We are in the Prophetic Stream reading from The Message.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Lord, You raise up the fallen, you rebuild the broken, you renew the ruined and we praise you for what you are. May we be agents of yours that do your work. Amen.
36 – Going back a week in our Prophetic Stream reading, news of the fall of Jerusalem (to those already in Babylon) has hit the Jewish people hard. Their derelict shepherds are to blame. The neighbors of Judah are yet worse and will get treatment that is worse yet. So between chapters 35 & 36 there is a great “BUT”. The news has been bad – but – [in 36] the land is going to be reinhabited. The Babylonian siege had flattened cities, scorched the whole place and killed or removed most all living things. God had this to happen and it was for a good reason. But! The desolation will end. There will be life in Israel again. Their sinful ways will be abandoned, and God is going to bring back the Israelites. Israel will be bustling with life, well irrigated, lush and green [Eden-like], and productive. God is doing this. There’s no talk of anyone deserving anything. God is doing this for the glory of God.
37 – This vision of dry bones coming together, being reassembles and covered to be full bodies that then breathe and come to life and march forward to form an army is a legendary vision that is told to young and old for over 25 centuries now. It is the basis of a folk song that VBS and men’s quartets sing as well. It is told in a time when Judaism appeared destined for the compost heap. But as we know with God, all is not lost because when there is God, all is never lost. God has plans to resurrect the hope of Israel and return all of them [branched together] to their land; the land that Joshua conquered, that David expanded, and Solomon adorned. In that day God would be wholly worshipped and idolatry would be forgotten. The glory days, like when King David reigned, will return. The literal/figurative/future/end times/symbolism/reality discussions that are related to this chapter cannot be summed up in a month of Sundays. There are End Times allusions entailed here, Second Coming references, Millennium descriptions and there have been endless PhD dissertations written about all of this. Let’s just be encouraged and excited that our God is a Resurrection God.
38 – This [and 39] are distinctively prophetic chapters. Some insightful ministers claim with complete confidence that 38/39 are the “next thing set to happen” along the pathway of biblical prophecy. It is about the vast array of peoples gathering who are resolutely against Israel, the Jews, God’s people and want them decimated. And so they assemble and rally together and march west and south to remove Israel from the earth and from history. Rosh/Meshech/ & Tubal are repeated names. Rosh in Hebrew means “head” or “beginning”. M & T are names of Japheth’s sons mentioned in Genesis 10 & I Chron. 1. Gog are sworn enemies of Israel. And “Magog” means “the place of Gog”. So the people of Gog and the others of their land will be united in their thirst to exercise their rage against the Jews. Apparently they will reach the border, even enter the land of Israel when God unleashes pure horror on these enemies of the Jews. He will bring a greatest of earthquakes. Troops who’ve come to fight Israel will turn on each other. There will be torturous hail come down, judgment and pestilence. This vast army will realize that they are fighting God and His people. They will then know who The LORD is! But God has more vengeance to pour out on this frothing army – and He will – next week. Remember that the impressions that trigger the writing of chapters 33-35, and what will happen in 38 and 39 are thousands of years apart.