Egypt! Egypt! A Meditation for Today

by John Piper

Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013, at 2:08 pm

Pastor/poet John Piper explains below why we should care about Egypt’s newest misery. His second “news poem for—see his May 17 commentary on the Boston Marathon bombing and Connecticut school shooting—updates the 17th and 18th century journalistic practice of reflecting in verse on battles, disasters, murders, and other events, with news poems published in single page “broadsides” and sold for a penny.—Marvin Olasky

Egypt! Egypt!

A Meditation for Today on Isaiah 19:24-25

O Egypt, Egypt, do you not

   Recall, dear friend—have you forgot—

That twice you were the savior of 

   My only Son—though not from love?

You fed him in the famine. Then

   You took him for a slave. And when

I rescued him, I made you know

   My name, my power, and how much woe 

Will fall on those who mock my Son.

   And when he came again, the One

That Herod would destroy, he fled

   Once more to his dear friend who fed 

Him once before. And there you hid 

   And suckled him like Moses, ’mid

The rushes and the riches of

   The regal court—though not from love.

Two years you gave him shield and bread

   Until his enemies were dead

And it was safe for him to make

   His way back home, and for your sake

To die. 

                            O Egypt, Egypt, will

   You now destroy his house, and kill

His people, cut his seamless word

   To pieces, lest the truth be heard— 

The sweetest news that he, or I,

   Could ever speak? 

                                  And so I cry

Aloud again: O Egypt, Hear

   This tender word. It is as near

To you as hope. Did not your own

   Isaiah tenderly make known

My heart? O Listen, Egypt! “In

   That day, in spite of all your sin,

Together, you and Israel,

   And vast Assyria, will dwell

As one—the kingdom of my Son—

   And in that day, with joy, I’ll stun

The world, and call you mine. And you

   Will be my people. Yes, the true

And happy bride of Christ, with all

   Your meek and broken foes who call

On his great name. And in the end,

   You'll know why I have called you friend.”

John Piper's poem is also available at the Desiring God website.

Hear John Piper read Egypt! Egypt! A Meditation for Today.”

John Piper

John is founder and teacher of and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary.

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