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Psalm 2 : 1 Why do the heathen rage, and the
people imagine a vain thing?
I should like to call your attention this evening to the message of the second Psalm. One of the two readings at the beginning of the service. The second Psalm which begins with these words: "Why do the heathen rage? And the people imagine a vain thing."
Now I can well believe that there are many in this congregation at this moment, who are wondering to themselves as to what this old Psalm, which was probably written nearly three thousand years ago, has to do with us living in 1979. The vast majority of the people of this country, as we are aware, certainly would take that view. They no longer attend places of worship, because they feel that it is utterly pointless to do so! That in our modern world with its teeming problems - its increasing crisis and it's dim and dismal outlooks - they feel that this old book has obviously got nothing to say to us - and cannot possibly be of any help or of aid to us. Well now, I want to deal with that position and I want to not only justify our gathering together in a building just such as this on a Wednesday evening, but I want to show you that not only is the message of this book, which we call The Bible, relevant to the modern man and to the modern problem - but I want to go further and I want to show that nothing else is relevant - that THIS is the only book which throws any light upon our problems and our predicament - and the only book that holds out any hope for any one of us in this modern world.
Now this Psalm is a very remarkable one - as I say, it was written very nearly three thousand years ago by David the king of Israel. He was writing primarily for his own age and his own generation - and he was concerned about the situation and about the whole condition of mankind in his time. And he describes it and he deals with it. But not only was he doing that - because he was a man of God, he was doing something further - he was describing ..... The Whole State and Condition of the Human Race! Ever since that early point in its long story, when it turned its back upon God and began to experience its terrifying problems. This Psalm not only describes what conditions were like in the time of David - it is an equally valid and good description of what times have been like on many a previous occasion - and what they were like on many a subsequent occasion.
I asked our friend to read that section out of the fourth chapter of the book of the Acts of the Apostles, because you will have noticed that there this Psalm was quoted. That passage was dealing with the early Christian church. She had only just come into being, but she was being persecuted.
Two of the leaders - the Apostles Peter and John, had been arrested - they had been arraigned before a court - they had been condemned - and they had been threatened that 'if they persisted in preaching about this Jesus of Nazareth and His message that they would be put to death.' Then they were let loose and they went back to their own company - the members of the church - and reported what had happened to them. We are told that the moment that the church heard that they lifted up their voice to God with one accord and they began to pray. They hadn't been praying for long before they began quoting this second Psalm - and what they said was this......... "What David said - What was said through the voice of Thy servant David - is equally true today - "The heathen are raging, the people are imagining a vain thing - The kings of the earth are setting themselves and the rulers take counsel together." They said................"It is against You and against Your Christ that they are doing the same thing now."
David was not only describing what was happening in his day, he was giving a valid and an accurate description of what was happening when the Lord Jesus Christ was in this world. The conditions in the first century and indeed this is a description, I say, of the state of mankind in many another age - and I want to show you that it is a particularly accurate description of the state of affairs obtaining in this country - and in the world at large at this present time. Now that is the remarkable thing about this book which is called The Bible. It is not only God's book, it's a book of history - it's a book which gives us the story of the human race - explains why it is as it is - and as I say, holds out the only hope of an adequate and a real solution.
Very well. Let us consider what it says. You will notice that the Psalmist starts with what is, in most of our Bibles, put as a question. Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? Well it is a question, but I think that it is MORE than a question. The Psalmist is expressing his horror, his astonishment, his amazement. He says, "Why are things as they are?" And surely this is the question that every thinking person must be asking tonight. Here we are in this last quarter of the twentieth century and our world is in terrible trouble. We are all aware of this - we have had two world wars already in this century - they are building and piling up these horrible armaments. Is there going to be another world war? What is it all going to lead to? We are aware of the industrial strife, the moral strife, the breakdown of law and order - now we are all aware! If you read a newspaper or listen to news bulletins, you cannot but be aware of the fact that the world is in terrible trouble and there are mounting problems. We therefore stand back and we ask, "What's the matter?" That is exactly what David said - that's what those people were saying when they were praying in the early church.
Now then - he not only asks the question, he goes further - he starts by giving us a description of the conditions prevailing then. And I am here to show you that it is the most perfect and most accurate description of the state of society tonight! What was the condition? Well here it is: Why do the heathen rage......... That's the term! "Why do they rage?" Now this term, if you like, can be translated as......... "Why do they make a tumult?" He says, "What's the matter with people?" "Society" ..... He says, "Is like a raging or a roaring sea." That is how affairs were then!
