July 17 (Daily reading: Isaiah 18-22) Isaiah 19:23-25 is a fascinating prophecy: “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrians will come into Egypt and the Egyptians into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be the third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.”
This is a description of peace between three historically bitter enemies. And not just a political peace, because they will worship together, and will be “a blessing in the midst of the earth.” Egypt will be called God’s people, Assyria God’s handiwork, and Israel, as always, God’s inheritance!
I read online that Assyrians can be found in their ancestral homelands in modern-day northern Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. They are also in more than twenty-six other countries worldwide. There are an estimated 3.3 million Assyrians throughout the world, which includes 1.5 million in Iraq, 700,000 in the Syria, and about 400,000 in the U.S. They have emigrated largely because of heavy persecution.
Commentaries differ on how to interpret this passage. Some talk about the time of Alexander the Great; others look ahead to Christ’s one-thousand-year reign. Whatever the full meaning, I am encouraged by the text. It shows me that God is the God of all the nations, and that His grace has the power to heal all that divides us. All people will know His blessing! Ultimately, “at the name of Jesus every knew will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10-11).
– Al Gary