Today’s passages don’t immediately seem to tie together with one consistent theme, however I think the above heading captures one broad idea that I hope is helpful for today.
Ezekiel 38:1-39:24 seems pretty obscure and difficult to apply at first glance. It comes immediately after some chapters that much more clearly proclaim the great change in heart that God will render in His people Israel. Those chapters contain some of the most famous passages about the redemption of human hearts that comes about through the revelation of Jesus.
So why then the sudden change within Ezekiel to this rather difficult passage about Gog, of Magog? We are given no decisive indication who is being talked of here, nor what his earthly kingdom is. We do know however that whether the passage speaks of a physical or spiritual army, it is a mighty one that will attack God’s people. God however will vindicate his people by destroying their enemies before their very eyes.
There is a real emphasis in the passage on God’s control, not only of the outcome of the attack of this foreign army in Israel’s favour, but also of the army in devising its scheme to attack. In all aspects of the situation, from beginning to end, God is in control of everything.
This point is exemplified by the reference to Gog and Magog as the figurative place from where the Satanic forces will come and gather for the final battle against God’s people in Revelation 20. Once again, God causes the final victory against these forces by consuming them with fire coming down from heaven, and condemning them to eternal torment. There is no mention of God’s people in fact doing anything to win the victory, and God’s control over the entire situation is emphasised.
1 Peter 5 comes across much clearer to us modern readers. In summary, it calls for humility among the believers in everything. Notably for the purposes of today’s readings, it calls on elders to not exalt themselves but shepherd the people of God. This is because despite their seniority, they are awaiting the appearance of the Chief Shepherd (v 4). Likewise, those who are younger are to be subject to the elders, who are subject to Christ (v 5).
We are then reminded to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God (v 6), and cast our anxieties on this caring God (v 7). The passage then proceeds to remind us that Satan is a powerful enemy but will ultimately defeated, as God has ultimate dominion over everything.
What a powerful pair of passages to strengthen our faith today. God is in control. His power is infinite and eternal. His enemies will ultimately be crushed by Him, and we can only prayerfully seek to be guided to act in a way that is consistent with His plans. If suffering any oppression, we have a Father who not only cares for us but wants us to cast our anxieties on Him and trust in His deliverance. Whether that will be now or at the end of time is His concern – the point is that we have no power in comparison to Him. All we can do is humble ourselves by getting out of the driver’s seat, praying for His guidance in how we act and trusting in His control.