God’s Plan for the Nations (Part 3)

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TEXT: Psalm 2

1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,

3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

7 I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Today, we are going to continue looking at the biblical foundational material regarding God’s plan for the nations — the people of Earth spoken of in the Bible as Gentiles. Just as God is working out His plan for the nation of Israel in the end times, He is also working out His plan for the Gentile people of earth. We are looking at Scripture to see the roots of the constant distress among the nations and what exactly God plans to do with the nations in the end times.

1. During our first message in this series, we asked the question, why is the world the way it is? The psalmist asks, “Why do the heathen rage? Why do the people imagine a vain thing?” The answer to that question is simply because the nations have rebelled against God. They have turned their backs on God’s goodness, His mercy, His grace, His law, and His justice. That is why we have war, poverty, disease, crime, violence, death, and despair in our world. That is why it seems as though people cannot get along with each other — because the nations have rebelled against God. Like the Israelites in the book of Judges, every man is doing what is right in his own eyes.

2. Secondly, we asked what will man do about his condition? Man knows he has a problem. What is his solution? Verses 2 and 3 say, “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.“ Sadly, man’s solution is not to humble himself and repent before God. Like our forefathers at Babel, man’s solution is to band together and stand in opposition to God. Not only have they turned their backs on God, but they willingly oppose God. Rebellious man will not repent and turn to God for the solution to his problems.

3. Finally, today, we want to ask: what will God do regarding the rebellious nations? Scripture informs 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.” When I think of God laughing at those nations who dare to rise against Him, I am reminded of Jonathan Edwards’ illustration in his famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” He compared us to spiders being dangled over the pit of hell held up by nothing but a thin string of silk.

Just as the Psalmist expresses his amazement that the nations would rage against God and the One whom God has anointed to rule, he also shows the futility of such action. God is unaffected by man’s latest display of rebellion. He merely laughs at it. We are like goldfish going up against a great white shark. We are inconsequential, except for the fact that God loves us and wants us to return to Him.

G. Campbell Morgan said, “This derisive laughter of God is the comfort of all those who love righteousness. It is the laughter of the might of holiness; it is the laughter of the strength of love. God does not exult over the sufferings of sinful men. However, He does hold in derision all the proud boastings and violence of such as seek to prevent His accomplishment of His will.”

Look at what God offers the wicked nations. Isaiah 57:19 says, “Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him.” God offers peace and the restoration of our relationship with Him. But Isaiah goes on to say, “the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”

In the last days, because the nations persist in their rebellion against God, they will never achieve the peace that they desire (and that the antichrist promises to bring). Instead, as the psalmist states, they will be brought under God’s “wrath” and his “sore displeasure.”

The seven-year period known as the great tribulation will take place after the rapture of the church and will be a time of God’s wrath poured out on a rebellious world. Speaking of that time, Revelation 6:15-17 says, “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”

Looking back at our passage, notice the word “vex.” God says He will vex the heathen nations. To vex means to cause dismay, terror, and anxiety. The Hebrew word translated here also carries with it the aspect of speed or haste. No longer will man be able to dismiss natural disasters as simply nature in action. No, God will actively unleash his fury on an unbelieving, rebellious, and defiant world.

In the end, God’s will will be accomplished despite the rebellion of the heathen nations. What we have talked about today is just an overview of God’s plan for the nations. The final verse of our passage for today tells us what will happen when God is finished dealing with the nations. It says, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” Despite all that the devil attempts to prevent the return and reign of Jesus Christ on earth, despite the raging of the rebellious nations against God, we are told in no uncertain terms that the Anointed One — the Messiah, Jesus Christ — will sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem, and all people will be subject to Him.

We can easily become discouraged by the state we see the world in today. However, we can be encouraged because we know that God has already set in motion the means of deliverance by which He will save all of His children, those who have accepted the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ — it’s called the Rapture. We can also be encouraged by realizing that God is in control; that the nations are under His hand of righteousness, mercy, and justice; and that, ultimately, it is God — not the devil and not sinful man — who will have the final say in what goes on in the world.

If you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you how you can trust Him for salvation so that you can be ready for His return.

First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve eternal punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell. That is the bad news.

But here is the good news. John 3:16 says “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.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and I want to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I want to trust Jesus as my Savior and follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

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