In the Center of God’s Will, Yet Surrounded By Adversaries

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel, and more specifically, is found in the thirty-eighth chapter. If you have been a student of the Word of God for any amount of time, you will know that this particular passage is a prophetic word—a prophetic oracle—concerning and against Gog of Magog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. Before even attempting to delve into the prophetic word that concerns Gog of the land of Magog, I can’t help but be drawn to the final verse of this chapter. “I will magnify myself, sanctify myself, and make myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 38:23). I WILL MAGNIFY MYSELF! I WILL SANCTIFY MYSELF! I WILL MAKE MYSELF KNOWN! Three distinct manifestations of the will and power of the Lord in the earth, and for one single purpose—to “make myself known in the sight of many nations” and in order that “they will know that I am the Lord.” The reason and purpose for the Lord magnifying Himself in the sight of many nations in order that the nations might know that He is the Lord. The reason and purpose for the Lord sanctifying Himself in the sight of many nations is so that the nations will know that He is indeed the Lord. And, the reason the Lord would make Himself known in the sight of many nations is in order that the nations of the earth might know and understand that He is the Lord. The words which the Lord speaks and declares through the prophet Ezekiel in this passage are absolutely incredible when you truly take the time to consider them, for in the Last Days, the Lord is going to work in the earth in order that the nations within the earth might know that He is the Lord. In these Last Days, and in this generation, there is a great need for the Lord to make Himself known, and for the nations of the earth to know that He is indeed both God and Lord. How are the nations of the earth going to know that God is the Lord? They will know when He magnifies Himself, and when He sanctifies Himself in the sight of all nations.

It is absolutely incredible that the Lord speaks of making Himself known in the sight of many nations, for His actions in the earth weren’t going to be exclusive to one particular people in the earth. When the Lord magnified Himself against His enemies, He was going to do it in the sight of many nations, and when the Lord sanctifies Himself in the earth, He will do so through the destruction of His enemies. The fact that the Lord declares that He was going to make Himself known in the sight of many nations suggests that multiple nations in the earth were going to be confronted with the glorious and magnificent power and strong arm of the Lord. What’s more, is that the prophetic word that is found within this chapter concerns the latter days, which means that in the days leading up to the end, the Lord is going to make Himself known among the nations—the Lord is going to magnify Himself in the sight of many nations. In other words, His actions, His deeds, His wonders, His works would be clearly visible in the sight of the nations of the earth, and there will be many who will be unable to deny or refute the reality of the Lord any longer. The words which the prophet speaks in this particular passage are of tremendous worth and value—especially when you consider that in the previous chapters the Lord declared that He was going to sanctify His holy name among the nations. Through His actions upon the earth, the Lord was not only going to sanctify and hallow His name in the earth once more, but the Lord was going to magnify Himself in the sight of many nations. Through His dealings with the people of Israel, the Lord was going to sanctify His holy name in the earth, and through His dealings with Israel’s enemies and adversaries, the Lord was going to magnify and sanctify Himself in the earth. Oh, it’s absolutely incredible to consider that in the latter days there will be such a powerful testimony and witness concerning the Lord—concerning His great name and concerning His great power. In the latter days, the Lord was not only going to make Himself known among the nations because of His dealings with the children of Israel, but because of His dealings with their enemies and adversaries.

