In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria…
The two great powers which have hitherto met only as foes are to meet in the worship of Jehovah. And in consequence of this there is to be fellowship between them. And this is brought about by the little central state. Israel has reached the grand end of its calling; it becomes a blessing to the whole circuit of the earth. It is a grand prophecy destined to find its full accomplishment in the latter days.
I. IT IS GOD'S PURPOSE TO PERFECT THE RACE THROUGH INTERNATIONAL INTERCOURSE AND FRIENDSHIP. Chronic national antagonism is not Heaven's design. Neither is the design of God respecting the various peoples that they should dwell in a state of isolation. The Divine purpose is manifestly that the several nations shall complete each other through sympathy and reciprocity.
1. Geography indicates this. The good things of nature are not all found in any one land; reciprocity is designed and necessitated by the very dispositions of soil and climate.
2. Ethnology also gives a reason for national sympathy and intercourse. No one national type includes all perfections. The nations need one another. History shows us the solidarity of the race and how wonderfully any one people is enriched by the contributions of the rest. Take our own nation. In our gardens are the flowers and fruits of all climates. In a thousand ways our neighbours have contributed to make us what we are. The Italians and French taught us silk weaving. The Flemings taught us our fine woollen trade. The Venetians showed us how to make glass. A German erected our first paper mill. A Dutchman began our potteries. The Genoese taught us to build ships. And so history reveals that through successive generations the several nations have enriched each other in art, industry, literature, jurisprudence, language, philosophy, government, and religion. The thought of God is the brotherhood of man, and all things prove it.
II. THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST IS THE SUPREME UNIFYING POWER OF THE RACE. In the fulness of its meaning this is what our text signifies. The lesson here for us is that the marriage of nations will take place where other marriages are celebrated — at the altar of God. In other words, the unifying power of the race is the highest religious faith — the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Some suppose that the ameliorative reconciling influence will be found in commerce. But there are malign influences which defeat the benign influences of trade.
2. Others think that the principle of unity will be found in the cultivation of cosmopolitan literature. The influence of great literature is pacifying, but it must also be remembered that such literature feeds patriotism, which is a peril.
3. Many build great hopes on science. Science reveals the unity of nature, but it teaches also that all nature is full of strife, and civilisation itself is built on antagonism. It is only as a great faith changes the spirit of man that discords will resolve themselves into harmonies.
III. GOD HAS IN A VERY SPECIAL MEASURE COMMITTED UNTO US THE VERY EDIFYING GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. To a large extent England in this age occupies the position that Israel occupied of old — it is our special calling to bring all nations to the obedience of the faith. As Palestine came between Egypt and Assyria so this island comes in a wonderful manner between the Old World and the New. God gave spiritual gifts in a remarkable degree to Israel, and God has given us richly the treasure of His Gospel. God has also given to us special powers for the diffusion of the Gospel.
(W. L. Watkinson.)
Parallel VersesKJV: In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.