Why Do the Heathen Rage? :: by Bud Hancock

No one living on this earth has ever seen God in person, so, how are we to know exactly who and what God is?  Had He not provided a detailed description of Himself in His inspired, recorded Word, The Holy Bible, we would forever be in the dark as to His true attributes.  It is through His Word, and only through His Word, that we can know and understand God.

However, there are many people in the world who seem to think they can speak for God in almost any situation but, unless they are using God’s own Word for reference, they are only misleading and deceiving themselves as well as others who would be so foolish as to listen to them.

Let me introduce you to a few of God’s many attributes: God is righteous, God is holy, God is true, God is merciful, God is loving and God is just.

God and His Family

We who are Christians read and accept the attributes above as a foregone conclusion.  We have been taught (hopefully) and have learned (hopefully) that these statements offer a basic understanding of who, and what, our God is.  And just to be clear, I am talking about JHVH (Jehovah), the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the one true god, the god who is worshipped by Jews and Christians the world over.

Knowing who and what God is provides another basic understanding, that being: how we are to live our lives in light of our relationship to Him.  He is the loving Father to all His children, having first been the Father of His only begotten Son, Jesus of Nazareth.  Since we have accepted the Son, we are privileged to be called God’s sons.  What a wonderful privilege this is!

Pattern for the Human Family

I was raised by parents who exhibited much the same love to me as their son that God exhibits to all His children. However, that does not necessarily mean that I always pleased them, in fact, I was rebellious at times, wanting to go my own way and do my own thing. They let me know that those acts of rebellion displeased them immensely, and they followed them up with appropriate punishment.

Did they punish me for their own pleasure? Sometimes it seemed so. But in retrospect, I realize that they knew what was best for me, and their requirements for me to conduct myself in a certain manner was for my own good. In short, they knew that my rebellion would lead to huge problems for me in one way or another if it was allowed to continue. Being good Christians, my parents used the model of God and His family for raising my brother and me.

My father was very adept at administering the punishment for my failures to obey him and/or my mother.  He had a unique way of introducing pain to my rear end that caused me to rethink my rebellious actions.  It also made sitting down a little difficult for a short time.  After all these years, I can still remember his spankings, using only the palm of his hand.  He was a large man, around six feet 2 inches tall, around 230 pounds and was exceedingly strong. But, he knew just how hard to apply that strength to get my attention without leaving any scars or doing any permanent damage.

Even though I knew my dad’s strength, and had experienced his punishment many times, I still imagined I could disobey and avoid punishment, believing I was smart enough to avoid being caught.  No matter how smart I thought I was, it never turned out well for me in these instances.

The good thing about his spankings, even though it did not seem so at the time, was his words to me after the crying had ended.  He would sit down next to me, put his huge arms around me and tell me how much he loved me, letting me know that the punishment was only intended to change my behavior for the better.

God is like my father in many ways, or to be more realistic, my dad was a lot like God. Our Heavenly Father provides the requirements for us to live by in His Word, and expects us to be obedient to them. When we succeed, we are able to approach Him and seek His favor, or just commune with Him. However, when we fail, we have shut ourselves off from His presence and must take the responsibility of repenting of our sin and failure in order to reestablish the lines of communication with Him.

I have at times wished He would just give us a swift spanking for our disobedience, as my dad did, but God chooses instead to allow us to recognize our sin by the prompting of the Holy Spirit through our consciences. If our consciences are functioning properly, that will usually be enough to bring about the desire to repent and ask for His forgiveness.

God knows that rebellion in our lives, and especially continuing and prolonged rebellion will produce serious, potentially fatal problems.  When we know that we are being convicted of sin, the best thing we can do is to stop, drop to our knees and repent immediately.  The longer we do not, the larger the gulf that can develop between ourselves and our Father.

God and the World

In light of the recent Paris peace conference, attended by representatives of 70 nations, convened to discuss the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, I was meditating on the chaotic situation in many parts of the world, especially in the Middle East, and the words of the Psalmist David came to mind this morning.

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine 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 bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion” (Psalm 2:1-6 KJV).

This Scripture provides another glimpse into God’s nature: He laughs. But, in this instance, it is  a laughter of scorn and ridicule, rather than a laughter of amusement. He sees and hears all the ridiculous plans of the rulers of this world in their foolish attempt to determine who will possess the land God gave for an eternal inheritance to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

I’m sure that some of the attendees at the conference had good intentions of bringing peace by dividing up the land between Israel and her Arab neighbors. In their ignorance of who and what God is, they have totally missed the mark and invited God’s ridicule. Until they recognize and acknowledge God they are risking much worse than ridicule.

In the Scripture in Psalm 2, immediately after the laughter of God is recorded in verse 4, verse 5 states that God will speak to them in His wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

God and His Word

All the attempts by the world’s leaders to solve the problem of Israel and Jerusalem have been futile and ineffectual, the literal definition of vain, and have been accompanied by the rage of the heathen who do not know God. Their useless attempts to separate the Jewish people from the land of Israel are laughable and their declarations that part of the land belongs to the Palestinians approach silliness.

The Psalmist asked the “why” question in the first verse because he, David, knew God so well that he accepted as forever settled God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob concerning the eternal inheritance of the land.

The last Scripture I listed above provides the reason why all attempts on the part of the world to determine the ownership of the land in question are doomed to failure: “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion” (Psalm 2:6 KJV).  So, no matter who steps out onto the world’s stage and declares who owns what in the land of Israel, and especially the city of Jerusalem, the matter is, and always has been, settled in God’s mind.

Jerusalem and the Jewish people have a marvelous future in God’s eternal plan.  The saddest part of all these declarations of land ownership by world leaders is the utter destruction that will fall on those who burden themselves with Jerusalem.  Unless they change and seek God in His mercy, their future is bleak at best and potentially hopeless.

Conclusion – The Final Solution

Our Father has already provided the eternal solution to the problems of every human being. He sent His only begotten Son. Jesus, to be the sacrifice for sin, once and for all time.  In God’s eyes, the problem of sin is solved, there is only the waiting for each human to be told about it and encouraged to accept it and begin to live in the relationship He desires for everyone.

One of the most recognized Scriptures in the New testament is this: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 KJV).

How wonderful it would be if everyone would hear, receive and accept this marvelous salvation offered freely by our Father.  All the problems of the world would simply cease to exist and the world would be a utopia.  But, we all know that we are not living in a utopia.  In fact, the world appears to be getting worse on a daily basis.

We are witnessing rebellion and increasing apostasy on a never-before-seen scale.  Our job as the Church is to continue to pray and ask God in His mercy to save as many as will look to Him for their eternal salvation. As a loving and merciful Father, He will wrap His arms around all who seek Him and will not turn anyone away.