# 56 A journey through the Psalms. Truths to help us to “…live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received.” (Ephesians 4:1). # Three: Psalm 2:5-12 “the cosmic confrontation” continues.

“Look at how the power brokers of the world                                                                                   Rise up to hold their summit,                                                                                                                   Scheming and conferring together                                                                                                        Against God and his Anointed King…” (Psalm 2:2 TPT)

We who live in countries where there is relative safety, security and comfort too often forget that many fellow-believers worldwide know very little of these things. Just go to any website concerning the persecuted church and maybe you will be surprised by just how widespread persecution is and just what fellow believers in many nations have to live with daily.

The words of this psalm come to life in the context of the persecution that is happening worldwide. Believe it or not there are whole nations, political groups, ideologies, religions who are totally anti-God, anti-God’s people, and who are using every resource available to them to destroy any thing/any people that proclaim by life or word the truth that “our God reigns”.

Speaking of the Christians in the USSR prior to its dissolution formally enacted on December 26, 1991, author Nik Ripken writes, “Pastors and church lay leaders were arrested and imprisoned. Their wives were pressured to divorce them; children were discouraged from writing to their imprisoned fathers. The sons and daughters of known believers would be kept after school to be questioned and badgered by a panel of teachers who denigrated the family’s faith. Sometimes children were called up in front of school-wide assemblies and publicly ridiculed by both school officials and classmates for their family’s ‘backward, traitorous and anti-communist beliefs’…The strategy of the government was clear: it would do anything to keep faith in Jesus from continuing beyond the current generation.” (see references # 34) And similar things are still happening today in various nations around the world by various governments and organizations.

Sounds a lot like what Psalm 2 is talking about. “Rebellion…foolish plots…scheming and conferring…against God and his Anointed King: saying; ‘Let’s…break away from the Creator…let’s caste off these controlling chains of God and his Christ!’”  (Psalm 2:1-3 TPT)

The wonderful thing is that the last word will not be spoken by those who seek to destroy God and his people because it has already been spoken by God himself. Wilcock commenting on verses 4-6 says,

“Few of those who reject God think much about him; none, I dare say, ever thinks of his actually ridiculing them! And while a God who derides, scoffs, rebukes, and terrifies is disconcerting enough, even worse is one who speaks as this one does in verse 6. The ‘I’ is emphatic, and the tone must be one of cold anger. ‘You may conspire and rebel, but I, you see, have already decided who shall finally rule in your world. I have spoken, and there’s an end of it’.” (see references # 5)

No matter what is happening in the world around us, we have hope, knowing the end of the story, because the Lord of all the earth has spoken, “I have installed my King”, and that King is Jesus.

May we pray for those suffering for their faith and ourselves in the words of Paul’s prayer, that “God will fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,  so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,  and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.  For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:9-20)

# 55 A journey through the Psalms. Truths to help us to “…live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received.” (Ephesians 4:1). # Two: Psalm 2:1-4 “the cosmic confrontation”.

M Wilcock in his commentary suggests that “Psalm 1 and probably Psalm 2 … [are] the inspired introduction to the whole book [of Psalms].” He continues, “Psalm 1 sings of the choice between two ways that each of us has to make; Psalm 2 unveils the cosmic confrontation which that choice reflects.” He continues, “…the private world of the first psalm opens up into the public world of the second; the personal is followed by the cosmic; in airport terminology, one is ‘domestic’ and the other ‘international’. Psalm 1 talks the everyday language of wisdom books…while Psalm 2, raising its eyes to world affairs beyond the control of ordinary people, speaks as the books of the prophets do of a great God in control behind the scenes.” (see references # 5).

One of the places we visited on our recent trip was Mount Buffalo situated in the alpine region of Victoria. Its height is 1723 metres and the view from the lookout is pretty spectacular.

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Psalm 2 reminds me a little of this experience of being above (in the ‘heavenlies’) and looking down to where we normally live and observe life from (on the earth). Things look very different from this higher perspective!

