Friday, September 26, 2008

Seeing God in it All

Many people are reading the news these days and asking, “How bad are things going to get?!” Well, whatever the answer, my conviction is that whatever is happening in this world, both now and throughout history, on either a personal or societal level, God 's purpose is to magnify Himself and make Himself known. I believe that because of how much I see that to be the case in the Bible. Quite recently, I was reading Ezekiel 38, which happens to be an intense battle scene. It's an event far more serious than today's news headlines. Gog of Magog and a vast army of many peoples “like a cloud covering the land” (38:9) are advancing “like a storm” (38:9) on God’s people, intent on destroying them. What could be a worse scenario for Israel? Isn’t this the kind of global scene that would cause a person at risk to wonder where God is or to question God’s faithfulness and to flip out with anxiety? Though more serious, it has the same feel of the financial storm that many people today see approaching (if they don’t feel it’s already come upon them). The picture Ezekiel describes in chapter 38 is one of imminent disaster, of impending doom, much like many news headlines today.

Enter God. In fact, God has been in the picture all along. It is God who actually gathers that vast army from Magog to stand against His own people (38:16). And when the battle is over, it says that all those troops and peoples will be strewn on the mountainsides, food for the beasts and the birds (39:4). God says in Ezekiel 38:23 that all of that tension and catastrophe will be to magnify Himself, to set Himself apart and make His name known in the sight of many nations! Wow. Why such extreme measures? Many people suffer in a scene like that. But God’s view is that wherever there are those who put their trust in something other than Himself, like Prince Gog of old, those lesser things must be shaken, and if necessary, struck down, for God will not share His glory with another.

So how then should we view the troubles we face in these days? Is God uninvolved in the turmoil of Wall Street or Bay Street? Or is He allowing things to escalate until all will clearly see where we ought to put our trust and who ought to be our God? God will allow enemies to advance in our lives, and He will allow pressures to build, with the ultimate intent of magnifying Himself above everything else in our lives! He wants to do that in each of our hearts, but as we see in Ezekiel, will sometimes do so on a wider scale so that all will see that God “is the Lord” (38:23).

My desire is that this realization of what God was up to in Ezekiel 38-39 will spill over into my perception of 2008. God is worthy of all glory, and is robbed of glory when anything becomes so important to me that when it is shaken, I lose my trust in God. So my response to the news these days is to magnify God – to trust and depend on Him through it all – before He needs to take desperate measures to make sure He is magnified in my life.

© 2008 by Ken Peters

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