October 19: Big Picture Hope
Ezekiel 38:1–39:24; Revelation 19:1–10; Job 38:12–24
Some Bible passages are so perplexing that we’re not really sure what to make of them. Such is the case with Ezek 38:1–39:24. As we closely examine this text, we can easily lose sight of its message. We can find ourselves so lost in the details that the big picture becomes fuzzy. So what is the big picture presented in this passage? God is on the side of His people; He will fight for them.
This message is comforting. We all experience times when we feel like an ancient Israelite, lost and wandering in the desert. We go through times when we’re not sure what’s next or how it will all end up. But when we realize that God is there to war on our behalf—even in the midst of supreme chaos and paradise interrupted (compare Ezek 37)—our viewpoint quickly shifts.
When we feel as though we’re blindly grasping for answers in the smoke that is the future, startling realizations like the type Ezekiel envisions can provide us with the hope we need (compare Heb 11:1). The book of Revelation casts similar visions. After the lament over Babylon and all the “woes,” John the Apostle experiences rejoicing in heaven—salvation has arrived: “After these things I heard something like the loud sound of a great crowd in heaven saying, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, because his judgments are true and righteous, because he has passed judgment on the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her sexual immorality, and has avenged the blood of his slaves shed by her hand!’ ” (Rev 19:1–2).
The big picture of the confusing passages of the Bible is indeed big. God is bringing judgment against the evil in the world and ushering in His great and glorious salvation. He will war on our behalf against all we fear. He has, and will, fight for us. He is a glorious and powerful God, worthy of praise.
What is the big picture of the current situation you’re dealing with? How does it give you hope?
JOHN D. BARRY
- And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of men, set thy face against Gog, and against the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I come against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. And I will destroy thee, and put hooks in thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth and all thine host, both horses and horsemen, all clothed with all sorts of armor, even a great multitude with bucklers and shields, all handling swords. They of Paras, of Cush, and Put with them, even all they that bear shield and helmet. Gomer and all his bands, and the house of Togarmah of the North quarters, and all his bands, and much people with thee. Prepare thyself, and make thee ready, both thou, and all thy multitude that are assembled unto thee, and be thou their safeguard. After many days thou shalt be visited: for in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that hath been destroyed with the sword, and is gathered out of many people upon the mountains of Israel, which have long lain waste: yet they have been brought out of the people, and they shall dwell all safe. Thou shalt ascend and come up like a tempest, and shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, both thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. Thus saith the Lord God, Even at the same time shall many things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think evil thoughts. And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land that hath no walled towers: I will go to them that are at rest and dwell in safety, which dwell all without walls, and have neither bars nor gates, Thinking to spoil the prey, and to take a booty, to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations which have gotten cattle, and goods, and dwell in the midst of the land. Sheba and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish with all the lions thereof shall say unto thee, Art thou come to spoil the prey? hast thou gathered thy multitude to take a booty? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, and to spoil a great prey? Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord God, In that day, when my people of Israel dwelleth safe shalt thou not know it, And come from thy place out of the North parts, thou and much people with thee? all shall ride upon horses, even a great multitude and a mighty army. And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land, thou shalt be in the latter days, and I will bring thee upon my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. Thus saith the Lord God, Art not thou he, of whom I have spoken in old time, by the hand of my servants the Prophets of Israel which prophesied in those days and years, that I would bring thee upon them? At the same time also when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, my wrath shall arise in mine anger. For in mine indignation, and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken it: surely at that time there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel, So that the fishes of the Sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all that move and creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the earth, shall tremble at my presence, and the mountain shall be oehrown, and the stairs shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. For I will call for a swords against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God every man’s sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence, and with blood, and I will cause to rain upon him and upon his bands, and upon the great people that are with him, a sore rain, and hailstones, fire, and brimstone, Thus will I be magnified, and sanctified, and known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know, that I am the Lord. Therefore thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I come against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. And I will destroy thee and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the North parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and I will cause thee to come up from the North parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and I will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, and all thy bands and the people, tha tis with thee: for I will give thee unto the birds, and to every feathered fowl and beast of the field to be devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God. And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell safely in the isles, and they shall know that I am the Lord. So will I make mine holy Name known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not suffer them to pollute mine holy Name anymore, and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy one of Israel. Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord God: and this is the day whereof I have spoken. And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall burn and set fire upon the weapons, and on the shields, and bucklers, upon the bows, and upon the arrows, and upon the staves in their hands, and upon the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years. So that they shall bring no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests: for they shall burn the weapons with fire, and they shall rob those that robbed them, and spoil those that spoiled them, saith the Lord God. And at the same time will I give unto Gog a place there for burial in Israel, eventhe valley, whereby men go toward the East part of the sea: and it shall cause them that pass by, to stop their noses, and there shall they bury Gog with all his multitude: and they shall call it the valley of Hamon Gog. And seven months long shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land. Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them, and they shall have a name, when I shall be glorified, saith the Lord God. And they shall choose out men to go continually through the land with them that travail, to bury those that remain upon the ground, to cleanse it: they shall search to the end of seven months. And the travelers that pass through the land, if any see a man’s bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamon Gog. And also the name of the city shall be Hamonah: thus shall they cleanse the land. And thou son of man, thus saith the Lord God, Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to all the beasts of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come: father yourselves on every side to my sacrifice: for I do sacrifice a great sacrifice for you upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh of the valiant, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of the weathers, and of the lambs, and of goats, and of bullocks, even of all fat beasts of Bashan. And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken of my sacrifice, which I have sacrificed for you. Thus you shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with valiant men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord God. And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment, that I have executed, and mine hand, which I have laid upon them. So the house of Israel shall know, that I am the Lord their God from that day and so forth. And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they trespassed against me: therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword. According to their uncleanness, and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them. Therefore saith the Lord God, Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have compassion upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for mine holy Name. After that they have borne their shame, and all their transgression, whereby they have transgressed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and without fear of any. When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations, Then shall they know, that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them anymore there, Neither will I hide my face anymore from them: for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God. Ezekiel 38:1–39:24
- And after these things I heard a great voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah, salvation, and glory, and honor, and power be to the Lord our God. For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath condemned the great whore which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants shed by her hand. And again they said, Hallelujah: and that her smoke rose up for evermore. And the four and twenty Elders, and the four beasts fell down, and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen, Hallelujah. Then a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard like a voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of strong thunderings, saying, Hallelujah: for the Lord that God that Almighty one hath reigned. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give glory to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted, that she should be arrayed with pure fine linen and shining, for the fine linen is the righteousness of Saints. Revelation 19:1–10
- Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days? hast thou caused the morning to know his place? That it might take hold of the corners of the earth, and that the wicked might be shaken out of it? It is turned as clay to fashion, and all stand up as a garment. And from the wicked their light shall be taken away, and the high arm shall be broken. Hast thou entered into the bottoms of the sea? or hast thou walked to seek out the depth? Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the gates of the shadow of death? Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the gates of the shadow of death? Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? tell if thou knowest all this. Where is the way where light dwelleth? and where is the place of darkness, That thou shouldest receive it in the bounds thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof? Knewest thou it, because thou wast then born? and because the number of thy days is great? Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, Which I have hd against the time of trouble, against the day of war and battle? By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the East wind upon the earth? Job 38:12–24