Dr. James C. Denison
President, Center for Informed Faith, Dallas, TX
January 31, 2011
Why Egypt matters to you
“Today we are proud of Egyptians. We have restored our rights, restored our freedom, and what we have begun cannot be reversed.” So said Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel laureate and diplomat, to protesters in Cairo, Egypt.
What began as isolated protests against the Mubarak regime has turned into a movement with global implications. Today’s Wall Street Journal tells us that the opposition has now united around ElBaradei. The New York Times reports that economic paralysis is gripping the nation as the political crisis continues. As I write on this Monday morning, activists are organizing “million-man” marches in Cairo and Alexandria for tomorrow. CNN reports that charter flights have begun, helping Americans leave the country.
Why are these events so important to you and me? I was last in Egypt a year ago; every time I go, the history of the land astounds me. The pyramids were ancient when Abraham was a baby. Moses viewed the Sphinx. Next to Israel, the country mentioned most in Scripture is Egypt.
But there are geopolitical reasons for Egypt’s significance today which have little to do with ancient history. Egypt is the strongest nation in the Arab Middle East and Israel’s most significant political partner, supplying 40% of Israel’s natural gas. Instability in Egypt could lead to economic and political disruption across the Middle East, threatening our ability to import oil and export goods and commodities. And an Islamic regime in Egypt could strengthen radical Muslims around the world. Known terrorists have already escaped from Egyptian prisons, vowing to take up the fight against Israel again.
America gives Egypt $1.5 billion in aid each year. How could one nation be so important to us and the rest of the world?
Let’s begin with some perspective. The “Arab Republic of Egypt” occupies the northeast corner of the African continent. Its Sinai Peninsula serves as the only land bridge between Africa and the rest of the world, making Egypt a great international crossroad. The country has been a global power for five millennia. The empires of Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome have come and gone, but Egypt remains one of the leading players on the stage of human history.
We’ll continue this discussion tomorrow, since what happens in Egypt will likely affect us all. In the meantime, consider one of my favorite promises for uncertain times: “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart'” (Jeremiah 29:11-13).
Have you sought God “with all your heart” yet today?