This particular chapter is not merely directed against the nations which surround Israel, but against a very specific adversary and foe that would raise Himself up against the house of Israel. This entire passage—and even the very next chapter—deal exclusively with an enemy and adversary that would raise himself up against the house of Israel in the latter days. Such glimpses of this reality have been seen when Nebuchadnezzar marched against the land of Israel, and actually entered in and invaded the territory of the people of God. This same reality was also seen when Nero and the Roman Tenth Legion entered the land of Israel and attacked the city of Jerusalem, and burned the Temple of the Lord to the ground. In the days of Nero and Nebuchadnezzar, not only was the land of Israel invaded by foreign forces and powers, but the Temple of the Lord was destroyed with fire. Another account of one who raised himself against the people of God is seen in the days of Esther, for it’s in the days of Esther that Haman plotted an evil thing against the Jews within the Persian Empire, and sought to exterminate them from the face of the earth. His plan and plot was thwarted through the selfless and courageous intercession of Esther, who risked her own life to appear before the king in order to spare the lives of her people. Perhaps a more modern example of a single individual who raised himself against the house of Israel is in the early nineteen hundreds when Adolf Hitler slaughtered six million Jews in what has become known as “the Holocaust.” Oh, there have been glimpses of men exalting themselves against the house of Israel throughout the years, but through the prophet Ezekiel, we find perhaps the strongest and most powerful one to date. I am convinced that what we read in this particular passage within the prophetic book of Ezekiel is a description and picture of perhaps the single greatest adversary and foe the children of Israel have ever faced in their entire history as a people and nation. In the latter days, perhaps the single greatest foe and adversary would exalt himself against the house of Israel, and would even gather around him various nations and peoples within the earth.

This chapter within the prophetic book of Ezekiel describes a great struggle and conflict the children of Israel would face in the earth in the latter days—a conflict with an enemy and adversary that would come against the people of God with a great host, and a massive army. If you read this passage of Scripture, you will not only find the description of the the land of Israel during this time, but you will also find the purpose for such malicious intent against the land of Israel. “After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them. You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you. Thus says the Lord God, It will come about on that day that thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan, and you will say, I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates, to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world” (Ezekiel 38:8-12).

THE LAND THAT IS RESTORED FROM THE SWORD! INHABITANTS WHO HAVE BEEN GATHERED FROM MANY NATIONS! PEOPLE BROUGHT OUT FROM THE NATIONS! THEY ARE LIVING SECURELY! THE LAND OF UNWALLED VILLAGES! THOSE WHO ARE AT REST! THOSE THAT LIVE SECURELY! THOSE LIVING WITHOUT WALLS AND HAVING NO BARS OR GATES! These words and phrases describe the condition of the children of Israel in the days when Gog of the land of Magog was going to march against them with a great and tremendous force. It is imperative that we understand the state and condition of the children of Israel, for Gog of the land of Magog was going to march against the land of Israel during days of tremendous peace, rest and security. Gog of the land of Magog was going to march against the land that had been restored from the sword, only to unleash and bring his own sword against it. Oh, I am convinced that there is within this passage a tremendous and powerful picture of how the enemy advances and attacks the people of God. Gog of the land of Magog was going to march against the children of Israel during days of tremendous peace, rest and security, and I am convinced the enemy operates the same way within our lives. I am convinced that the enemy enjoys bringing his forces against us during those times when we seem to experience rest and security. Gog of the land of Magog is going to come against the children of Israel after they had just been restored from the sword, which provides for us a powerful picture of how our enemy and adversary will deliberately and intentionally come against us after we ourselves have been restored from the sword. We have experienced a tremendous work of restoration within our lives, and it is in those moments when the enemy will rise against us—and not just rise against us, but will rise up against us with a tremendous host along with him. Have you ever found yourself experiencing a tremendous work of restoration within your life, only to find that the enemy and adversary launches a powerful attack against your life? The children of Israel will have been gathered from and brought out of many nations within the earth, and will be brought into their own land, and it will be shortly after that Gog of the land of Magog will have within his heart to march against them within the land.

