Last week, in preparation for a lesson I was presenting, I studied Ezekiel’s proclamation against Egypt. He says that Egypt has been a “staff of reed” to the house of Israel. Notice these verses from chapter 29.
Then all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD. “Because you have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel, when they grasped you with the hand, you broke and tore all their shoulders; and when they leaned on you, you broke and made all their loins to shake. (Ezekiel 29:6-7 ESV)
The prophet Isaiah spoke directly to Israel with the same lesson.
Behold, you are trusting in Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. (Isaiah 36:6 ESV)
Reeds are common along the banks of the Nile and the canals that take water to the fields needing it. The photo below shows a broken reed.
There is a great lesson in this for each of us to avoid leaning on promises and systems of thought that will not hold us up in time of need.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)