Amazing: God’s Power Over Nations (Psalm 2)

MOTIVATE

–          A spider may spend energy and work hours or days to weave a web. Despite the effort and artistic nature it may bring, neither will protect it from the homeowner bringing his broom to sweep away.
AND SO it is with us and God. Our life work and play may seem significant to us but God can bring it to naught in a single swipe.

  • Our nation must consider this as well in relationship to God. God is not impressed with our bodies, our buildings, or our budgets. God is seeking our brokenness over sin and self-sufficiency.
    • “Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.” (Isaiah 40:15)

      “Thus says the Lord: Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look; he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66:1-2)

 

EXAMINE      Psalm 2

Today, I hope this message causes us to evaluate where we are spiritually. When I say “we”, I mean us individually but also us as a church and even as a nation. This is Memorial Day weekend and should be a sober reminder to consider where our nation has been and where we are going. The world we live in today is drastically different from the one many of you grew up in. Its social, moral and spiritual foundations are being pulled from every direction.[1] The very fabric that binds our nation together – the family – is being torn and reshaped (re/mis-defined). Further, we have lost sight of any basis of right from wrong; tolerance trumps truth and morality is, at best, mainstream. And supremely, religious liberty, much more faith in God, is increasingly silenced with its values labeled as discriminatory.

The Bible says,

Psalm 11:3 “if the foundations are destroyed what can the righteous do?”

Proverbs 14:34 “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.”

So, how is a Christian supposed to think? How does the Church respond and live out the virtue and values of the kingdom of God? Such answers would be lengthy discussions but indeed starts with a firm faith in the sovereignty of God.

God is always in control. “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” (Psalm 147:5) To understand God’s power over all nations and all the earth we turn to PSALM 2.

This is a Messianic Psalm, meaning that it not only has relevance in its own setting but it carries prophetic language concerning a future time – the coming Messiah. It speaks to the Messiah’s rule, forever reign and eternal association with the Father. Even more, it is an invitation for the nations to take refuge in the Lord rather than suffer His judgment and wrath.

In Psalm 2 we can see 3 actions throughout history.

Nations rage & rebel against God’s power (2:1-3).

The Psalmist is neither surprised nor worried of nations that “rage” (assemble noisily, or as of horses that neigh & sneer) and “plot” (rebel with imagination or meditation as Ps1:2) against God. The question is rhetorical saying they do so in “vain”; like spitting into the wind or fighting the water of a rushing wave – it is impossible to win. However, these nations fight with intentionality. They have strategy as kings and rulers set themselves plot, plan and take counsel together against the Lord. They think God is about restraint and so they seek freedom apart from Him – only when they will later realize true freedom is only found in the grace of Jesus Christ (John 8:32).

Today there are 194 nations.[2] Throughout history nations have come and gone. Most civilizations only last for so long and it is the rare few that last for centuries. When you look at Eastern nations you can see that their fall has or can happen quickly; whether it is natural disaster, disease, famine, political or economic turmoil or war, the reasons are many. God is the one who establishes and extinguishes nations.

Daniel said, “[God] changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them.” (2:21)

 Nebuchadnezzar said, “How great are his signs, how mighty are his wonders. His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.” (Daniel 4:3)

Artist SHAI LINNE – “Jesus is Alive” (chorus lines)

Plato is dead, Socrates is dead
Aristotle and Immanuel Kant are dead
Neitzsche and Darwin are dead- however
Jesus is Alive

Buddha is dead, Mohammed is dead
Ghandi and Haile Selassie are dead
Elijah Mohammed is dead- however
Jesus is Alive

Nero is dead, Constantine is dead
Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun are dead
Alexander the Great is dead- however
Jesus is Alive

ð     Christians ask “why do they rage?” (v.1); eternity calls us to pray!

ð     Pray for national revival & renewal of Christians.

2Chronicles 7:14 “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

ð     Pray for leaders & government

1 Timothy 2:1-3 “I urge then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior.”

God laughs & Lords showing His power (2:4-7).

There is no greater place than heaven, and to be on heaven’s throne as king is to be ultimate. God is enthroned in heaven. “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115:3). He sits as One who has complete authority and power. God looks down at His creation and can only muse knowing the outcome of humanity’s rebellion will result in defeat. Psalm 37:1-2, 13 “Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers. For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb…but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming.” (cf. 59:8)

Ex 1: It is as if an ant thinks he can overthrow the US Military.

Ex 2: Man tries to remove images or thoughts of God. God says to do so would be to remove all of creation and all compassion in the world. It can’t be done, His presence and power are eternally in full display.

God not only laughs but He Lords over as the great King. While the nations plot and plan, God has already positioned His k(K)ing. The psalmist has a unique role as an appointed earthly king but in David’s line would also come the Messiah who would reign forever. God promised David, “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body and I will establish his kingdom…and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2Samuel 7:12-13). Jesus Christ is the eternal Son, begotten of the Father. This is a profound prophetic statement concerning God’s salvation plan through the sending of the Messiah.

*Muslims reject this begetting of God saying it refers to divine sexual activity, yet it neglects to understand the eternal relationship between the Father and the Son, having nothing to do with intimacy much more birth.

ð     What plans are you attempting apart from God? Step back and evaluate where you are pressing your own agenda and not pursuing God’s glory.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding” Proverbs 3:5

ð     Remember God’s power by taking a walk outside looking at God’s powerful hand in creation.
“Great is our Lord and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre. He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills. He gives to the beasts their food and to the young ravens that cry. His delight is not in the strength of the horse nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” (Psalm 147:5-11)


Believers worship & witness in God’s power (2:8-12).
The last portion of the Psalm is an invitation to believers. In light of the temporality of the wicked and the eternality of God, it is the role of believers to simply worship and witness. To “ask” of God is the idea of praying for the missionary advancement of God’s kingdom among all nations. God has the power to rule each nation – even if He has to break them with a rod of iron”. Further, is the command for kings to be wise, serve the Lord with fear, rejoice with trembling and kiss the Son. God’s command and purpose is clear, take refuge in Him or there will be no refuge from Him!

Today, God is bypassing nations, churches and individuals, not because of their lack of knowledge but because of their lack of prayer. Prayer reflects the humble dependence upon God, and likewise non-praying reflects arrogant self-sufficiency apart from God. This is the reason revival is not among us.

ð     Believers: Ask of God for the nations[3]
Psalm 67:4-5 “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon the earth. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!”

Psalm 96:3 “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!”

Isaiah 56:7 “for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples”


Matthew 28:19
“make disciples of all nations”

Revelation 5:9 “And they sang a new song, saying ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain and by your blood your ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation”

Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly [ask] the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38)

ð     Believers: serve the Lord with fear, rejoice with trembling and kiss the Son

  • How are you being a witness to God’s power; from the neighborhood to the nations?

APPLY/THINK

take refuge in Him or there will be no refuge from Him



[3] See John Piper’s “Let The Nations Be Glad”, especially chapter 5.

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