So, in the context of this psalm, there is a “rebellion” taking place amongst the nations of the earth. There is “ranting and raving” and “foolish plots” as well as “scheming and conferring” going on. In our days we are very aware of all these things happening, in the Middle East as well as in other regions of the world. This ‘rebellion’, or so it is said, is against what the instigators may call “rogue governments” or “infidels”, but here in this psalm the rebellion is seen to be “against the Lord Most High…against God and his Anointed King”. (Psalm 2:1-3)

On one hand, it’s hard to believe. What are these leaders of the nations thinking? Have they even considered who they are rebelling against and the implications of their futile activity? Well, certainly there is One who knows how crazy it all is and he laughs! Verse 4 says, “God–Enthroned merely laughs at them [at their arrogance], amused at their puny plans, mocking their madness!” (Psalm 2: 4 The Passion Translation)

I don’t know about you, but the thought of God laughing in derision at man’s arrogance is a bit disconcerting!

But on the other hand, we are not surprised by this arrogance. We see it every day, not only on an international scale, but sadly, at times, in our own lives. Maybe not a public “ranting and raving” against God, but more in a quiet ignoring of him and his ways, suggesting we can actually do life by ourselves. Despite what we profess to believe, it is all too easy to live as if there really is no God and his Anointed King. Sure, we acknowledge him on Sunday morning, but having done that, during the week it is all too easy to go on with ‘life as usual’.

If this sounds in the least bit familiar, then maybe we need some time out to reflect on Psalms 1 and 2 and allow God to do a spiritual health check on us. To raise us up to a higher place to enable us to see things as they really are in this world. How things are between his Anointed King and you. Then to teach us a submission and dependence upon him that brings us to the place of where we really “Serve and worship the awe-inspiring God. Recognize his greatness and bow before him, trembling with reverence in his presence.” (Psalm 2:11 The Passion Translation)

Father, too often in our lives we are earthbound in the way we see things. Help us to see the big picture of your sovereignty and our lives from your perspective. Help us then to respond in awe and worship, serving you, King Jesus, wholeheartedly. Amen.

# 54 A journey through the Psalms. Truths to help us to “…live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received.” (Ephesians 4:1). # One: Psalm 1 “How different…the lovers of God.”

The reason that this  post has taken so long to come is because my wife and I, over the last 3 months, have been privileged to be able to travel by car to a number of places in Australia, enjoying the amazing sights and visiting many good friends.

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Some have asked us, “What have been some highlights of your trip?” A tough question because there have been many. But as I read Psalm 1 again today, I was reminded of one highlight of our trip that stands out and that is, the people we spent time with along the way! Not just any people, but people we have known 10, 20, 30, 40 years. People who through all the ups and downs of their lives have remained faithful to God. People who have endeavored to live the life described by the psalmist in Psalm 1, as challenging as that is at times. Inspiring people, encouraging people, serving people, humble people, enduring people, giving people, fruit-filled people. People who daily make a choice to live their lives according to the truths of the Bible and seek to remain faithful to the God they love and serve.

They are the people that the psalmist describes as “Blessed” or as those to whom “delight comes” because they “follow God’s ways…Their pleasure and passion is remaining true to the Word of ‘I Am’. Meditating each and every moment in the revelation of light.” (Psalm 1:1-2 The Passion Translation)

They aren’t perfect (none of us are!), but they are “standing firm, like a tree planted by God’s design, deeply rooted by the brooks of bliss; bearing fruit in every season of their lives…never dry, never fainting, ever blessed, ever plentiful.” (Psalm 1:3 The Passion Translation)

People like the couple we have known since the 1980s from training days who have so faithfully given their lives to the Lord in a number of countries ministering to those with substance abuse issues and other addictions and who have seen God do many miracles of grace.

Then the couple who went to one of the toughest and most unresponsive countries in the world, serving the people there for over 30 years, and who now continue (back in Australia) to seek to bless others and challenge us concerning taking the gospel to the nations.

Or the couples who live in small rural towns faithfully encouraging the believers there and reaching out to the broken ones of their district, offering love and hospitality.

And this was just a few of those we had the privilege to spend time with.

Of course, we have also met other people along the way, but “how different…the lovers of God! The Lord watches over them as they move forward.” (Psalm 1:6 The Passion Translation)

So what has been the highlight of our journey? The people of God we have met who are seeking to live their lives worthy of the calling they have received from God.

Father, we desire to be those who are “blessed” by you. Thank you for Psalm 1 which confronts us “with the basic choice that alone gives reality to worship; with the divine truth that must inform it; and with the ultimate judgement that looms up beyond it.” (Kidner – see references # 29). Our lives are too short not to listen and respond to the wisdom taught here. Teach us your ways that result in fruitfulness as we read and apply your Word to our everyday lives. Amen.