egypt a second time causing the idols of Egypt to be moved at His presence, and the very heart of Egypt to melt in the midst of it. PREPARE FOR A SECOND ENCOUNTER! PREPARE FOR THE LORD TO ENTER ONE MORE TIME! When the Lord entered the land of Egypt a second time His entrance caused the idols to be moved at His presence, caused the heart of Egypt to melt in the midst of it, and caused the spirit of Egypt to fail within it. What’s more, is that there was absolutely nothing that could hinder or prevent the Lord coming into the land of Egypt, for it was decreed according to His word.

 When the Lord entered the land of Egypt this second time He brought with Him and thrust the land into great chaos and confusion. The Lord came into the land of Egypt and destroyed the counsel within it, and not just destroying the counsel but thrusting the entire land into a powerful unrest. “And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom” (Isaiah 19:2). When the Lord entered the land of Egypt He would thrust the land into such chaos and confusion, and as a result civil unrest would utterly and completely consume the land. WHEN THE LORD THROWS THE ADVERSARIES INTO CONFUSION. When speaking of conflict and battle in Scripture, one of the most interesting concepts is that there were times when the Lord would thrust the enemies, foes and adversaries of Israel into such chaos and confusion that they actually start turning on and fighting each other. “And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab and Mount Sier, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another” (2 Chronicles 20:22-23). This passage is quite astounding, for within this passage—as the people of Judah worshipped—the Lord confounded and confused the adversaries of Judah before them. The Lord caused Ammon and Moab to turn on Seir, and when they had finished turning on Seir, they actually helped to destroy each other. What an incredibly powerful concept it is to think that the Lord can so confound and Von sue the adversary that they actually work to destroy each other. When I read the words of the prophet Isaiah and the great chaos and confusion the Lord was going to thrust the land of Egypt in I can’t help but consider the tremendous power in our worship, and not only the power in our worship, but also the Lord’s ability to confuse and confound the enemy. What tremendous power is found in our worship, but also in the Lord’s ability to confound and confuse the plans, the schemes the strategies and the tactics of the adversary, and to even set our adversaries against themselves. What a powerful concept it is that when the Lord shows up He can bring with Him confusion and chaos, and thus thrusting the enemy and adversary into a complete and total state of disarray.

 The nineteenth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah is truly unique, for it reveals a second visitation of the Lord upon the land of Egypt—a visitation upon that same land and people which enslaved and oppressed the children of Israel centuries earlier. The Lord would visit the land of Egypt a second time and cause the Egyptians to themselves come under a cruel lord and a fierce king—one who would oppress them as they had done to the children of Israel centuries earlier. Moreover, the prophet Isaiah goes on to describe how the waters would fail from the sea, and the river would be wasted and dried up. In other words, the Lord would completely and utterly destroy all self-confidence, all self-dependence, and the ability of the people of Egypt to trust in their own hand and what they can do and provide for themselves. The Lord would enter the land of Egypt and would strip them of all self-confidence and self-dependence as a result of His visitation. The Lord would enter the land of Egypt and produce within such a desperation that even they would turn themselves to the Lord of hosts who is God of all creation. The Lord would bring to an end all idols, all charmers, all familiar spirits, and all wizards, and would cause this very nation and people to turn to the Lord of hosts Himself. Consider what is recorded toward the end of this chapter concerning the final outcome of the Lord’s visitation upon the land of Egypt—“In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the Lord of hosts; one shall be called, The city of destruction. IN that day shall there be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the Lord. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the Lord because of the oppressors, and He shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and He shall deliver them. And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblations; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and perform it. And the Lord shall smite Egypt: He shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the Lord, and He shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them. IN that day shall there be a. Highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come to Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. IN that day shall israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance” (Isaiah 19:18-25). How absolutely incredible it is that the Lord would enter the land of Egypt, but that the ultimate outcome is that Egypt itself would be redeemed unto the Lord Himself. The Lord would enter the land of Egypt, and He would bring with Him chaos and confusion, yet everything the Lord did would draw the Egyptians unto themselves.

 REDEMPTION THROUGH JUDGMENT! REDEMPTION THROUGH CHAOS! REDEMPTION THROUGH CONFUSION! REDEMPTION THROUGH OPPRESSION! Although the Lord would enter the land of Egypt and bring with Him great judgment, everything would serve His purpose to restore and redeem Egypt. Though the Lord would afflict the land of Egypt and allow a cruel lord and fierce king to rule over them, in the end He Himself would stand as King over them. WHEN THE LORD STANDS AS KING OVER EGYPT! Despite the various attempts Egypt has made since Israel became a nation once more in the earth, the Lord is going to restore them unto Himself. When we read this passage—while we see the Lord bringing chaos and confusion into the land of Egypt—we ultimately find the Lord redeeming the inhabitants of Egypt and joining them to Israel and to Assyria. What an absolutely marvelous thing it is to consider that Egypt, Assyria and Israel would all be joined together and would be a blessing in the midst of the land. The Lord would smite Egypt, yet He would smite it and heal it in order that Egypt shall return to the Lord. The Lord would heal Egypt, and as a result He would allow Himself to be intreated of them, and would heal them. In essence, the ultimate purpose of the Lord’s visitation of the land of Egypt was to redeem them and join them together to Assyria and Israel in the earth. The Lord would even bring sacrifice and oblations into the land of Egypt, thus suggesting the purpose of the Lord’s visitation would be to bring sacrifice, worship, offerings and gifts to the land of Egypt. How powerful it is to think that the Lord can bring sacrifice and worship into a land such as Egypt—a land which at one point stood to oppress and enslave the children of Israel. How absolutely powerful it is that the Lord can bring worship even into what may seem to be the most unlikely, and perhaps even the most difficult of places. If there is one thing this passage reveals, it’s that the Lord can join together even the worst of enemies and adversaries, and can even cause them to worship together before the Lord. The Lord can cause those who bitterly and vehemently opposed each other to come together in unity and in that unity worship the Lord. If you don’t remember anything else from what I have written thus far, remember this—the Lord can join together even what may appear to be the most adamant and vehemently opposed individuals and cause them to stand before the throne of God in worship. How absolutely incredible it is that the Lord would join that nation and people that took captive the people of God and that nation and people which enslaved the people of God together with Israel and cause them to worship Him together. WHEN ADVERSARIES WORSHIP TOGETHER! WHEN FOES WORSHIP TOGETHER! Let us read this passage and understand that the Lord can unite even the most bitter of rivals, the most bitter of opponents, and the most bitter of enemies and join them together in worship. Oh that we would truly and genuinely seek the joining together of men in these Last Days in worship and sacrifice before the Lord.

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