So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord. Ezekiel 38:23
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. First Peter 4:12-14
Israel and Judah were casualties in the cosmic battle of good and evil. As God’s people they suffered for their sin and idolatry, but they would not ultimately be lost because God had chosen them for Himself. He promised to do a new thing with them, make a new covenant with them, and restore them. Here Ezekiel warns Gog, the enemy ruler, of the destruction which is coming upon him and his forces. God will show His greatness and His holiness and make Himself known to them.
In short, God would be glorified before the seemingly invincible forces of evil. What an encouragement to the exiles in the Babylonian captivity, far from Jerusalem.
Peter, too, assures the suffering believers of his day that God is not unaware of their plight. They suffer with Christ. They do not suffer as a means of discipline for their sin but rather as a means to show the power and grace of God. Blessing will be theirs, but, first, there is a time of trial to endure. While they are not suffering for sin but for Christ, they do have God’s presence with them and assurance that their suffering will produce the purification of their faith (First Peter 1:6-7).
Think about it
There will come a day when God’s glory will be fully revealed and His judgment will be finalized. Those who have suffered and been maligned for Him will be rewarded with vindication and their growth in purity of faith will bring glory to Christ.
Do you suffer for Christ today? Peter says be sure you suffer for Him and not for your sin. Meanwhile, entrust your soul to your faithful Creator because the day of glory revealed is coming.
© 2017 John A Carroll Used by permission