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Previously, we examined the first three of seven oracles Ezekiel delivered against Egypt. From a devotional perspective, we observed the allure that Egypt had long held for the Jews and the caution that Ezekiel offered against giving into this attraction. We want to continue along those devotional lines this morning as we examine the final four oracles in 30:20–32:32.

The fourth oracle is recorded in 30:20–26 and shows that God had already begun to act. He speaks of having broken Pharaoh’s “arm” while having strengthened Nebuchadnezzar’s “arm.” The “arm” in Scripture refers symbolically to strength. God would completely break Egypt’s strength while increasing Nebuchadnezzar’s strength in gaining world power.

The fifth oracle is found in 31:1–18, where Pharaoh is compared to a massive tree felled through its pride. Ironically, Nebuchadnezzar would receive this same message many years later (Daniel 4), though he would ultimately be moved to repentance. At this point, and for centuries prior, Egypt had been a mighty tree, greatest of all the nations. This providence, however, had led Egypt into deep pride, which God would judge. The Lord had elevated Egypt to her powerful status and could just as easily break her. In fact, Egypt would be so broken that she would be cast into the underworld, where previous nations had descended.

In the sixth oracle (32:1–16), Ezekiel revisits the image of Pharaoh as a crocodile and this time combines it with the image of a lion. These two mighty animals were no match for the God of Israel, who would cut Egypt down in its prime. The Lord again highlights Egypt’s pride and shows how Babylon will shatter her so that Egypt will be brought again to recognise Yahweh’s sovereign power, as it had before on Passover night—except, this time, no one would be spared.

The final oracle (32:17–32) is set in the underworld, Egypt’s new home following God’s judgement. Previous nations had already been judged and cast there and Egypt would join them.

As we saw previously, these oracles were delivered primarily to Judah, which means that the primary message was one of warning to God’s people. If Judah trusted in Egypt, she would find herself deeply disappointed, for she would soon fall. Therein lies the devotional lesson for us: Misplaced trust always disappoints. If we will escape disappointment, we need to be on guard against misplaced trust and do what we can to avoid it.

David Murray has suggested six steps to escape disappointment. It will be helpful to consider those steps as we think about this text.

First, prepare for disappointment. Realise that, in a fallen world, anything we trust in, outside of Christ, will ultimately disappoint. Friends, family, and even the church, will disappoint. We need to adopt a realistic view of the world in which we live if we will escape the disappointments we are certain to face.

Second, share your disappointment. Be open with God about your disappointments. Find people in your life with whom you can be transparent. Lament. Cast your burdens on the Lord. Be honest if you will not be held captive to your disappointments.

Third, remember Christ’s disappointments. You are not alone. Christ faced disappointment. His disciples frequently let him down and eventually abandoned him in his time of greatest need. He experienced everything you experience, including disappointment (Hebrews 4:15).

Fourth, submit to God’s plan for your disappointment. God is sovereign, even in your disappointment, and has a purpose in it. Trust that he is doing something great, even when life is rough.

Fifth, grow through your disappointment. Ask God to help you grow in sanctification and service even when life is difficult. Realise that God can grow you in your disappointment to help others who are experiencing similar disappointment (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Sixth, hope beyond your disappointment. If you are a believer, disappointment is temporary. Your eternal destiny is one in which disappointment will be forever banished as every hope is fulfilled in and through Christ.

As you meditate on Ezekiel 30:30–32:32 this morning, ask God to help you not to place your ultimate trust in things that disappoint. And ask him to give you a healthy view of your disappointment, holding onto eternal hope.