The Lord raises up and brings low. Whether you are in His covenant people, or are a stranger with no interest whatsoever in His grace, the Lord can do whatever He pleases with you. Israel, God’s people, had been brought low in their arrogance and sin, but God would one day raise them up again, just as Ezekiel had prophesied. And the pagan nations, raised up as God’s instrument of judgment against his own people, would one day sink.
Who and what are Gog and Magog? We would love to know. Unlike the other prophecies against the foreign nations in ch.s 25-32, which speak to specific lands about God’s dealings with them, mostly during or shortly after the siege of Jerusalem, here we are given no time frame, and no identities. Like so many other invaders, Gog will storm into the land with its allies, bent on destruction (38.9). Like so many others, she finds herself an instrument of God’s purposes (v.16). The land will be in upheaval, due to God’s hand, and Gog will discover that that hand is in fact against her (vv.17-22). As ever, God purposes to show the world His greatness (v.23).
The same themes are repeated in ch.39. Destruction is coming, but the Lord is in charge of it all, and it is all for His glory (vv.6, 7, 13, 21, 25, 27). God knows exactly what He is doing, even when He uses the appalling scenes of the unburied dead, and the terrors of war to make His point, that noone will evade His holiness and justice.
And we still don’t know what these scenes correspond to in history. Attempts to map these details on world events have all failed so far. Maybe they were never intended to find an exact historical reference-point. Their lessons, though, are clear, in that the church will always have its enemies, and at time will be persecuted and refined through them, but always under the hand of God. Even in the darkest times, we must remember that God is God, and that His purposes are never thrown off-track. Afterall, “the Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (Ps. 46.7). We trust Him, and in Christ we will see His glory.