The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD:
“Wail, ‘Alas for the day!’
For the day is near,
the day of the LORD is near;
it will be a day of clouds,
a time of doom for the nations.
A sword shall come upon Egypt,
and anguish shall be in Cush,
when the slain fall in Egypt,
and her wealth is carried away,
and her foundations are torn down.
Cush, and Put, and Lud, and all Arabia, and Libya, and the people of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword.
“Thus says the LORD:
Those who support Egypt shall fall,
and her proud might shall come down;
from Migdol to Syene
they shall fall within her by the sword,
declares the Lord GOD.
And they shall be desolated in the midst of desolated countries,
and their cities shall be in the midst of cities that are laid waste.
Then they will know that I am the LORD,
when I have set fire to Egypt,
and all her helpers are broken.
“On that day messengers shall go out from me in ships to terrify the unsuspecting people of Cush, and anguish shall come upon them on the day of Egypt's doom; for, behold, it comes!
“Thus says the Lord GOD:
“I will put an end to the wealth of Egypt,
by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.
He and his people with him, the most ruthless of nations,
shall be brought in to destroy the land,
and they shall draw their swords against Egypt
and fill the land with the slain.
And I will dry up the Nile
and will sell the land into the hand of evildoers;
I will bring desolation upon the land and everything in it,
by the hand of foreigners;
I am the LORD; I have spoken.
“Thus says the Lord GOD:
“I will destroy the idols
and put an end to the images in Memphis;
there shall no longer be a prince from the land of Egypt;
so I will put fear in the land of Egypt.
I will make Pathros a desolation
and will set fire to Zoan
and will execute judgments on Thebes.
And I will pour out my wrath on Pelusium,
the stronghold of Egypt,
and cut off the multitude of Thebes.
And I will set fire to Egypt;
Pelusium shall be in great agony;
Thebes shall be breached,
and Memphis shall face enemies by day.
The young men of On and of Pi-beseth shall fall by the sword,
and the women shall go into captivity.
At Tehaphnehes the day shall be dark,
when I break there the yoke bars of Egypt,
and her proud might shall come to an end in her;
she shall be covered by a cloud,
and her daughters shall go into captivity.
Thus I will execute judgments on Egypt.
Then they will know that I am the LORD.”
In the eleventh year, in the first month, on the seventh day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and behold, it has not been bound up, to heal it by binding it with a bandage, so that it may become strong to wield the sword. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt and will break his arms, both the strong arm and the one that was broken, and I will make the sword fall from his hand. I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them through the countries. And I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon and put my sword in his hand, but I will break the arms of Pharaoh, and he will groan before him like a man mortally wounded. I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but the arms of Pharaoh shall fall. Then they shall know that I am the LORD, when I put my sword into the hand of the king of Babylon and he stretches it out against the land of Egypt. And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”
(Ezekiel 30 ESV)
Yet he, being compassionate,
atoned for their iniquity
and did not destroy them;
he restrained his anger often
and did not stir up all his wrath.
He remembered that they were but flesh,
a wind that passes and comes not again.
How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
and grieved him in the desert!
They tested God again and again
and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
They did not remember his power
or the day when he redeemed them from the foe,
when he performed his signs in Egypt
and his marvels in the fields of Zoan.
He turned their rivers to blood,
so that they could not drink of their streams.
He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them,
and frogs, which destroyed them.
He gave their crops to the destroying locust
and the fruit of their labor to the locust.
He destroyed their vines with hail
and their sycamores with frost.
He gave over their cattle to the hail
and their flocks to thunderbolts.
He let loose on them his burning anger,
wrath, indignation, and distress,
a company of destroying angels.
He made a path for his anger;
he did not spare them from death,
but gave their lives over to the plague.
He struck down every firstborn in Egypt,
the firstfruits of their strength in the tents of Ham.
Then he led out his people like sheep
and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid,
but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
And he brought them to his holy land,
to the mountain which his right hand had won.
He drove out nations before them;
he apportioned them for a possession
and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.
Yet they tested and rebelled against the Most High God
and did not keep his testimonies,
but turned away and acted treacherously like their fathers;
they twisted like a deceitful bow.
For they provoked him to anger with their high places;
they moved him to jealousy with their idols.
When God heard, he was full of wrath,
and he utterly rejected Israel.
He forsook his dwelling at Shiloh,
the tent where he dwelt among mankind,
and delivered his power to captivity,
his glory to the hand of the foe.
He gave his people over to the sword
and vented his wrath on his heritage.
Fire devoured their young men,
and their young women had no marriage song.
Their priests fell by the sword,
and their widows made no lamentation.
Then the Lord awoke as from sleep,
like a strong man shouting because of wine.
And he put his adversaries to rout;
he put them to everlasting shame.
He rejected the tent of Joseph;
he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim,
but he chose the tribe of Judah,
Mount Zion, which he loves.
He built his sanctuary like the high heavens,
like the earth, which he has founded forever.
He chose David his servant
and took him from the sheepfolds;
from following the nursing ewes he brought him
to shepherd Jacob his people,
Israel his inheritance.
With upright heart he shepherded them
and guided them with his skillful hand.
(Psalm 78:38-72 ESV)
Preparing the Next Generation
Psalm 78 recounts specific events from Israel’s past so that future generations of God’s people might learn from these lessons and avoid the temptations of unbelief and rebellion like the generations before them had experienced. The emphasis throughout this Psalm is the obligation of God's people to shape the next generation with the truths of God. Towards the beginning of the Psalm, the psalmist writes:
He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments. (Psalm 78:5-7)
These verses provide God's people with a perspective and a plan to produce a certain product among the next generation.
The psalmist mentions God has "established a testimony and appointed a law." In shaping the next generation, we need to consistently communicate the character of God and help our children contemplate the content of Scripture. We ought to recount stories within our homes of ways God has personally provided and worked powerfully in our own life and the life of our family. We must treasure the truth and value the voice of God while we help our children realize that what God has said in human history matters.
The psalmist mentions how God has commanded us to "teach our children." As God's people, we must urgently take the character of God and the content of Scripture and integrate it into everything that makes up the life and routine of our families. The life of our family ought to be focused on magnifying who God is and honoring what God says. This kind of living and teaching will powerfully mark and influence the next generation.
The psalmist mentions that we do these things "so that the next generation will set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments." Is there any greater goal in the life of a parent or overseer of children than that they would grow up and live as the psalmist describes here? We want our children to be independently dependent on God. We want them to have assurance and confidence that a relationship with God really works. If each generation would take the implications of this Psalm seriously and devote their lives to this manner of intentional living then we will find ourselves powerfully protecting multitudes of God's people from the devastations of unbelief and the temptations of rebellion.