Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!
2 Yet he also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back his words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity.
3 Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together.
4 For thus hath the Lord spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the Lord of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.
5 As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.
6 Turn ye unto him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted.
7 For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin.
8 Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited.
9 And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the Lord, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem.
According to an American folk legend, John Henry won the contest that tested his human strength with a sledge hammer against that of a steam-powered hammer drill. Unfortunately, winning that contest cost him his life. Henry died of exhaustion after he won because he was only a man. The steam-powered hammer drill went on to be used in building railways long after John Henry was dead, but that doesn’t mean that we should put our trust in machines either. Our trust needs to be placed in the source of real strength.
Israel thought they could find help by turning to the military might of Egypt, but Isaiah 31:3 says, “Now the Egyptians are men, and not God, and their horses flesh, and not spirit.” The implication is clear: trust in God and in the power of His Spirit. The last part of Zechariah 4:6 reads, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” This tells me that we cannot fight our way out of trouble and neither can we talk our way out of it. We need God’s Spirit. We must let God be the source of our strength and help.
Karen D. Lifshay
Hermiston Seventh-day Adventist church chorister, Oregon USA