Isaiah 19:23, 24
In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria…
The promise of the text may not have seemed to Israel so gracious and so inspiring as many others; but it was one that might well have been considered surpassingly good. For it predicted that the time would come when Israel should be closely associated as "a third" with two great world-powers- Egypt and Assyria; not, indeed, to triumph over them, but to be "a blessing in the midst" of them. This is the very crown of privilege. Concerning privilege itself we may consider -
I. ITS UNDOUBTED EXISTENCE. There are "elect" nations and individuals; it is not only a truth written in the pages of Scripture, but a fact confirmed by all testimony and observation, that God has conferred on some much more than he has allotted to others. To one nation (man) he gives one talent, to another two, and to another five. Physical strength, intellectual capacity, force of character, material wealth and natural advantages, knowledge, revealed truth, - these are some of the privileges by which 'men and nations are favored.
II. ITS PERIL. The great danger attending the possession of privilege is that of entirely mistaking the object of the Creator in conferring it; of assuming that he bestowed it simply for the gratification or the exaltation of its recipients. This was the disastrous mistake which the Jews made: hence their spiritual arrogance, their selfishness, their pitiable exclusiveness, their misreading of Scripture, their maltreatment of their Messiah. It is a mistake we are all tempted to make; it is one against which we do welt to guard with the utmost vigilance; for it is a sinful one, and one that carries ruin in its train.
III. ITS CROWN. This is to be "a blessing in the midst of the land;" to be a bond of union between other powers - a "third" to the Egypt and Assyria by which we may be surrounded. Privileged lands, like England, find their crown, not in military successes, nor in annexations, nor even in well-filled banks or well-fitted vessels; but in giving free institutions to neighboring or even distant nations, in conveying the message of Divine mercy to heathen lands, "in being a blessing in the midst of the earth." Privileged men find the crown of their life, not in possession, nor in enjoyment, nor in conscious superiority to others "that are without;" but in distributing, in imparting, in making others partakers of the peace and joy and hope that fill their own hearts, in broadening the belt of light on which they stand, in sowing the seed of the kingdom in land which now bears only briers and thorns, in being "a blessing in the midst of the land." - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.