So this afternoon I studied Ezekiel 39, and it was fairly simple: I didn’t pull out a commentary, I didn’t spend an hour and a half meditating on it or anything – but my goodness, was it powerful! As I hastily scribbled all my busy thoughts and discoveries into my journal, I knew this was a chapter I just had to write about. Instead of setting it up in a neat-and-tidy blog structure, I decided to just write the illegible but raw entry into my journal.
Here are some notes I made in my bible:
- I wondered why so much of the chapter was spent detailing God’s command to the animals to enjoy feasting on Israel’s enemies (verses 17-20). It might only be a few verses, but it was still quite a large chunk – why not just leave verse 17 as is? The answer can be found in verse 21: “I will display my glory among the nations, and they will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay upon them”. God used animals – lowly creatures – to make an example of a haughty enemy army (Gog), and God wanted this to be evident to the reader. God is powerful, and He is in control – even in the face of certain danger, our fear should never be given to those who can harm the body – but we should fear and revere the One who can destroy both the body and the soul (Matthew 10:28). God’s power and authority over all things should override any earthly fear we have!
- Even though Israel deserved final judgement, God chose to withhold it for centuries, until this time. But even in the midst of dealing with the Israelites according to their deeds (v. 24), He chose to show compassion (v. 25) and to show Himself holy through them (v. 27). Through His discipline, they would come to see their own humility and depravity, and realise the greatness and holiness of their God. He would restore them once more, as He had sworn to do – and redeem them from what they had done!
Here are the random ponderings that happened to make it into my journal:
- Just because God uses someone (or a nation) as a tool of judgement, doesn’t mean He won’t judge them. God has every right to deal with everyone according to their deeds, and since He is a just God, He will.
- God is very powerful. He commands and is sovereign all things – including people. We should not fear men (in a cowering, crippling sense) but we should fear God (with reverence and awe). Our knowledge of God’s power assures us of His justice and power to save, redeem and bring glory out of all circumstances in life.
- God’s patience and grace toward Israel is astounding. At times I can lash out in anger at the first sign of insult – God waited centuries, through warnings and times of discipline, to finally judge Israel. Seeing the stark difference between my petty frustrations, and God’s grace and patience toward an unfaithful people He made a covenant with – I’m even more aware of how much I need God’s sustaining grace daily!
Finally – and this really blew my mind – here’s the last entry:
God’s wrath is matched only by His compassion, and faithfulness to both His people and His Word:
“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will now bring Jacob back from captivity and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name.”
Not only this, but He will heal them so that they forget their sin and shame (v. 26), and He will show Himself as holy THROUGH them by making them holy!!! For us who are in Christ, God is not bound by our sin and shame – in fact, He is SO powerful, SO loving, and SO zealous for His glory that, despite our unfaithfulness, He has compassion on us, heals us, and then EMPOWERS us by His Spirit, to reflect His holiness and glory! Wow!!
Fellow Christian, do you know how powerful our God is? Are you confident in His power as God and His love as a Father? Do you realise the privilege we have, to be called by God Almighty, to represent Him to the world? I urge you – be strong and courageous in the Lord! Be assured of the goodness and power of our Heavenly Father, and rest in His amazing grace.