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Today's Little Lift

    by Jim Bullington

The Nations Rage (Psalm 2.1)
Date Posted: January 26, 2021

“Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” (Psalm 2.1-3).

The second Psalm had a specific objective, namely the foretelling of certain aspects of the Messiah's reign. It is quoted repeatedly in the New Testament with that explicit fulfillment in view (see Acts 13, Hebrews 1, and others). Among other things, the second Psalm foretold the fact that there would be plots against God by peoples and governments of all nationalities. Of course, these all came true during His earthly ministry, many of them being most vividly seen during His trial and crucifixion. However, in addition to the specific principle in view in the second Psalm, it is also the case that men have frequently plotted against God and His will, and in so doing imagined vain things. Today's message will note some of mankind's plots against Creator God.

One of the most insidious plots of all time is to paint God as a cruel and unloving Creator who desires to catch man in his errors and punish him for his misdeeds. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. If the Bible is God's word, would God have revealed Himself in such a light? Is God not smart enough to know that we will not be attracted to Him through tales of cruelty and horror? To ask these questions is to answer them! While there may be isolated passages in the Bible that seem to depict a cruel and unloving God, the entirety of the Bible has exactly the opposite message. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3.16-17).

Another plot of humanity has been to teach that those who are lost are in that condition because of God's action (or lack of it). God made man an accountable creature from the get-go and that has not changed. The fact that he is accountable for his actions is borne out in every passage that speaks of judgment and eternal rewards or punishment. Human accountability is a core doctrine of the Scriptures and must never be altered or forgotten. God is Sovereign God who rules in matters of the universe; in His Sovereignty, He made man a free moral agent who must finally and eternally give account for his deeds.

A third and final plot of mankind has been to convince others that they simply cannot be good enough to warrant an eternal home with God. Whispers of doubt escalate into haunting crescendos telling man that there is just no way to attain to God's goodness and perfection. Countless Christians are needlessly haunted by these same fears. God is good; God is great; God is perfect! The good news is that He does not expect nor demand that we be any of these things in and of ourselves! While He expects effort on our part, the result is never entirely up to us. Through Christ, God sees the most feeble efforts of mankind as valid and valuable! The lie of the nations has been to say that God's demands are above our reach and hence, there is no need to try! Reject that lie outright and accept the fact that His grace is sufficient for all, for all time, and in all places!

The way to avoid the plots of the nations and their senseless raging, is to listen to God speak to you through His word. It is there that His character is revealed, His will for humanity is declared, His love for the sinner is made manifest, and it is there that hope springs eternal in Jesus Christ!

Questions:

1. What plots did the nations make against the Christ during His earthly ministry? How many of them (if any) ended up the way the nations/people thought they would?

2. When did man become accountable to God? When will that accountability cease?

3. How can we know for certain that God loves the sinner and wants him to be saved?

4. Apart from God and the Gospel, what hope does mankind possess? Of all the plots of mankind against God, can you think of one more devastating than to convey the message of hopelessness? Explain.

"God's Words For US" from Cecelia Lester

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Biography Information:
Jim Bullington - A Christian writer whose insight into the scriptures is reflected in practical application lessons in every article. The reader will find that the Bible speaks directly to him/her through these articles. God is always exalted and His word is treated with the utmost respect in this column.
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