I can’t help but be reminded of Pharaoh king of Egypt in the days after the children of Israel were delivered and set free from the slavery and bondage of Egypt. The children of Israel marched out of the land of Egypt defiantly, and when the report was brought to Pharaoh king of Egypt that the children of Israel were encamped between the Red Sea and the wilderness, it entered into his heart to pursue them there before the Red Sea in order to overtake them and bring them back into slavery and bondage. The children of Israel had just experienced a powerful work of redemption and deliverance from the slavery and bondage of the land of Egypt, and now they were being pursued by their enemies. Oh, have you ever been there? Have you ever experienced that in your own life? You have experienced a powerful work of God within your life, and then almost immediately, and without warning, the enemy marches against you in order to overtake you. You have witnessed the supernatural power of God manifested within your life, and almost immediately the enemy marched against your life with such great force and ferocity? The children of Israel had just been delivered and set free from their slavery and bondage in the land of Egypt, and Pharaoh and his army marched out against them in order to not only overtake them, but also take them back into the land of Egypt. When Pharaoh marched out against the children of Israel in the wilderness, he marched out with a great host of horses and chariots in order to strip them of the freedom he had just granted them. The children of Israel had not only marched out of the land of Egypt defiantly, but they also plundered the Egyptians as well—not to mention the supernatural plagues which devastated the land of Egypt. I am convinced that through the actions of Pharaoh we see a picture of what Gog of the land of Magog will seek to do in the days when the children of Israel will be restored from the sword.

Consider the motives for Gog’s actions against the children of Israel, and the reason he marched against them in the latter days. TO CAPTURE SPOIL! TO SEIZE PLUNDER! TO TURN YOUR HAND AGAINST THE WASTE PLACES WHICH ARE NOT INHABITED! These words encapsulate the motives for Gog of the land of Magog to march against the children of Israel during their time of rest and security, for he seeks to capture spoil, and to seize plunder. In other words, Gog’s actions will be motivated purely and solely by greed and selfishness, for he was after spoil and plunder. It’s interesting and worth noting that Gog of the land of Magog will come against the children of Israel during days of rest and security, for it is during those moments when they will be the most vulnerable, the most exposed, and perhaps even the must susceptible. I believe that there is within this passage of Scripture a powerful prophetic word to the people of God during times of peace, during times of rest, and during times of security, for it is oftentimes during those moments when we are most susceptible to the attacks and advances of the enemy. Oh, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we have done anything wrong, or even that there is any sin in our lives, but purely that the adversary has it in his heart to march against us during those times when perhaps aren’t on our guard. You will notice that Gog of the land of Magog will march against a land of unwalled villages—unwalled meaning that they weren’t doing anything to guard or protect themselves from the advances of the enemy. Oh, what if this chapter has a physical and earthly meaning, but also a deeper, spiritual meaning. What if this particular passage is a powerful picture of how in the latter days the adversary will march against the people of God—the Church of Jesus Christ—a people who dwell without walls, gates, and bars? What if in the latter days there will be the greatest assault and attack against the people of God which they have ever known or experienced? I am sure the prophet Ezekiel actually saw a land of unwalled villages that would find themselves being invaded by a great force in the latter days, but I am also convinced that this can serve as a powerful picture of a people in the last days that will dwell securely—perhaps securely because of tremendous victories and battles they have won, or perhaps because of a powerful experience of peace and rest that has been afforded them—and in the midst of that security will find themselves being surrounded by the hordes of hell. Have we forgotten that it is in the nature of Satan to steal to kill and to destroy? Have we forgot that Satan was a liar and a murderer from the beginning?

It is in the nature of the enemy to capture spoil and to seize plunder, and he will march against us with all his forces and hordes of hell in order to take our possession and inheritance in Christ. Oh, consider how many times the house of Israel experienced their enemies and adversaries round about them attempting to seize control of the inheritance that was given to them. Consider how the Philistines, the Midianites, the Moabites, the Amalekites, the Ammorites, and various other adversaries came against Israel and either subjected them to oppression, or seize control of territory which belonged and was given to the people of God. In the latter days there would be a powerful force that would march against the children of Israel—a force such as they have never experienced before—and would come against them for one reason, which was to take that which didn’t belong to them. It’s rather interesting that in this passage, the prophet speaks of a people who had acquired cattle and goods, and who “lived at the center of the world.” Have we forgotten that the Lord declared that He would the children of Israel in the midst of the nations, and would place them in the center of the nations? Have we forgot that the city of Jerusalem would be at the center of the nations, and that when the Temple of the Lord was built, people from various nations came to Jerusalem to witness the grandeur and splendor of the Temple which Solomon had built for the Lord? What I find to be so incredibly telling about the land of Israel, is that it the Lord placed His people in place between the Mediterranean Sea to their west, and their adversaries and foes all around them. The Lord planted His people in a land that would ultimately be surrounded by various foes and adversaries—Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Syria, Tyre, Sidon, etc. In our modern days and time, Israel is surrounded by Gaza (Hamas), Lebanon (Hezbollah), Syria (ISIS), Egypt, Iraq (ISIS), Iran, and various other enemies. Even today Israel is set at the center of the world, but it is also set in a place surrounded by adversaries and foes.

