The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “ ‘Wail and say, “Alas for that day!” For the day is near, the day of the Lord is near— a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations. A sword will come against Egypt, and anguish will come upon Cush. When the slain fall in Egypt, her wealth will be carried away and her foundations torn down. Cush and Libya, Lydia and all Arabia, Kub and the people of the covenant land will fall by the sword along with Egypt. “ ‘This is what the Lord says: “ ‘The allies of Egypt will fall and her proud strength will fail. From Migdol to Aswan they will fall by the sword within her, declares the Sovereign Lord . “ ‘They will be desolate among desolate lands, and their cities will lie among ruined cities. Then they will know that I am the Lord , when I set fire to Egypt and all her helpers are crushed. “ ‘On that day messengers will go out from me in ships to frighten Cush out of her complacency. Anguish will take hold of them on the day of Egypt’s doom, for it is sure to come. “ ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “ ‘I will put an end to the hordes of Egypt by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. He and his army—the most ruthless of nations— will be brought in to destroy the land. They will draw their swords against Egypt and fill the land with the slain. I will dry up the waters of the Nile and sell the land to an evil nation; by the hand of foreigners I will lay waste the land and everything in it. I the Lord have spoken. ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “ ‘I will destroy the idols and put an end to the images in Memphis. No longer will there be a prince in Egypt, and I will spread fear throughout the land. I will lay waste Upper Egypt, set fire to Zoan and inflict punishment on Thebes. I will pour out my wrath on Pelusium, the stronghold of Egypt, and wipe out the hordes of Thebes. I will set fire to Egypt; Pelusium will writhe in agony. Thebes will be taken by storm; Memphis will be in constant distress. The young men of Heliopolis and Bubastis will fall by the sword, and the cities themselves will go into captivity. Dark will be the day at Tahpanhes when I break the yoke of Egypt; there her proud strength will come to an end. She will be covered with clouds, and her villages will go into captivity. So I will inflict punishment on Egypt, and they will know that I am the Lord .’ ” Ezekiel 30:1-19
Today’s passage continues the dire prophecy against Egypt and Pharaoh. This time their day of doom comes with “a day of clouds”. What immediately comes to mind when I think of a day of clouds is my childhood growing up in Seattle, WA. There were many times when we would go weeks without seeing the sun. I do not think that is the image God is trying to convey here.
God up to this point has interacted with the people of Israel as a cloud in the temple, or even clouds high above. I think God is telling Pharaoh and the people of Egypt that He is going to show up in a dramatic and permeating way, like a cloud – a Godly condensate.
I suppose one could also view this “day of clouds” as a menacing, slate-grey, gathering of thunderheads ready to rain on everyone’s parade. Perhaps these seemingly disparate views are really a distinction without a difference. Whether God appears as a gentle dew or a drenching rain may depend on where one is standing.
Pharaoh and the Egyptian people are standing pridefully on the banks of the Nile thinking they are something special. God makes it clear Who the true water source is in this parable. He says “I will dry up the waters of the Nile and sell the land to an evil nation”. God wants the Egyptian people to acknowledge that He is the true source of the Nile and all that it provides.
I think we all have “Nile Rivers” in our lives. Things and people in whom we place our trust rather than the God who made them. Perhaps the Egyptians were just more up front and “in your face” about it, but the end result is the same. We must decide when the “day of clouds” arrives do we run for cover to avoid God’s rain, or do we allow God’s spirit to envelope us and permeate our very soul.
Prayer: God help me to receive Your presence as a permeating cloud, drenching my soul.