For an introduction to this series, click here.
Oct. 9, 2006
Now Ezekiel turns his attention to Egypt. Egypt was one of the most powerful and advanced civilizations of the ancient world. Until the Eiffel Tower was built in France in the late 1800s, the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world, a record it held (as far as we know) for nearly 4,000 years. They were a world power for nearly 2,000 years. But Ezekiel said they were about to be conquered and be forever "a lowly kingdom," which is exactly what has happened in the millenia since the time of Ezekiel.
One notable sin Ezekiel notes is the sin of pride. Twice God notes that the Pharoahs said, "The Nile is mine, and I made it." It is a dangerous thing to credit the blessings of God to yourself or something else besides God. James reminds us that "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights." (James 1:17, ESV) But we do this all the time, don't we? We figure that we are the ones who brought about our good fortune. When things go bad, well, that's God's fault. The Christian will say something like "God is teaching me a lesson." That sounds all spiritual, but really it's not much different than the unbeliever screaming at the sky for his misfortune.
The American ideal is the "self-made man." We have to fight against that if we are going to live the lives God has called us to live. People who are actually self-made have pretty wretched lives even here in this world. And obviously if our lives are self-made we will regret that choice in eternity. Yes, we are certainly responsible for ourselves to God, but most of that responsibility will be based on how we use the gifts that He gives us and acknowledge His lordship over us, not on how we picked ourselves up by our own bootstraps.