“But I will put hooks in your jaws and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales. I will pull you out from among your streams, with all the fish sticking to your scales!” Ezekiel 29:4
This prophecy against the Pharaoh of Egypt firstly paints the allegory of his imagining that he is the King of the Nile, a great river dragon (crocodile), and then tells him how God will bring him down. At first I was puzzled by this picture of sticky fish, but it seems that this particular Pharaoh was unseated by an upstart who had the support of the Egyptian people. The fish in the river are his people, not as he thinks, his loyal subjects, but heavy weights, maybe even a parasitic burden in this imagery.
Even kings with great power may be unthroned, and if all the fish in the river get together, they can suffocate a crocodile. Earthly prestige and power may be foiled by the actions of the powerless. Again and again God shows us that he likes to use the lowly to bring down the mighty. The Magnificat contains one of the most beautiful, heartfelt expressions of this facet of God:
“He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.” (Luke 1:51-53 NIV)
We should never, then, despise the poor or the humble, but rather count them as world changers and tools of God. How often has the Lord used a shepherd or a fisherman, a prostitute or a teenager to kill the Goliaths of this world? We would be better counting ourselves among those at the bottom and the edges of society, among those the world says are unlikely to achieve anything grand, for with God anything is possible, and he loves to defy our closed minds and crack open our hard hearts.
Better a poor and lowly shepherd boy with a stone, a teenage soon-to-be carpenter’s bride, a stuttering outcast prone to seeing fiery bushes, than a proud and arrogant crocodile, thinking himself invulnerable in his scaled hide and protected by his great jaws, who then has these imagined strengths used against him.
Photo from morguefile.com