Thursday, January 3, 2008

Prosperity for the Nations

Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.
(Psalm 2:10-12)
Psalm 1 shows how the individual can prosper and be blessed. Psalm 2 shows how all the nations of the earth can prosper and be blessed. Though it ends with a note of hope and assurance for all those, even heads of state, who put their trust in God, this psalm begins with a conspiracy of nations in rebellion: “Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?” (v. 1). What is interesting here is that the Hebrew word for “plot” is the same one used for “meditate” in Psalm 1. There it speaks of meditation — one’s self-talk — on the Word of God; here it refers to the vain imaginations of traitors egging one another on in accusation against God.

The psalm writer continues, “The kings of the earth have set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and His Anointed [Messiah]” (v. 2). This is the counsel of the wicked, the path of the sinful, the seat of the mockers. Hear the bile of their anger: “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us” (v. 3). They devise, they scheme, they connive. They twist and contort and imagine themselves a great terror to the purposes of God.

God laughs. Their brilliant strategy is utter nonsense, as comical as a flea trying to work jujitsu on an elephant. It does not slow Him down one bit as He prepares for the Great Coronation, and He lets them know it.
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
“Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”
(Psalm 2:4-6)
And Messiah receives the assignment:
“I will declare the decree:
The LORD has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.’”
(Psalm 2:7-9)
All the nations of the earth are His inheritance; the whole world belongs to Him. Though He is the stone the kings and builders of the world rejected, He has become the Cornerstone with which everything must be set in proper order — or else be demolished.

And here’s an unexpected turn. Instead of dropping the hammer on them, God graciously extends an invitation, an opportunity to get a little life-saving wisdom.
Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.
Get a clue. Receive correction. Figure out who is Lord of All and serve Him with all your heart, realizing how awesome He is and counting yourself fortunate to have come to your senses just in time. Run to His embrace and honor Him with a kiss, while there is yet time to know the happiness — the bliss — of finding all your peace and prosperity in Him.

Messiah has ascended to His throne and is receiving the nations for His inheritance, and He is calling them to receive Him, and know Him as King over all kings and Lord over all lords. The prosperity of the nations is found in Him alone.