Israel’s Restoration to God
Open Your Bible
Ezekiel 38:1-23, Ezekiel 39:1-29, Psalm 107:1-3
What began as a simple outing for some ice cream one summer night quickly turned into an unforgettable experience.
We looked up to see an eerie, brown cloud speeding toward us at an alarming rate while twigs and debris whirled above. Within seconds, my friend’s ice cream melted into a puddle, and we all knew: something was definitely wrong. Sprinting to our cars, we started what would be a long drive home, as bursts of wind shook our vehicles, tree limbs crashed around, and street lights went black, one by one by one all along our route. It seemed as if the blackness would engulf us at any moment.
Throughout the night we endured torrential wind and rain, a tree crashing down in our driveway, and another demolishing a car around the corner. Eventually we would learn that this type of severe wind storm is called a derecho, and they can cause incredible damage very quickly. If ever there was a stark reminder of our smallness as human beings, this was it.
No sheer act of will or bravado can face a show of nature and slow down its advance. Such is the reality that the Lord brings in full force against Gog and his assembled army to “display [His] greatness and holiness, and reveal [Himself] in the sight of many nations” (Ezekiel 38:23). In today’s reading, the Lord displays His power in unequivocal ways: “a great earthquake,” “the mountains will be demolished, the cliffs will collapse…,” and He will “pour out torrential rain, hailstones, fire, and burning sulfur on him” (vv.19,20,22). The result: “every human being on the face of the earth will tremble before me” (v.20).
In chapter 39, He continues saying that because of this “they will know that I am the LORD. So I will make my holy name known among my people Israel” (Ezekiel 39:6–7).
His display of utter destruction and power makes the revelation of Israel’s redemption that much sweeter. This time, the unmitigated pouring out is one of mercy rather than judgement. He says, “I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel” (v.29). An act of abundance, His presence with them is no longer concealed: it is freely given. In place of “disgrace” (v.26), there is a reconciliation, and He promises to “leave none of them behind” (v.28).