The Stability of God's Kingdom
Ezekiel 38:1-13
And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,…

The lengthened subjection of the Hebrews had sapped their courage and their hope. The promises of a return to Canaan fell upon hearts full of apathy and self-diffidence. A latent fear was growing up that, even should they regain their old possession, they would soon be exposed to fresh invasion from some grasping monarch. They felt their lack of organization, their lack of military prowess, and men devoid of energy felt that it was better to remain in exile than to be more completely crushed alter a temporary restoration. Hence Ezekiel was commissioned to deal with this form of indifference before it grew into active opposition. A vision respecting a great confederacy against Israel is granted to the prophet. God anticipates the gravest evil. He reveals to his people that this criminal conspiracy will end in complete disaster to its originators, and that Israel's triumph will be complete and perpetual. Ezekiel's face was set firmly against Gog, because God's face was against him.

I. GOD'S KINGDOM IS SECURE AGAINST THE GREATEST WORLDLY CONFEDERACY. The theory that is propounded in this prophetic picture is that possibly all peoples adverse to righteousness will combine against the righteous nation. The empires of the extreme North will, sooner or later, coalesce with the great empires of Asia and Africa in a common greed for the territory and possessions of Israel. The world-power is provoked into active opposition by the presence of a righteous and spiritual kingdom. As darkness is the foe of light, water the foe of fire, death the foe of life, so selfish wickedness is the foe of goodness. Sooner or later, these two great forces shall meet for final and mortal combat on the earth. But the mightiest forces are not those which are visible. Victory will not finally sit on the banners of largest battalions. These numbers count for nothing with God. Minor rivalries are often forgotten by reason of a mightier passion, viz. a common hatred of truth and God.

II. GOD'S KINGDOM IS SECURE AGAINST THE CLEVEREST MILITARY TACTICS. Men have enormous faith in swords and shields, in rifles, cannons, and dynamite. Against the empire of righteousness the most complete and prudent preparations will be made. No precaution foreseen by human sagacity will be omitted. Each nation will fight with such weapons as they can most skillfully wield. The most clever inventions in offensive artillery will be pressed into service. The hostility will be pressed on with all the arts and machinations possible to the human mind. Yet there is a force enlisted upon the side of the righteous kingdom that shall baffle all human combination, and make all human energy to appear as an embodiment of weakness. Man's strength and skill are only borrowed instruments.

III. GOD'S KINGDOM IS SECURE AMID UNFRIENDLY NEUTRALS. "Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish... shall say to thee, Art thou come to take a spoil?" These peoples were neighbors to Israel, unwilling to join openly the ranks of Israel's foes, yet secretly desiring to see Israel humbled. They were heartless enough to cheer on the aggressive leaders of the foe, moved by a selfish hope that they might avoid the toil and the peril of war, and yet gain some advantage out of Israel's defeat. Neutrality at such a time and in such a manner was a crime scarcely minor to the crime of invasion, and such neutrality will be covered with disgrace. The most hidden motive of man, Israel's Ruler will detect, and in proportion to wrongdoing will be the award. Neutrals are usually despised by both sides. Nor can we forget how deeply God felt a selfish neutrality upon a former occasion, when the voice of the angel said, "Curse ye Meroz; curse ye bitterly the inhabitants of Meroz, because they came not to the help of the Lord against the mighty!"

IV. GOD'S KINGDOM IS SECURE BECAUSE EVERY FOE IS UNDER THE RESTRAINT OF JEHOVAH. Every selfish passion of man is under the control of God. A world of meaning is in that phrase, "I will put hooks into thy jaws." At any point in the development of the hostile project, God could have defeated it. He could have bridled the malicious impulse of Gog, the originator. He could have deprived him of reason or of life. He could have smitten with blindness all the leaders of the expedition. But God sees it to be best to allow large liberty to wicked men. The inner nature of wickedness is seen when it bears its full and proper fruit. Some plants look well in the shoot and in the leaf, but the fruit thereof is deadly. Men are seldom conscious of the action of God upon them. He "girded Cyrus" with strength and courage for his work, although Cyrus knew him not. And Gog would pursue his brilliant march, proud of himself and of his forces, least of all imagining that his Royal Foe had put already a hook in his jaw, and was simply leading him on to destruction. Utterly insane is the man who dares fight against God. The issue may be early foreseen. - D.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

WEB: The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,

The Invasion of Those Who Dwell Secure
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