READ: Ezekiel 38-39
BACKGROUND: Feel free to ask questions about this one in the comments and I’ll respond.
THINK: These two chapters of Ezekiel are an apocalyptic prophecy. They are a vision of God’s eventual great victory over the nations that do evil and his ultimate restoration of the people he has called to himself. There are many who have poured over these chapters and all of the names contained within them for clues as to exactly who Gog is and where Magog is. And those who tend to read their Bibles in one hand and their newspapers in the other have confidently declared over the years that Gog was Napoleon, Stalin, Hitler, Saddam Hussein and more. But all those guys are dead.
The truth is that even the smartest among us and the greatest Biblical scholars cannot pinpoint exactly how and when the world is coming to an end. Try as they may, they can’t nail down the exact timing and details of what is to come. Which is very frustrating for many. So frustrating, in fact, that they ignore Jesus’ own words in Matthew 24 that “only the Father knows” when the end will occur and confidently declare that they’ve solved it. And time after time they’re wrong. So what are we to do then? If reading the Bible through the lens of today’s newspaper has been a generally failed solution and if even the greatest of Biblical scholars can’t figure out the who, what, when, and where of this prophecy then what in the world are everyday Christians supposed to get out of reading it, right?
Check it out: we are supposed to get the same thing out of it that all those scholars are. Trying to pinpoint it is totally missing the point! Trust this about the Bible, the things God wants to make clear he makes clear. The things he doesn’t, he doesn’t. That’s one of the advantages of being God. And God very clearly doesn’t think – and we don’t know why but we trust he knows what he’s doing – that we need to know the specifics about when and how our world is coming to an end. Knowing that isn’t the point of what God tells Ezekiel here. The point is that we would know this: someday – and we don’t know when – our world is coming to an end and God will defeat all of the evil within it, but he is a God who desires to call a people to himself and make his name and his mercy known.
Are we living out that last sentence? Are you living as though it’s true? Don’t waste your time trying to figure out when it’s happening, spend your time considering how you ought to live in view of it’s inevitability. We are so prone to running from God, to embracing the evil in this world – the very evil which will be destroyed at that final battle. And we’re prone to keep our faith to ourselves. We’re afraid of what others might think if we shared it. We ought to be living ready, making the most of every precious moment that we’ve got, rejecting wholeheartedly the evil that offends the Mighty One, and sharing his grace and love boldly and freely with everyone because we are more afraid of what will happen if they end up on Gog’s side of the battle instead of God’s than we are of what they might think of us. I know that is a bold and seemingly radical call. But is there any other way to live in view of this passage?
PRAY: Thank God for his hatred of the evil with poisons us and for his impending victory. Confess your shortcomings and ask him to help you live boldly and make his name known!