By Bob Setzer
Long centuries ago, God used an obscure Hebrew ex-con to save Egypt. After serving time for most of his 20s, this young man interpreted Pharaoh’s troubled dreams and was catapulted to Egypt’s second-in-command. From that exalted position, he saved Egypt from a famine and in saving Egypt, saved that part of the world.
The young man who went from prison to the palace was Joseph. He was 30 years old when he began his storied service to the world, according to Genesis 41:46.
More recently, God used an obscure Google executive on the rise to save Egypt. His name is Wael Ghonim. Like Joseph at the time of his ascension, Ghonim is 30 years old.
Ghonim was also a dream interpreter, using his Facebook page to give voice to the dreams of the Egyptian people. And like Joseph, Ghonim served time, in his case for daring to oppose the modern Pharaoh, President Hosni Mubarak. After his release from jail, Ghonim was at the center of the firestorm that erupted in Tahrir Square. Eighteen days later, an oppressive regime came tumbling down.
No one, it seems, saw this coming. Not the State Department. Not the CIA. Not the talking heads on television. Not the local despots in the Middle East, now trying to keep their shaky hold on power. Not even the Egyptian people, two-thirds of whom are 30 or younger.
A great deal has been made of the social media that fueled Egypt’s mostly non-violent revolution. Certainly tech-savvy kids armed with Twitter, Facebook and YouTube used these powerful tools in game-changing ways.
But I believe the remarkable liberation of the Egyptian people welled up from a deeper source, namely the loving, oppression-hating heart of God to whom the nations and their leaders are, as Isaiah 40:15 puts it, but “drops in a bucket.”
We have seen this story before. The Iron Curtain fell in 1989 in much the same shocking, world-altering way, and that was before the Internet took flight. Our own nation’s revolution against tyranny was fueled by quill pens and musket balls. The Bible is full of stories about the God who told Pharaoh, “Let my people go!” and whose Son began his ministry with the decree, “He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives.”
Granted, things in Egypt may deteriorate very rapidly. It is possible the people’s revolution may be lost or co-opted by extremists. But for now, I am celebrating this remarkable win in God’s ongoing battle to give back what tyrants keep trying to take: the precious privilege, bequeathed by a loving Creator, to live lives of freedom and dignity, joyfully crafting the life we choose.