There is the most astonishing collection of verses of promise in the Bible given by the prophet Isaiah around 700 BC.
“In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt, and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day, Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The LORD Almighty will bless them saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.'” (Isaiah 19:23-25)
This reveals the intent of the Gospel of Christ and the very heart of God. Assyria were responsible for the destruction and Exile of the ten northern tribes of Israel (c. 721 BC), all except the two Southern Tribes of Benjamin and Judah. Yet 700 years before this Egypt were the bad guys in the Exodus, against whom God displayed his power and might.
But here, in this astonishing verse, Egypt of the Exodus; Assyria of the Exile and Israel of the Covenant. We have those that God has punished, those whom God used for judgement and those whom God chose to be His people, all of them, called to be a blessing in the earth.
Yet while Assyria is harder to define these days as a people, maybe they represent all those people lost to history through war, conquest and empire. Egypt, a land I have lived and worked in for three years is much easier to define, but maybe they represent all those who build their lives apart from God, living lives and using others apart from the Lordship of God Almighty. And Israel (not to be confused with political Israel today), but Israel, a nation of slaves chosen to be the slaves of God through whom God would redeem the whole earth.
But more than that! God uses those lost, those against Him and those He Himself chooses to be a blessing. No one is left out in God’s great plan of salvation. Our prayers are with all the lost in this world; our prayers are with you Egypt to be what Christ has called you and promised you to be; and our prayers are with those who are the Israel of God, circumcised in heart and mind, following Jesus and being Jesus to the world. There is no greater blessing.
EGYPT RISE UP AND BE A BLESSING. The Lord Jesus is with you.
(c) picture by deenaemad used with thanks
The Coptic Church and its countless martyrs is the fulfillment of this verse.