From Ezekiel 38-39
Let me recap from yesterday’s blog: God has restored Israel. They are dwelling safe, secure and prosperous in the land. Now, in what appears to be the cruelest joke in history, God is stirring the mighty nation of Gog to invade, plunder and despoil Israel.
If we keep reading though, we find out why.
Ez. 38:18-19, “But on that day, the day Gog shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord God, my wrath will be roused in my anger. For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath, I declare on that day there shall be a great earthquake. 38:21, “I will summon a sword against Gog.” 38:22, “with pestilence and bloodshed, I will enter into judgment with him”…and so it goes on.
So, God incites Gog to come against Israel so He can then wipe them (Gog) out, by all manner of natural disasters.
Surely He could have done so without bring them against Israel, though, right?
Besides the fact that it conveniently brought everyone from Gog together for annihilation, it served a greater purpose. It made a statement. They were very clearly going to be destroyed as a sign. They came against Israel, and God defended them, miraculously. It was a sign to Israel, but also to other nations as well.
If the people of Gog had simply been wiped out on their own land (by disease or disaster), the message would have been blurred and/or lost altogether.
Ez. 38:22, “I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” 39:7, “And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people, Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned any more.”
God’s plan is to show His people and all the nations who He is, the greatness of who HE is. HIS NAME is of paramount importance. He will protect it, restore it and elevate it, always. (And it’s best if we, too, follow suit, because He won’t let us profane it for long, and He’ll bless us when we make His name great.)
He doesn’t stop there, though. Not only do His people all the nations see who He really is because of what He does to Gog, BUT, what started out as a threat to Israel turns out to be a blessing. What Gog intended for Israel’s harm, an invasion to steal, kill and destroy, God used for good. Not only did Israel not lose anything, but they gained.
In Ez. 39:9-10, we can see that Israel was able to use Gog’s weapons as firewood, for seven years! “So that they will not need to take wood out of the field or cut down any out of the forest for they will make their fires of the weapons.”
This is where I feel like an infomercial: “But wait, there’s MORE!” Israel “will seize the spoil of those who despoiled them, and plunder those who plundered them, declares the Lord God.”
It looked and sounded like God was setting them for a fall, like He had failed and betrayed them. But in truth, God was setting them up for a blessing. He IS faithful and true.
Isaiah 64:4 says, “From of old, no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you who acts for those who wait for Him.” It’s repeated a little differently in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.”
I don’t know where you are in your story, but if there are rumors of impending doom, or maybe it’s past that point and the doom is more than rumor, it’s a present reality, I encourage you to wait on the Lord. Choose to love Him. He ACTS on behalf of those who wait for Him. He prepares good things for those who love Him. Trust the author and perfecter of your faith to write a good story, with a stellar ending. Trust in His sense of poetic justice. Know that He has never ONCE written a bad story, had a lame ending, or betrayed anyone. He can and DOES work all things to the good of those who love Him—even those things an enemy intends for your harm.
And if you’re not quite convinced, remember the stories of old. Read Ezekiel 38-39, and see how He acted for their good and the glory of His great name. Our God is able. Victory is His.