Monday, December 31, 2012

Devotional Thoughts for the New Year: Don't Forget God Laughs

Reading: Psalm 2
As we step in to 2013, there are some things we are going to need to remember—some things we must not forget. One thing we are going to need to remember in 2013 is that God laughs. As our culture becomes increasingly hostile toward God and Christianity, our worldview is going to be tested. Our belief system is going to be tested. Are we going to become increasingly afraid? Does the church retract into a hole becoming the voice of doom?
Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? 2The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. 3"Let us break their chains," they say, "and throw off their fetters." (Psalm 2:1-3)
Psalm begins by describing the world in its hostility toward God. This hostility is not an innovation of the 21st century. It began in the garden of Eden. We see it expressed in the conflict between Cain and Abel. It reaches its zenith in the rejection and crucifixion of the Messianic King, God's Son, on the cross. It is nothing new.
How are we to respond? What are we to think when it seems that wickedness increases and godly efforts to stop it fail. What are we to do when the media undergirds and supports those who oppose truth and righteousness? When, “Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit.” (Psalm 5:9) We must remember the next verse in Psalm 2. We must remember that God laughs.
The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. (Psalm 2:4)
Why does God laugh? Is it because He has a great sense of humor? No (though I am sure He does). It is because the greatest efforts of the powerful in this world to rid the world of God do not worry Him in the least. In fact, they are humorous to consider. We get a glimpse into what seems so funny to God in Acts 4:25-28,1 where this psalm is quoted.
You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.”
27Indeed 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. 28They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.
The greatest violence the world could do in its hostility toward God, in its effort to rid the world of God, was to kill God's Son. And so the king of the Jews (Herod) and the Roman government (Pontius Pilate) together with the will of the people crucified our glorious Lord. Yet, even in doing so, they were playing into the plan and purpose of God. That generation in all its wickedness could ultimately only do what God's power and will decided should happen. God was not in the least worried that His plans would be thwarted. In fact, all the clamoring efforts that seem so much like victory to Herod, Pilate and the people (or to the powerful of our own day), seemed humorous to God because He knew they were only accomplishing His will. In their effort to rid the world of God's restraints, they were restrained to doing His will.
This year, 2013, will bring plenty of opportunities to fear, as last year did. The economy of our nation looms over the fiscal cliff—whatever that is. As best I can tell it means our taxes are going up—everyone’s. Do I like that? Of course not. However, none of this is a surprise to God, and none of this will hinder God's plan to work everything out in conformity with the purpose of His will (Ephesians 1:11). The world will continue to be hostile to God and His people. This too is no surprise. In all of this we should not fear, because God laughs. His good and perfect plans are never thwarted.
Rooted in this confidence, we can then respond by praying for boldness to proclaim the truth into this hostile world. Then we are to boldly share the gospel, the glorious announcement Christ reigns. That God has installed His Son as King. This is what the apostles did in response to the hostility they faced (Acts 4:29-31). This is what we are to do.
Love the Gospel, Live the Gospel, Advance the Gospel,
1My friend Vance reminded me of this connection yesterday morning as we gathered to worship together at Gulf Coast Community Church.