Monday, November 25, 2013

Psalms To See Me Through: Psalm 2—Holding Back Corruption

Psalm one prepares our hearts to meditate on Yahweh, the holy God, and is the dominating theme of the first in this wonderful prayer book. Psalm two moves us from the personal realm into the realms of government and those that govern. The NASB uses the word “conspire,” the King James uses “the rulers take counsel together,” the NIV states, “why do the rulers band together against the Lord?” (Ps. 2:2), and the NLT translates the word as “plots.” The word plot is the same Hebrew word for meditate in Psalm one. The people plot and imagine methods for defying the living God.

“Psalm two shows people plotting against this word, devising schemes for getting rid of it so that they can be free of all God-interference in their lives. These people see God’s words not as javelins penetrating their lives with truth, but as chains that restrict their freedom. They put their minds together to rid themselves of this word so that their words can rule.”[1]

Does this not reflect the current worldview of our society and culture today? This plot is currently underway; God and His precious Word are not welcome in schools, football games, town halls, and civic buildings, it is a plot devised and enforced by those that rule in the marketplace. If God’s Word is eliminated from the marketplace, so is their would-be antagonist. Our country witnessed just a few years ago at a national political convention—the booing of God. The party removed God from their platform, and when they received pressure and media attention for the removal, raised a vote to ‘put Him back in’. When the speaker announced that God was back in the platform for the party, the crowd booed and heckled at the notion.

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, saying, “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain (v.4).

It is very important that we stand against such plots and defend what is right. Those that hold the worldview of ridding society of God will not stop until this plot is executed in full. In Psalm one, the people meditate on God, which means all thoughts and imaginations are focused solely on God and His ways. In Psalm two, the nations meditate and conspire against God.  Their thoughts are focused completely on vain imaginations. They meditate—plot ways in which to see it through, and no tactic is too ruthless.

The people of God must pray for the nations and their leaders, interceding for the kings of the earth and thwarting the plans of the enemy. How can the Church exercise the authority given to her by Christ? The righteous should use their influence by praying, witnessing, preaching, and teaching, standing in righteousness, and doing good in the earth.

If the Church fails to pray and intervene in the world, it becomes flavorless, salt that has lost its flavor. Salt preserves and holds back corruption. Before we had the modern convenience of refrigeration, meat was preserved with salt. Christ says that we are the salt of the earth (Matt 5:13). While the Church is on earth, we preserve the good; we hold back corruption.  The corruption of sin is already in the world through the fall, but the presence of God’s saints on the earth holds that corruption at bay. When our influence is not present, corruption gains ground.  

And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 NASB).

We must not allow ourselves to be bullied and intimidated anymore. Though the nations are raging around us, we must stand in truth, we must be faithful to pray:

“If these people are in active conspiracy against the rule of God, what difference can prayer make? What chance does mere ‘tree meditating’ have when movers and shakers of the earth are conspiratorially aligned against it? Intimidation is as fatal to prayer as distraction. If we are intimidated, we will forfeit the entire world of culture and politics, of business and science to those ‘who set themselves…against the Lord.”[2] 

When people meditate on God, His kingdom, and His way of governing, He gives strategies to overcome the conspirators. This Psalm holds somber warnings for those that plot against God.

This reminds me of Abraham and how he interceded on behalf of Lot, his nephew, when the Lord revealed that He was about to destroy the city where Lot lived. Sodom, according to some historians, had a population of no less than ten thousand people. God told Abraham that ten righteous people in Sodom could preserve the city.

It is vital that Christians don’t just pray and sit in the background. Believers need to be involved in politics, the arts, and music and hold back corruption. We can rest in knowing that God is bigger than the world system, and if we are intimidated into a corner—we have been intimidated and bullied from seeing God’s kingdom take on its rightful rule and reign. God has strategies for us to thwart the schemes of those that believe they can overthrow His kingdom. Psalm two answers our need by giving us the Messiah.

“God is not exclusively in the business of dealing with souls, he is also active in cities. Messiah is God’s invasion of the secular, his entry into the world where people go to school, go to work, go to war, go to Chicago. He enters—and he enters in person. His word is not only what we meditate in the Scriptures, it also takes shape in history and we see it in action in a person.”[3]

In verses 7­­–8, we see God promise to give Jesus the nations for an inheritance:

I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession. ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware” (NASB).

Satan has been attempting to overthrow God from the beginning—in fact, he wants to be God:

Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only’ (Matt. 4:8-10 NASB).

Satan tried to promise the kingdoms of the world to Jesus, but Satan was tempting Jesus to follow him instead of God. If Satan could take Jesus’ focus off God and onto him, he would succeed in the plot to usurp God. He offered Him what God had already promised to Him. Jesus was faithful and, through His faithful obedience, redeemed the world and inherited the promise.

Be watchful of his schemes for Satan is anxious knowing his time is short (Rev. 12:12 NASB)

How, then, can we rest and find comfort in Psalm two? How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! We find rest when Jesus is our refuge from the world. When He is our refuge, we have nothing to fear or be anxious about. The spirit of the antichrist is in this world as Jesus’ beloved disciple so aptly warns:

And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world (1 Jn. 4:3 NASB).

We take refuge that Christ has overcome the world—that is our peace. Rest in the knowledge that Christ is returning soon and will rule and reign in righteousness. Allow this second Psalm in our prayer book to penetrate your heart to move you to action in prayer and in deed to thwart the plots and schemes of the present world system. Pray Psalm two when interceding for the nations. We must make ready the world for Christ’s coming, and that cannot be achieved by sitting in the background. We must pray and stand for righteousness and preach the urgency of Christ’s message.

[1] Eugene Peterson, Answering God: The Psalms As Tools For Prayer (New York: HarperOne, 1989), 28.

[2] Ibid., 29.

[3] Ibid.

In His Grace,

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