December 18, 2017
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ASK ME for the NATIONS

Ask of Me, and I will make the nations Your inheritance, the ends of the earth Your possession. - Psalm 2:8

The world is a mess. There is political, economic and religious conflict at home and abroad. It seems like the chasm between sides is ever increasing. Many have lost hope for reconciliation.

This most recent election cycle has been polarizing, and the hostility has enflamed opinions into arguments, and arguments into protests, riots and revolts. America is in danger of becoming a house divided against itself which cannot stand.

What must we do?

I saw a man on the news that chose to “fight for the truth.” He waded into a group of protesters with a bullhorn. His counter-protest strategy was to shout his opinion into the uproar more loudly and convincingly. Even though he invoked the good name of Jesus, his fight for the truth was ineffective. Soon the arguments were punctuated with physical blows, as if that would encourage mind renewal. Of course, it did no such thing.

Another option is to “go defensive” against the onslaught of the enemy. The goal of this strategy is to keep your opinion and rights while you magnanimously allow your enemy to hold onto his. Proponents try to protect and guard themselves by building walls of fear and selfishness. Our president is leading this charge.

Finally, there is the option of “withdrawal.” Some famous people promoted this idea when they promised to move to a neutral territory, such as Canada, if the vote went against them. Such isolationists attempt to escape the conflict in practical or idealistic ways. Since there are fewer options for relocation, some will withdraw through chemistry (drugs) or distractions.

What should a Christian do in these desperate times? What would Jesus do?

This is the ideal time to ask God for the nations!

Current Condition

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. “Let us break Their chains,” they say, “and throw off Their fetters.” - Psalm 2:1-3

The nations are in their current condition because they reject God and rebel against His authority. They have cast off moral restraint and operate on fear and greed. This operating system is completely self-referential. It is the fuel of wars and factions. No wonder it leads to abuse, disparity, starvation, famine, hopelessness, and death.

This world cries out to be free from the “chains and fetters” of the LORD and His Anointed One, but in their rebellion every inclination of the thoughts of their heart is only evil all the time. In their pride they sing: “I did it my way!”

We may be tempted not to ask for nations such as these! Instead we can intercede: “God do You see what is going on?!? Do something!”

God’s Response

The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then He rebukes them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath, saying, “I have installed My King on Zion, My holy hill.” - Psalm 2:4-6

First, God laughs at them. It is all about perspective. In the midst of the conflict it seems that the terrorists, despots, power mongers, and deluded people should cause fear. But the view from heaven must be rather comical. The One with all power is not afraid of the tiny rebels, no matter how proud they are.

Then He rebukes them. “Shock and awe” is a phrase that describes a military display of force intended to intimidate an enemy; to take the fight out of them. God’s display of power is the coronation of His King on the holy hill: Zion.

The shock comes from the fact of the “holy hill.” This King, the Anointed One, is installed from heaven on Zion. This is a reference to Jerusalem, the political center of the Israelites. It is the temple mount, the religious center of the Israelites. It is Mount Moriah where Abraham was instructed to sacrifice his son, Isaac. It was the place of triumphal entry for King David, and fourteen generations later the location for Jesus’ triumphal entry. It was the place of the skull (Golgotha), where God sacrificed His Son.

The awe comes from this act of obedience. Jesus, knowing what was to come, joined in the purpose of the LORD to make a way of salvation for these undeserving nations. The mood and attitudes at the time of Christ may have been even more evil than we experience today.

The Decree

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. - Psalms 2:7-8

This decree is a statement of everlasting fact. It is as true today as it was when written by the Psalmist, or when God quoted it at the time of Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:17), or on the mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:5), and it will always be true. This relationship has been established and cannot be broken.

Where it says “today I have begotten You” it does not mean today I gave birth to you. Begotten is to recognize or confirm the relationship rather than initiate it. In a sense it is like celebrating a birthday.

So we could paraphrase the verses by saying: “Happy birthday, Son. I’m so proud of You, and I love You so much. What can I give You? Would you like to have all the nations, even to the ends of the earth?”

Now imagine Jesus giving this reply: “Well, Father, ever since creation We’ve wanted people to love, and to be loved by them. I know they turned out terribly ornery, yet We can’t help but love them, right? Let’s rehab them.”

Then I imagine the Father would answer: “You’ve got it, Son. Good choice!”

You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." - Psalms 2:9

Now we are back to the “shock and awe” concept. Jesus is the King and is able to rule them with an iron fist. Any wrong doing and rebellion will be smashed. No one can stand against His authority. No power can thwart His plan. This is the “shock” component.

The “awe” comes from the realization that this Anointed One became King on the holy hill by being obedient to death. He already demonstrated how much He loved these ornery people. He loved them to death.

This combination of love and fear will wring the truth out of each heart. The nations, each person, must come face to face with the truth about Jesus, and then decide how to respond. If their heart has only hatred, fear and greed they will demand that Jesus release them. But if their heart has love they will be granted complete forgiveness for their rebellion and become the great birthday gift they were designed to be.

That is what Jesus would do. What about us?

Our Orders

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." - Matthew 28:19-20

What are you tempted toward in this crazy, conflict-ridden world: Fight, Defend, or Escape? A Christ follower is under different orders.

Jesus asked for the nations, and He is the Anointed One. If you have love in your heart then you have accepted His love and are able to reflect it back. He has begotten you, and calls you a son (or daughter).

Imagine Him saying to you: “Happy birthday, son (or daughter). I’m so proud of you, and I love you so much. What can I give you? Would you like to have all the nations as a heritage? Do you want in on what Me and the Father are up to?”

Ask of Me

Go ahead and ask for the nations as a heritage, even to the ends of the earth as a possession!

We can’t fight the rebels - we are called to love. We can’t isolate behind barriers or walls to defend ourselves - we are called to love. We can’t escape from the fray, we must participate - we are called to love.

Pray with me for the nations. Ask for our nation, even though it is divided against itself and cannot stand. Ask for our neighboring nations. Ask for the nations that claim to be sworn enemies. Make disciples as fast as you can. Show them God’s love.

Jesus asked for the nations. Let’s agree and participate in their deliverance.

 
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