I can’t help but read this particular passage and consider how the children of Israel living at the center of the world may also be a powerful picture of that people who are living at the center of the will of God. Oh, the forces and hordes of hell will always come against those who are living at the center of the will of God, for it is in that place where they find security, safety, rest and peace. The forces and hordes of hell will always come against those who are living in the will of the Father, for it is oftentimes in that place where they have the most to lose. Our enemy and adversary will march against us when we are living in the center of the will of the Father, for it is in that place where we find the greatest rest, the greatest peace, and the greatest security. What we oftentimes fail to understand when we seek to live in the center of the will of God, is that oftentimes being in that places places a huge target upon our lives—upon our relationships, upon our families, upon our marriage, upon our finances, upon our job, upon our children, upon our health, upon our home, and so much more. What’s more, is that when you read of this people living at the center of the world—living without walls and having no bars or gates—is that being in that place often means that it is incredibly easy for you to be surrounded by enemies and foes round about. Think about it—if you are living at the center of the world, then that means that it is very easy for multiple nations to rise up against you, and to surround you right where you are. Living at the center of the will of the Father, and living in the center of His will oftentimes places us in a prime place for the enemy to surround you on all sides in order to capture and to seize. Oh, when you pray to be at the center of the will of God, know and understand that living in that place more often than not places you in that place where the enemy and adversary can and will march against you with great force, and will launch everything he has against you. Modern day Israel is at the center of the world, and it faces threats each and every day as literal and physical enemies launch rockets at them time and time again.

Each time we read, see and hear about the rockets that are launched against Israel, we must understand that it is a powerful picture of that which our spiritual adversary and enemy will launch against us. Oh, there have been testimonies of what sounds like supernatural intervention when the rockets of Hamas and Hezbollah have been fired into Israel, and how the course of rockets have been diverted away from the land. I am convinced that this pales in comparison to the supernatural and divine intervention that will take place in that day, for the Lord Himself will cause a great earthquake to occur in the land of Israel, and with pestilence and with blood, the Lord will enter into judgment with Gog and his troops. What’s more, is that the Lord Himself will fight for the land of Israel against Gog, and will rain on him and his troops, and on the many peoples who will come with him a torrential rain, with hailstones, with fire and with brimstone. The Lord Himself will fight for the children of Israel, and just like the days when they were encamped before the Red Sea and Pharaoh and his horses and chariots sought to overtake them, they will need only to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. On that day, the Lord will fight for the nation and people of Israel, and the nations of the earth will know that He alone is the Lord. Oh that we would read this passage, and that we would understand the depth and magnitude of the Lord’s power, and His willingness to rise up and defend us. Oh, there are times when we must rise up, fight and defend ourselves—even Israel has the Iron Dome defense system, as well as the IDF, and various other forms of military might and strength, and they have used these means to defend themselves. Israel has defended itself numerous times since it became a modern state almost seventy years ago—as seen in their War of Independence, the Six Day War, the Yom Kippur War, and various other wars. How absolutely incredible it is that when they face their greatest threat in their history as a people and nation, the Lord Himself will rise up and defend them against their enemies. Oh that we would truly understand the power and the might of our God, and His ability to magnify Himself against our enemies and our foes.

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