(Today’s post by Chris Queen)
In Ezekiel 38, we see God sending a prophecy through Ezekiel to one of Israel’s enemies – in this case Gog, the chief prince of Meshek and Tubal. (On a side note, doesn’t Gog sound like a caveman – one of those primitive cartoon characters who only speak in broken sentences? “Gog want food!” Or something like that. But I digress…)
This prophecy is NOT pretty. God knows that Gog is a violent man: a raider and plunderer. (“Gog want gold!”) And God is getting Gog’s attention so that He can use Gog to demonstrate His glory. In fact, God tells Gog in verse 3, “I am against you.” And on it goes:
14 “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? 15 You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army. 16 You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.
21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign Lord. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22 I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. 23 And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.’
Here’s the crazy thing: nobody knows who Gog is, and I’m not just talking about people like me – I’m talking Biblical scholars. Scholars call this chapter “the most difficult prophecy in the Old Testament.” Gog pops up again in Revelation, but scholars aren’t sure about him there either.
During the Cold War, some scholars thought that Gog represented the Soviet Union, a threat to Israel at that time. These days, I bet many people interpret Gog to be Iran or some other threat in the Middle East.
I’ll tell you what we can know from this chapter, and here’s what I hope you take away from it. Somewhere down the line, God’s people will face threats. Israel has to be watchful all the time, and Christians in some countries face persecution that we can’t even fathom.
God tells us throughout His word – and we see it here – that He will use trials and challenges for His glory. We shouldn’t get caught up in when something may happen or what may occur; rather, we should take comfort in the fact that God will be glorified through the difficulties we face.