Ezekiel / chapter 38 (read the chapter)
There was something very interesting in this chapter that I don’t think I’d ever seen before: “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme. You will say, ‘I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people—all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land.’” (vs 10-12)
God was speaking through Ezekiel to “Gog, of the land of Magog.” (vs 2) A lot of Bible scholars are sort of taken aback by this, because this Gog and Magog were apparently not names that were known at the time of this prophecy. Some scholars conclude that they must have been familiar terms to the people and that their meaning has been lost to us.
But I find it interesting that John brings them up again in Revelation: “When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number, they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.” (Rev 20:7-9)
It really can’t be a coincidence that Ezekiel describes a scene with Gog and Magog very much like the one John describes, which apparently takes place at the end of the world. So while we don’t know exactly what the terms “Gog and Magog” refer to, they obviously represent the people who have chosen to be enemies of God and His people.
What really struck me about this chapter, however, was the description of God’s people at the end of time:
- They are prosperous.
- They are peaceful.
- They are defenseless.
Some of this seems contradictory to me. I mean, when someone has great wealth, isn’t building walls around it one of the first things they do? Yet these people are totally defenseless. Though prosperous, they are living in a place with no walls, gates, or bars. They are at peace within themselves and with one another. They are not suspicious of others.
This is what happens when we surrender ourselves to God. He destroys all our defenses. Because “perfect love casts out all fear” (1 Jn 4:18), the closer we come to God, the less we have to worry about trying to hold on to what we have. When we understand that all we have is God’s and it is all safe in His hands, we can be free!
Living freely and openly—without fear of anyone or anything. I want that to describe me, and as I stick with God each day, I know He is continually working to break down my every defense. Truly, every defense I think I have set up is just an illusion. He is the only sure defense. Safe in His hands, I need no walls, gates, or bars!