God’s Plan for the Nations (Part 7)
TEXT: Psalm 2
Throughout this series, we have looked at two major aspects of God’s plan for the nations. The first aspect, which we covered in the first three messages, was an overview of what is wrong with the nations. We asked and answered the question of the Psalmist: Why do the heathen rage against God? From that question, we talked about the sinfulness of the nations, their rejection of God, and the reason the world is in the state that it is in today.
The second aspect of God’s plan for the nations, which we covered over the last three weeks, was God’s reaction to the nations that have rebelled against His authority. We learned that God will indeed judge the nations and that His Son, Jesus Christ, will sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem. Even though the devil will stir up the Gentile nations to oppose Christ’s return, he and his cohorts will be defeated and Jesus Christ will rule in the earth with all of the nations being subject to Him.
Today, we are going to begin answering the question: What should the nations do in this present day in light of what we have already learned? In light of what God has already stated will happen to rebellious nations, what should the people of earth concern themselves with right now?
The nations should repent and begin obeying God’s laws. The Psalmist says, “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” David is calling on the heathen nations surrounding Israel to voluntarily submit to the laws of God. He tells them that this is the “wise” thing to do. The nations are advised to abandon their foolish rebellion and begin serving the Lord.
This week, due to the outcome of the recent election, Americans experienced a shift in the political direction of the country. New senators, new representatives, and governors will be taking over from old ones in about two months’ time. These new leaders will attempt to correct what they consider is wrong in the country. They will attempt to implement new plans, new agendas, and new laws that they believe will help the country or their state or the people in the districts that they represent. Sadly, however, while I am sure that their ideas are noble and well-intentioned, many of these leaders will overlook the main thing that our nation and every nation needs to have in mind — and that is to repent and return to the laws of God.
Recently, Billy Graham said, “Even though America is just as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah ever were, and as deserving of the judgment of God, God would spare us if we were earnestly praying, with hearts that had been cleansed and washed by the blood of Christ. The problems of the world will never be settled unless our national leaders go to God in prayer. If only they would discover the power and wisdom that there is in reliance upon God, we could soon see the solution to the grave problems that face the world!”
Tony Evans said, “America is in trouble. From sea to shining sea we are witnessing the devolution of a nation. The United States is quickly becoming the divided states. Disunity and conflict abound. Family breakdown, the immigration crisis, the threat of terrorism, an abiding racial divide and political dysfunction all point to a deeper problem. Regardless of which side of the political aisle you sit on, it is clear: Things are unraveling at warp speed. Like never before, we must pray for our nation and her leaders.”
A few weeks ago, an admitted Satanist drove a car into the Ten Commandments monument on the property of the Oklahoma State Capitol, smashing it to pieces. Symbolically speaking, many in our nation have done the very same thing — trampled the Word of God and the laws of God underfoot. And it is not just the people — it is the government also. The governments of America and many other nations have sanctioned, promoted, and defended activities such as homosexuality, the killing of innocent babies, and the suppression of people who hold Biblical views. They have endorsed acts of rebellion against God, and because of it, as we have seen, judgment is coming. God will judge the nations.
But, right now, that judgment is still future, and David says that a wise ruler, a wise king, a wise judge (or president, or prime minister) will listen to instruction, will repent, and will begin serving the Lord and obeying His laws.
In light of that, I would like to say that if America is to avoid God’s judgment, President Obama must repent of his pride and arrogance, as shown this past week in his response to the election results which showed that voters had repudiated him and his policies. With a humble spirit and attitude before God and man, President Obama should also lead the nation in repenting of the following three things:
1. Either seeking to suppress and certainly not doing enough to stop people from suppressing the first amendment rights of Christians to live according to Biblical principles, to worship as they please, and to speak as they please. Within the past two years, we have seen Christian churches, schools, and business owners sued, fined, and denounced because they refuse to go along with providing contraception for their employees or they refuse to go along with the homosexual agenda. As you might recall, Hobby Lobby went to the Supreme Court to defend their right to refuse to offer contraception coverage in health care plans for employees due to religious objections. More recently, the lesbian mayor of Houston, TX, subpoenaed the sermons and other communications of pastors who opposed a city ordinance that would allow men who feel like they are women to use female bathrooms and women who feel like they are men to use male bathrooms. Situations like that are happening all across this country and President Obama should lead the nation in repenting of such behavior.
2. President Obama should lead the nation in repenting of the sin of abortion — the murder of innocent babies. According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Guttmacher Institute, there are approximately 1.21 million abortions in America each year. How can God bless a nation where innocent blood is shed so frequently? How can God bless a nation where so many people decide they have the right to kill an innocent baby that they had nothing to do with creating? President Obama ought to lead the nation in repenting of this atrocity.
3. President Obama should lead the nation in repenting of sanctioning and promoting homosexuality, the homosexual agenda, and homosexual marriage on the federal government level. God condemned homosexuality as an abomination in His Word, and He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of the homosexuality that went on in those cities. America is on the same path of destruction if she does not repent while she has a chance. Billy Graham related this story: He said, “Some years ago, my wife, Ruth, was reading the draft of a book I was writing. When she finished a section describing the terrible downward spiral of our nation’s moral standards and the idolatry of worshiping false gods such as technology and sex, she startled me by exclaiming, ‘If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.'”
If President Obama is wise, if our other governmental leaders are wise, if the leaders of countries around the world are wise, we will repent of our sins, and do as King David said — “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.”
There are two key words involved in this verse.
The first one is “serve”. According to the Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, the Hebrew word for “serve” combines two ideas — action and obedience. It means obedience in action. We need people in this country who will not just talk about obeying the Lord, but who will be about obeying the Lord.
The second key word is “fear.” This word involves “emotional foreboding or dread of impending misfortune.” David wants the heathen nations to use the previous decree of God’s coming judgment as an incentive that would spur them on to obedience. According to John Calvin’s Commentary on the Book of Psalms, by opening this verse with the adverb “now”, David “signifies the necessity of their speedy repentance, since they will not always be favoured with such an opportunity. Meanwhile, he tacitly leads them to understand that it was for their advantage that he warned them, as there was yet room for repentance, provided they made haste.” In other words, the fear of coming judgment should be a motivating factor in our repentance.
If you were to ask the man on the street, what is the solution to the world’s problems, you would get varying answers. Some would say we need equal distribution of wealth, others would say we need more education, still others would say we need less government or more government. However, the truth of the matter is that all of those suggestions are merely bandages; they will bind up the wound and stop the bleeding for a little while, but they will never heal the infection.
In 1863, while the nation was in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation for a national day of fasting. He said, “It is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions yet with [the] assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”
Psalm 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.”
The solution to the world’s problems is for the nations to repent of their rebellion against God, to turn back to God, and to begin obeying His law.