The Lord's Response

God laughs, but there's nothing funny about it.

God’s Word to the World (2)

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

The nations in tumult
These days, many of the political, intellectual, scientific, cultural, economic, academic, and military leaders of the world act as if they have little or no responsibility toward, or regard for, the God of Scripture.

In fact, this is not an act at all. It’s simply the way contemporary men and women have come to view the proceedings of history and the world. God may or may not exist; but, even if He does, He doesn’t interfere in the affairs of men and nations, people and things. He’s only about comforting us in our times of trial – if we’re so weak as to require such comforting.

But since there are an awful lot of affairs of men and nations, as well as people and things, somebody has to make sense of all this and give direction to it. Which is where many of today’s movers-and-shakers have positioned themselves. Deceived by spiritual forces of wickedness in high places, full of themselves and their ideas and schemes, slaves to the Lie (Rom. 1.25), and determined to secure a spread in the pages of history, world leaders and their followers rage in vain against the sovereign God of heaven and earth, Who made them, loves them, and cares for them in minute detail, even despite their scorn for and denial of Him (Ps. 52.1; Matt. 5.44, 45).

How does the Lord in heaven respond to this state of affairs? Does He just ignore it and hope it won’t affect Him? Does He wring His hands and fret, like His people do, worried about infringements on their religious liberties, constraints on their freedom of speech, or whether their latest version of contemporary worship is just not sufficiently hip to make the lost world like them?

Hardly. As the nations rage and rail against Him, God simply laughs. It is a sad laugh, an ironic laugh, a knowing laugh, and a laugh of derision. And that laughter of God, present in every age, introduces His Word to the world, the Word He calls His people to understand and proclaim.

Pointing to His King
In brief, God’s response to the raging of the world is to point to His King, enthroned over His Church, and advancing His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven (Ps. 45.6). The Lord’s answer to the rebellion of our age is neither political, nor cultural, nor economic. It is spiritual and personal, centered in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and gesturing toward the new reality of His Kingdom.

Men rage against God with fire in their minds, as James H. Billington explained, referring to the revolutionary passion for autonomy in Fire in the Minds of Men. God, however, does not fight fire with fire. He does not offer dissatisfied, disobedient men new and better ideas. He does not hold out to them improved systems and institutions, or more conservative leaders and traditional values.

His response to the raging of the nations is not to recommend more wholesome culture.

Instead, God gestures toward true and full reality, a spiritual realm which, having once dawned cannot be extinguished and must drive back the darkness of vanity and rage wherever it becomes established in the souls of those who believe (Dan. 2.44, 45; 1 Jn. 2.8). Men rage against God and His Law; God points to Jesus and the work He has accomplished in destroying the devil and his deceiving ways, and opening the gate to eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

Not relevant?
Doubtless to some, such a response to worldwide moral, cultural, and political rebellion will seem simplistic. “The world doesn’t want to hear about the Kingdom of God!” some will insist. “Give us something more relevant to the needs of our alienated generation!”

But what could be more relevant than that alone which can heal the rebellion in men’s souls and overcome their alienation to God, others, the world, and themselves? So the world doesn’t want to hear about the Kingdom of God. They’re raging vainly in rebellion against the very idea! And shall we take our cues concerning our message from madmen?

The Kingdom of God is real. It is a spiritual power for turning the world upside-down, overthrowing every vain pretense of even the most powerful and persuasive pontificators, and establishing a reign of righteousness, peace, and joy in the hearts of men and the nations of the world (1 Cor. 4.20; Acts 17.1-9; Rom. 4.17, 18).
How do we respond to the rebellion and raging of the world in our day? Do we join in the laughter of God? Are we looking to the cure toward which He gestures? And are we determined, as citizens and ambassadors of His new spiritual nation, to accept our calling to carry His Word to the world?

For reflection
1.  What do you make of God’s laughing in response to the raging of the nations? How should this instruct us?

2.  How would you summarize the substance of God’s response to the raging of the nations? What are the implications for us, God’s people?

3.  What do we mean by saying that God “does not fight fire with fire” in responding to the people and nations of the earth?

Next steps – Conversation: Paul says we are ambassadors of King Jesus (2 Cor. 5.17-21). What does that involve in your daily life? How do you represent the King and His Kingdom to a world raging against God? Talk with some Christian friends about these questions.

T. M. Moore

Let us help you take God’s Word to your world. Our booklet, Joy to Your World!,shows why Jesus is the great Good News of Christmas. It’s the perfect stocking-stuffer for friends and coworkers. Order your copies by clicking here.

This week’s study is Part 9 of a series on The Word of God, and is available as a free download by clicking here.

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God’s Covenant, takes you through the entire Bible, following the development of themes related to God’s covenant, and consummated in Jesus Christ. Here’s an effective tool for helping you read the Bible through God’s eyes. Order your copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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