Monday, November 25, 2013
Psalm 2: Holding Back Corruption
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, saying, “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, saying, “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.” 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.’” Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!
Psalm One prepares our hearts to meditate on the holy God and is the dominating theme of the first in our Prayer Book. Psalm 2 moves us from the personal realm into the realms of government and those that govern. The NASB uses the word devising, the King James uses imagine, and the Message translates the word as plots. The word plot is the same Hebrew word for meditate in Psalm 1. The people plot and imagine methods for defying the living God.
“Psalm 2 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.” (Peterson, 28).
Does this not reflect the current world view of our society? This plot is currently underway; God and His precious Word are not welcome in schools, football games, town halls, 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 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 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 thought and imaginations are focused solely on God and His ways. In Psalm Two the nations meditate on this plot of removing God from society. Their thoughts are focused completely on these vain imaginations. They meditate—plot ways in which to see it through, and no tactic is too ruthless.
People of God must pray for the nations and their leaders; interceding for the kings of the earth and to thwart the plans of the enemy. How can the Church exercise her authority given her by Christ?
“There are various ways the church can make her authority effective in the world. I would suggest four ways: prayer, witnessing, preaching, and doing good. These are the primary ways in which God expects the church to exercise her influence” (Praying for Government, Prince, p. 5).
If the church fails to pray and intervene in the world, the church becomes flavorless; salt that has lost its flavor. Salt preserves and holds back corruption:
“In the days before refrigeration, meat was preserved with salt. It kept back corruption. Corruption in all its forms—moral, social, political. As long as we are here, we do this…When the church ceases to fulfill its function as salt, it will be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men…men who will trample underfoot the church that is not fulfilling its role in the world as salt” (Prince, p. 9).
The corruption of sin is already in the world through the fall, but the presence of God’s saints in the earth, holds that corruption at bay, “We cannot abolish the corruption that is already there, but we can hold it in check long enough for God’s purposes of grace and mercy to be fully worked out. Then, when our influence is no longer felt, corruption will come to its climax, and the result will be total degradation” (Shaping History, Prince, p. 19)
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;
“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.’” (Peterson, p. 29).
When people meditate on God, His kingdom and 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 to him 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.
“The presence of ten righteous persons can preserve a community of ten thousand. The presence of a hundred righteous persons can preserve a community of one hundred thousand. The presence of one thousand righteous persons can preserve a community of one million. How many righteous persons are needed to preserve a nation as large as the United States, with an estimated population of nearly *210, 000,000? About 210, 000 persons” (Shaping History, Prince, p. 17).
It is vital that Christians don’t just pray and sit in the background. Believers need to be involved in politics, the arts, music—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 over throw His kingdom.
“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 takes shape in history and we see it in action in a person. (p.29)
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.
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.’” Matthew 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 on to 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. If Satan was successful in tempting Jesus to take the bait, society would be rid of God and Satan would be in charge. Jesus overcame the temptation, so must we.
Be watchful of his schemes for Satan is anxious knowing his time is short. (Revelation 12:12)
How then can we rest and find comfort in Psalm 2? 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 John 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 2 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 first, and rise to action by His Spirit’s leading.
In His Grace,
*This statistic was recorded by Derek Prince in 1973. The estimated population of the US is much larger today.
Peterson, Eugene H. Answering God: The Psalms As Tools For Prayer. New York: HarperCollins, 1989.
Prince, Derek. Praying For The Government. United Kingdom: Derek Prince Ministries, 1970.
——. Shaping History Through Prayer And Fasting. Old Tappan, NJ: Spire Books, 1973.