|Volume II, Issue 2
|Nations In An Uproar
Dr. E. Lee Bez
O Theophilus is the Quarterly Journal of The Center For Biblical Literacy
Nations In An Uproar
Why are the nations in an uproar, and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed: “Let us tear their fetters apart, and cast away their cords from us!” He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury: “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.” (Psalm 2:1-6 NAS)
We who have crowned Jesus Christ King of Kings can find great value in the relevant and regal truths found in Psalm Two. This psalm is one of eleven “Royal Psalms,” a collection of psalms so designated because their theme is the supreme, sovereign rule of Jehovah as King.1 Some commentators have suggested that one, or a combination of Royal Psalms, were actually performed at the coronation of each new king.2 It is relevant to us today because the recognition of Christ as King is being challenged in America as never before. The moral fiber of our society is unraveling and lawlessness is loosed upon the land. Some call it “moral meltdown.”3 As anarchy raises its insolent head, the greater society of the redeemed can acknowledge that the Royal Crown has already been placed upon the only worthy head. For us it is still a Royal Psalm.
Psalm Two is among the first scriptures prayed by persecuted Christians in the First Century (Acts 4:23-31). This Psalm became a principal source of encouragement, inspiration, and instruction when ancient culture collided with the claims of the Church. It provided early Christians with confidence and courage that God was in control of human affairs.
It is important to notice the context in which this Psalm was invoked. The first wave of malicious persecution had broken out by the Judaic leaders, and soon, by the heathen culture. Doing things “contrary to the decrees of Caesar” and proclaiming “another king, one Jesus” could make the Waco, Texas affair look like a birthday party (Acts 17:6-7). The result of the early Church’s meditations on this Psalm was two-fold:
- The ungodly sensed that the godly served as restrainers of their evil, and
- The opposers of God’s ultimate plan were always brought low. God governs and controls even the evil acts of “free moral agents.”
This Psalm prompted the early Church to ask for more boldness to speak the Word in the face of deadly persecution. The Lord affirmed their prayer by filling them again with His Holy Spirit and empowering them with miraculous signs and wonders in His name. Their example should remind us all that the godly ought not to sit idly by when evil attempts to anesthetize our culture. The normalization of evil ought not to go unchallenged. The godly must speak up!
Are today’s Christians boldly challenging the ungodly aggressiveness that seeks to dominate our culture? Or, have they surrendered America; believing it a post-Christian nation? If post-Christian, evidence would be:
- a decline in moral and ethical values evidenced by a rejection of the historic Christian Faith;
- evidence that the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government are no longer being informed by the Judeo-Christian tradition as in the past; 4
- bias reporting by the “un-elected…fourth branch of government;” the liberal press;5 and,
- a declaration of war by the united and outraged wicked nations against the Lord,
If these are the signs, then America is, in this restricted sense, a post-Christian nation.
Many Americans are discussing the ills and evils of our society. They may not be able to advance sophisticated religio- philosophic arguments, but they can certainly read a thermometer. They know that if the patient is running a fever, a low grade infection has set in.
A Simple Test of Your Biblical Literacy
1. Name the Ten Commandments within 60 seconds.
2. Name the two places in the Bible where the Ten Commandments are listed.
Note: The chances are 99 out of 100 that you will fail this test.
In the midst of these dark thoughts, Psalm 2 provides a great hope, a hope for America and the entire global community. That hope is that the godly will continue to be restrainers of ungodliness. Even if kings and rulers take counsel together against the godly, they will not ultimately succeed in eradicating our influence. The Christian Church will not be a “silent majority.”
God has informed the godly that the actions and attitudes of the ungodly are predictable. There is, at least at some level, a conspiracy; kings and rulers will conspire together. Whether conscious, or unconscious, there is a hatred for God, His Word and His people, that motivates ungodly men in business, government, ethics and academia. They plan our demise and, at least, our silencing. We should never be surprised at the lengths the wicked will go to cast off restraint. We have been forewarned and should be forearmed (Psalm 2:3).
Furthermore, God has informed us that the attitudes and actions of the ungodly are vain from the start. Unwise and uninstructed, the kings of the earth are obstinately set and arrogantly believe they will be successful in their godless dreams. They are blind to the futility of their conspiring. Our Royal Psalm decrees that all who hinder God’s ultimate plan and purpose for our nation, and all the nations of the global community, will always be brought to a frustrated end.
Seems I can hear God saying that it’s time to rise up now and make it clear that the evils of the universe must be removed. And that God isnt going to do all of it by himself. The church that overlooks this is a dangerously irrelevant church.
The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Quoted in Taylor Branch, Parting of the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63 (New York: Simon and Shuster, 1988), p. 743
Courtesy of Gary Demar, Biblical Worldview, August 1994
The battle lines have been drawn; it is us versus themthe unfettered, wicked lusts of kings and peoples versus the moral, ethical, and godly restraint of the Lord and His anointed. There is no ground for neutrality. The amoral climate of our nation is making the choice easy. Compromises are evaporating. Desperate times demand deliberate choices.
He Who sits in the heavens laughs! Why? Because while admittedly there are formidable challengers, there simply are no conquering foes! God’s laugh is not wanton hilarity, but supreme contempt; not the unbridled emotion of haughty humanity, but the focused and just disdain of the Almighty God surpassing the contempt by which the ungodly view Him and His Church.
God laughs because any opposition to Him is laughably pathetic, and any conspiracy to eliminate His moral restraints is equally laughable. The wicked view moral restraints as imprisonmentchains, fetters, cords! But this Psalm teaches that all societies and cultures are harnessed in some degree by sovereign restraints and controls. The wicked kick against these restraints by attacking the representatives of “The Restrainer.” It is the godly, upright, and righteous citizens of our nation that chain the will and wishes of the wicked (Psalm 149:6-9).
Is America a post-Christian nation? Shall evil triumph? Not as long as the godly refuse to bend and bow to the angry threats of modern day Nebuchadnezzars. We are not ignorant of the enemy’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). The believer is a son of the light and the day (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6). It is the unbeliever who is blind and the godless who are fools (2 Corinthians 4:4; Psalm 14:1). America will never be without a powerful Christian witness as long as believers embrace the truths of Psalm 2; for it is “unsurpassed [in its] buoyant, fierce delight in God’s dominion.”6
1. Royal Psalms: 2, 18, 20, 21, 45, 72, 89, 101, 110, 132, 44.
2. See William H. Brownlee, “Psalms 1-2 as a Coronation Liturgy,” Biblica 52:321-36.
3. Gary DeMar, “Is Sin the Solution?,” Biblical Worldview (July 1994) V10, N7, 7.
4. Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto (Westchester, Ill., Crossway Books, 1981),41-51.
6. Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72, T.O.T.C. , Vol. 14a (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP, 1973), 50.
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