Friday, October 24, 2014

America: A Broken Vessel?

Have you ever imagined God sitting in heaven laughing at you?  I have of course but it was always a gentle chuckle: like when my kids do something cute and ridiculous and I can't help but snicker.  I'd prefer He laugh when I'm boneheaded than cry!

But when the Psalmist says that God laughed, he didn't have a delighted guffaw in mind, but a snort of derision.  As the 2nd Psalm opens, the nations and their leaders are plotting open revolt. Tired of the ties that bind them to God their Emperor, they are ready for freedom. But they had no idea who they were messing with.  

God laughed down at the nations because while they were plotting rebellion, he was plotting to send Jesus.  His own son would not only be his personal emissary but the King in person ready to judge the nations. God was going to speak and that "Word" was not going to be good news.

For good reason (it is called the "gospel" after all) we think of the coming of Jesus Christ as the best kind of news.  God became a human being, redeeming, rescuing, adopting and delivering us (Philippians 2, Ephesians 1). However for those who stand opposed to God this Psalm has nothing but bad news.

I fear we are one of the many nations standing in stubborn opposition to our rightful king.  The words of the Psalmist: "Let us tear their (God and the Messiah's) fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!" ring especially true.  As a country we have not only cast aside some of the basic moral underpinnings that strengthen our families and guard our integrity, but we have labeled good evil and evil good.  God has nothing but derisive laughter for those who think they can toss aside their obligation to him.

And the bad news?  The Lord says to his Christ,
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall breaka them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.
God promises that he will hand to the Christ whatever nations he likes.  And when they are in his hand, it will not be not the loving hand of a good shepherd but the angry hand of a potter displeased with his work that they're facing. 

We like to think of this kind of justice as belonging to Israel or at least to the past, yet it is the nations (the Gentiles) that God has in mind in this Psalm and he doesn't seem to put a time limit on the wrath he's going to call down on those who seek to escape from the reign of his son. 


Me too.

If we were having this conversation in the comments on a Facebook post, now is the point where someone would say, "We used to be one nation under God.  What happened to that?  How can we go back to being a Christian nation?"

I think that might be the wrong question.

Let's ask instead, "What would God have a Christian living in a nation which doesn't recognize him or his authority do?"  Just what his people in the New Testament did: pray, especially for our leaders; preach boldly; be fearless; live quiet lives and submit to governmental authorities (1 Timothy 2, Acts 4: 23-3, Acts 5:26-32,1 Peter 2:13-17).

Perhaps in his grace, before he hands us over to His Anointed, we will repent, or he'll return. Or perhaps he'll scoff at our country and its futile plotting, leaving us one more broken vessel. Regardless of America's future, remember: our life is in Christ, our citizenship is in heaven and our hope is in His resurrection (Romans 8:1-12, Philippians 3:20).


Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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