Summary: If God is ruling, why is our world and our nation in the shape they are in? Just how does God rule?
“A Nation Under God: The Way God Rules”
Jer. 9:23-24; Ps. 2
A little Scottish boy wouldn’t eat his prunes, so his mother sent him off to bed saying, “God is angry at you.” Soon after the boy went to his room a violent storm broke out. Amidst flashes of lightning and peals of thunder, the mother looked into the boy’s room, worried that he would be terrified. When she opened the door, she found him looking out the window muttering, “My, such a fuss to make over a few prunes.” (1) Cute – but is this the way God rules?
In late December 1908 the unspeakably wicked and irreligious condition of some of the inhabitants of Messina, Italy was expressed in a series of violent resolutions that were passed against all objections. This followed the journal Il Telefono, printed in Messina, which published in its Christmas 1908 issue an abominable parody, daring the Almighty to make himself known in an earthquake. In the early morning of December 28, just a few hours after the resolutions, an earthquake struck killing 84,000 people. Interesting – but is this the way God rules?
In the first two weeks of this series we have reaffirmed that God rules the world and that He exalts people and nations who live by His righteousness, according to His standards. Yet looking at our nation and society begs the question of just how it is that God rules. It appears that either He is ineffective and has lost control or that He is resting from ruling, because surely the world we live in is not a world pleasing to Him. If God is ruling, why is our world and our nation in the shape they are in? Just how does God rule? From Jeremiah and the Psalmist we learn four dynamics.
First, we discover that there are those who have a PROBLEM WITH GOD. Ps. 2:1-2 – “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. There is MASS, ORGANIZED REBELLION AGAINST GOD AND HIS FOLLOWERS. The word ‘plot’ is the same word used in Psalm 1 to describe how the blessed person ‘meditates’ on God’s law; it means, at its root, ‘imagination.’ The godly nations use imagination to meditate on the Word of God, while the godless nations use imagination to find ways to rid humankind of God. Their anti-God actions are premeditated. Even archenemies band together to fight against God. Who was it that crucified Jesus? The Roman and Jewish leaders - archenemies. Acts 4:27, Peter and John, after quoting Ps. 2, prayed “Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.”
Such conspiring, pre-meditation is on the rise throughout the world today. Muslim extremists, communist regimes, godless armies seek to stamp out God by persecuting and outlawing Christians. Such conspiring occurs in the nations of Viet Nam, China, Sudan, Morocco, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Nigeria, Colombia and many, many others. And America is not exempt. The American Association for the Advancement of Atheism operates under charter in the state of New York. In a publication they stated their purpose: “We undertake to abolish public chaplaincies, to tax church property, to repeal Sunday legislation, to abrogate all laws enforcing Christian morals, to stoop bootlegging of religion into schools, to prevent the issuing of religious proclamations by government officials, to erase superstitious inscriptions which deface our coinage, for there is no god, and our supreme effort will be to free mankind from the fear of a nonentity.” (2) Additionally the ACLU has worked diligently to push religion – especially the Christian religion – to the outskirts of culture and the political arena. Its founder, Roger Baldwin, shared his philosophy: “I am for socialism, disarmament, and ultimately for abolishing the state itself as an instrument of violence and compulsion. I seek social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class, and sole control by those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal.” (3)
The Psalmist says the reason for such conspiring, is that PEOPLE WANT NO CONSTRAINTS – THEY THINK THEY WANT TO BE FREE. Verse 3: “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters.” People, and therefore nations, desire to do what they want, when they want, with no interference. Therefore the boundaries God sets are repugnant to them. They do not want to be bound by sanctity of marriage, sexual purity, respect for parents or for those in authority, or with the requirements of stewardship of talents, gifts, and wealth, or by respect for life from conception to the grave. They “reject the notion that God gives life and resent the notion that God controls death. So they make matters of life and death issues of personal choice.” (4) Is it any wonder Jeremiah said (9:23), “This is what the Lord says: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches…”?