On April 29, during the eleventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. His arm has not been put in a cast so that it may heal. Neither has it been bound up with a splint to make it strong enough to hold a sword. Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am the enemy of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt! I will break both of his arms—the good arm along with the broken one—and I will make his sword clatter to the ground. I will scatter the Egyptians to many lands throughout the world. I will strengthen the arms of Babylon’s king and put my sword in his hand. But I will break the arms of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he will lie there mortally wounded, groaning in pain. I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, while the arms of Pharaoh fall useless to his sides. And when I put my sword in the hand of Babylon’s king and he brings it against the land of Egypt, Egypt will know that I am the Lord. I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, dispersing them throughout the earth. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
Sometimes allies we count on disappoint us. This message came in 587 b.c. while Jerusalem was under attack from Babylon. Judah had rebelled against Babylon and made an alliance with Egypt in spite of God’s warnings (Jeremiah 2:36-37). Pharaoh Hophra made a halfhearted attempt to help Jerusalem, but when Nebuchadnezzar’s army turned on him, he fled back to Egypt (Jeremiah 37:5-7). This defeat is what Ezekiel meant when he said that God had broken the arm of Pharaoh.
God allows nations to rise to power to accomplish a particular purpose, often beyond our immediate understanding. When you read about armies and wars, don’t despair or give in to fear. Remember that God is sovereign and in charge of everything, even military might. Besides praying for your military and government leaders, pray that God’s greater purposes would be carried out and that his will would be done “on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).