When God Built a Nation (and No, It Wasn't the U.S.)
Guest Author: Jake Hudson “I.S.I.S. attacks again.” “Laws concerning homosexual marriage have been overturned.” “Another scandal emerges from top government officials.” “Marijuana is open for purchase in a city near you.”
It’s unsettling isn’t it? Trying to live as a Christian in the world today just seems harder and harder to do. Where have the values gone? What is happening to this great nation? Will God judge us soon? These questions are nothing new under the sun.
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” (Psalm 2:1-3)
If there would have been newspapers in David's day, what do you think the headlines would have been?
"Nations on the brink of war!”
"Protestors take to the streets!”
"Another corrupt politician takes office!”
"Israel's God rejected again!”
Sound all too familiar? So many questions come to mind as we ponder the world’s current state. Most sit and wring their hands and shake their heads at the fact that the world today just isn’t what it used to be. The fact is, the world today is the same as the world back then. Is this cause for alarm? Not completely. Is the world ending soon? Who knows. Is the United States no longer God’s Kingdom? Never was. Understand, it will never cease to be the “world”, because it is in a fallen state.
Many have concluded that Psalms 2:1-3’s purpose was for the inauguration of the Davidic Kings. It was to be ceremonial, read at the inaugural ceremonies of David's bloodline. The opening’s purpose was to call Israel's attention to the character of the world in which they lived. To see the world for what it was, fallen, and to demonstrate God’s dominion over all things. It was and still is a world of raging nations. It was and still is a world of self-promotion. It was and still is a world that seeks to break free from the so called "bondage" of religion. It was and still is the world!
The reality is this world was never meant to be the ultimate dwelling place of God's people. It will always stand in opposition to Him. Sure, the news is disheartening to the faithful. Will times change? Yes, but history is seemingly cyclic. Amidst this ever-changing, fallen world, where are you placing your focus. Is your focus on perfecting the world, or saving it's inhabitants? What I mean by this is your focus on perfecting the laws of the land, or on leading others to Christ? Salvation has always been God's focus, and it needs to start being ours. Our purpose isn't to go into all the nations and fix them, it's to go into all the nations and preach the Gospel (Mt. 28). Far too often are we missing this very point when we get wrapped up in the world simply being the world. You want to know what God's reaction is to the struggles of David's world?
He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” (Psalm 2:4-6)
God sees the self-righteousness of man. He sees man's attempt to become his own god. He sees their vanity, and their struggle for power. He has seen nations rise, and nations fall. His reaction? A laughter of judgment. He holds the vain in derision, a state of mocking. Then, He boldly proclaims his wrath. In such a way that it terrifies the nations. "As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill."
Remember the Psalms place at an inauguration ceremony. As the people celebrated the next king in line to carry out the God given kingship, it was a proclamation of trust and faith, not in the new king, but in the Lord God. Regardless of the persecution the Israelites faced, God was still having His way. The promise of deliverance through the Davidic bloodline was still alive and well. God's king will reign! Yes, the nations were raging. Yes, they were rejecting Him, and yes, they were attempting to exalt themselves above Him. However, look at His reaction, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
How are you reacting to the present state of the world? How are you reacting to the present state of society? Are you anxious, and full of worry? Are you signing petitions to get the President impeached? Again, are you focused on changing the world, or saving the people in it? When is the last time you had a conversation about Jesus’ love and sacrifice, and not on how you would do things if you ran the White House?
I have read countless articles, and heard just as many voices referring to the United States as “God's Nation”. Let's go ahead and ask that question. Is the United States, or has it ever been God's nation? The simple answer is no! During the times of David, God's nation was the Israelites. The Davidic kingship was God's chosen line of rulers to govern His nation. In remembering this, a promise was made that is very important for us to remember today!
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.” (Jeremiah 23:5)
This promise was not concerning the President of the United States, it was concerning someone, something, much bigger! The United States was built on Christian principals. The United States was not built as the new Israel. Many have confused these two facts. There is a danger in doing so. When these two facts are confused, we lose our focus! The King God has established is His Son, and the Kingdom is His Church! It is not the United States’ job to promote Christ, it is the Church’s. It is not the United States’ job to promote Godly principles, it is the Church’s. It is not the United States’ job to lead people to Christ, it is the Church’s!
We have responsibilities as citizens of the United States, but we also have responsibilities as citizens of God's Kingdom, the Church. First and foremost, the responsibility of the Church is to save souls, not governments. Could you imagine how the New Testament would read if Paul spent all of his time protesting the Roman government? I'm not saying let the government go to "pot", but I am saying don't confuse your citizenship in Heaven with your citizenship on earth. My fear is that the government is becoming a distraction to the Church. Too many citizen's in the Kingdom are becoming obsessed with the modern government. As a result, their responsibilities concerning the Church have been placed on the back burner. Here is a simple question to ask yourself, “Am I talking to people more about the government and it’s problems, or the Gospel and it's power to save?”
I consider myself a patriot in the United States. I gave an oath to give my life in defense of this country. More importantly, in defense of the people of this country. I love the United States, it is my home, and it is the home of my children. However, I have a citizenship that is greater, and everlasting. I have an allegiance that is stronger than my allegiance to this country will ever be It is an allegiance to the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Do I want this country to follow a path that is morally correct? You bet! I want a healthy and morally straight place for my children and grandchildren to live. I will do my duties as a citizen of this country, but I will never allow this country to become the object of my religion. Listen to God’s proclamation in Psalm 2 as it continues:
I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Psalm 2:7-9)
Christ is the King we seek. The Church is the Kingdom we seek. His rule is the power and salvation we seek. None of it will be found in any nation on this earth, but all of it can be found in His Kingdom!
Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 2:10-12)
Kings, rulers, be wise, be warned! Serve the Lord with fear! Rejoice with trembling! Kiss the Son! Blessed are all who take refuge in Him!
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