Why are the nations so angry?
Why do they waste their time with futile plans?
The kings of the earth prepare for battle;
the rulers plot together
against the Lord
and against his anointed one.
“Let us break their chains,” they cry,
“and free ourselves from slavery to God.”
But the one who rules in heaven laughs.
The Lord scoffs at them.
Then in anger he rebukes them,
terrifying them with his fierce fury.
For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne
in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.”
The king proclaims the Lord’s decree:
“The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son.
Today I have become your Father.
Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance,
the whole earth as your possession.
You will break them with an iron rod
and smash them like clay pots.’”
Now then, you kings, act wisely!
Be warned, you rulers of the earth!
Serve the Lord with reverent fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry,
and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities—
for his anger flares up in an instant.
But what joy for all who take refuge in him! (New Living Translation)
Our view of God determines how we live. If our perception of God is a being who is small and ineffective or does not really see or care about everything that happens on earth, then the response of the nations in Psalm 2 is likely.
Demagogues and delegates meet for summit talks; God-deniers, the Messiah-defiers get together and say, “Let’s get free of God! Cast loose from Messiah!” (The Message)
However, if we discern that God is far larger than we can ever imagine and sees all, then we know that in heaven the Lord breaks out in laughter as he sits on the sovereign throne, as if amused by such insolence.
People who think they can distance themselves from the God of the universe are, at best, delusional, and, at worst, in danger of being swept away like an ant hill.
In the past, God spoke through the prophets to our ancestors in many times and many ways. In these final days, though, he spoke to us through a Son. God made his Son the heir of everything and created the world through him.
The Son is the light of God’s glory and the imprint of God’s being. He maintains everything with his powerful message. After he carried out the cleansing of people from their sins, he sat down at the right side of the highest majesty. And the Son became so much greater than the other messengers, such as angels, that he received a more important title than theirs.
After all, when did God ever say to any of the angels:
You are my Son.
Today I have become your Father? (Hebrews 1:1-5, NIV)
The sovereign Lord blesses and protects all who seek what is right, fair, just, and true. So, we are to be smart and show respect. Because the fact of the matter is that God is bigger than anyone or anything. That’s good news for those who serve God and bad news for those who don’t.
For the faithful, nothing can separate us from God’s steadfast love; and for the unfaithful, no nation has more power than God; and no organization, institution, or government can continue unabated in their unethical ways.
So, when we face adversity, hardship, and difficulty we have a very large God who has our back. It may seem, in the short term, that evil is winning, and arrogant people are having their day, but ultimately God will deal with it. Jesus is king, and we are not.
The presence of God is everywhere. Whenever nations or institutions or governments or communities or individual people fail to discern this, then all hell breaks loose.
Sensing the Lord’s presence, knowing the love of God in Christ, is of upmost importance.
Parishioners must desire the presence of God in a church building more than the building itself.
Christians must desire the presence of God in their liturgies, spiritual practices, and ministries, more than the programs themselves.
Clergy must desire the presence of God with them at all times more than the presence of budgets, books, and butts in the pew.
Spiritual parents and grandparents must desire the presence of God in their families more than the presence of kids, or order in the house, or wanting everything to be up to our standards.
God wants our hearts where they belong: desiring the divine love and presence of the Lord more than anything. Many religious folk in biblical times lost their true sense of purpose as God’s people. They neither perceived nor focused on God’s presence but cared more about the presence of animals and sacrifices, making money, and keeping their social positions secure.
Failing to seek God’s presence, we are then likely not to see it, even when it stares us in the face.
A few years ago, the Washington Post orchestrated an interesting experiment. They had arguably the best violinist in the world, Joshua Bell, play in the train station as a regular looking street musician complete with open violin case to catch monetary offerings.
Not only did Bell play some of the most difficult pieces of music for the violin, but he also played them on a Stradivarius worth $3.5 million dollars.
His earnings for a few hours of work were exactly $32.17, which is less than just one $100 ticket at a Boston concert hall he played three weeks before. No one noticed the extreme talent right in front of their faces, much like those who merely discern God as a pathetically ineffective deity, or those who only see Jesus as a regular guy.
Immense God, you are sovereign above all creation and everything in the earth. I choose this day to submit to the words and ways of Jesus, who is the true ruler of all. May all the nations come to see you for who you really are, the great and wondrous king. Amen.