Now this is a very interesting thing in the history of the human race. Mankind is always restless. That is why the Bible in one of its favourite analogies compares the human race to the sea. And as you know, the great characteristic of the sea is that it is always "restless" - it is always "moving". Now I know that on some very fine summers day you look at the sea and you are almost persuaded that it is not moving at all - we say, "It is as calm as a Mill Pond." You cannot see any movement, but there IS movement there - the sea is never quiet - it is always on the move - ebb and flow - backwards and forwards - almost imperceptible at times, but nevertheless, there is always this characteristic of "movement" and of "restlessness".
Well now, according to the bible that is always true of the human race - at all times! And there are times - there have been epochs in the history of mankind when there has been such peace and quiet that some people thought that we really had arrived at Utopia. You will read in your secular history books about the Pax Romana. There was a long period of quiet and of rest and everything seemed to be perfect. The last century was referred to, and is still referred to, as the Pax Britannica. I know that there was an incident like the Crimean War, but roughly speaking there had been no major war after the Napoleonic Wars - and this country and our might and our power was able to preserve a kind of peace - and the result was that some people really believed that we had arrived in Nirvannah, and Tennyson and others sang about "The Parliament of Men" and "The Federation of the World" - the human race seemed to have grown up and we were going to solve all of our problems - there would be no more wars - no more troubles - no more crisis - it was to be "perfect peace and rest and calm".
There have been such times, but even then there was always the restlessness - there were troubles and problems a hundred years ago - there was vice - there was crime - you still had a need of a Police Force. Though apparently so quiet - like the sea in summer - there was always the "restlessness". Mankind can't find "rest". Man is always looking for "rest". But as Augustine said so many centuries ago - at the beginning of the Fifth Century, "Thou hath made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless, until they find their rest in Thee!" Now that is always permanently the condition of mankind.
BUT! And this is the point that is made in this Psalm - and this is the truth about tonight. While there are periods when life seems calm - there are other periods when it is like the raging of the sea. And that is how it was in the time of David! That's how it was at the time before the flood! That's how it was just before these children of Israel were carried to the captivity in Babylon! That's how it was in the first century! That's how it was after the first restoration of Charles the Second in 1660! That's how it was in the Regency Period at the end of the reign of George the Third! And that's how it is tonight!
We are looking tonight - not at a calm quiet, apparently immobile sea. We are looking at a storm! We are looking at a raging sea! A violent sea! We are looking at billows rising up and hurling themselves. We are looking up at a violent churning in the depths in the oceans. Well, the prophet Isaiah - he summed it up in a memorable phrase - he said: But the wicked [are] like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. (Isai 57:20)
I have said that there were sins and there were moral problems a hundred years ago, but it wasn't like tonight - that was a comparatively halcyon period. What are we confronted by? We are not only confronted by sin - we are confronted by "violent" sin - by "open" sin - by "boastful" sin. We are in an age in which men not only sin, but they are proud of it! And if you don't sin, you are regarded as a "back number" as a "square". We're not living in an age of people just drinking and getting drunk occasionally - we are in the age of "alcoholism" - of "violent drunkenness". We are in an age of violence on the streets so that it's no longer safe to walk home at night. We're in an age of "drug addiction". We're in an age of "robbery with violence" - "thuggery". I needn't waste your time, you're all aware of this. In other words you see, we're back again in one of these epochs described here by David in his Psalm - we're witnessing "raging sin". The sanctities are being spat upon - married life - home life breaking down - morality has vanished - every man (does) did that which is right in his own eyes and violence is facing us everywhere. Haven't you noticed the loudness of the so called music - and the shouting and the "raving". Well - isn't this a perfect description of our world tonight? Why do the heathen rage? What's the matter with the world? Isn't it about time we faced this question?
Well now that's the very question that the Psalmist is asking us at the face! He says here..........10 Be wise now therefore,......and..........be instructed, he says. This is the whole object of the message of the bible.......to make us think. You know, the people outside - the people who never go to a place of worship - they think that those of us who are Christians....they think that we are just a pack of un-intelligent people - that we never read and that we never think. They imagine that we just meet together in our buildings; pull down the blinds on the problems of life and just sing our hymns and our choruses and work ourselves up into some sort of emotional riot, and are not aware what is happening in the world outside I am here to remind you that the exact opposite is the truth! It is WE alone who are facing the facts - the newspapers and rest are trying to cover them I am here to expose them! The world is raving tonight! It is raging! It is violent! And the turbulent sea is casting up mire and dirt. All the filth of today. The filth on the television and the wireless. The filth in the newspapers. The filth on the hoardings. Mire and Dirt!
Well that is part of the description, but it isn't the whole of the description. He says, Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? Probably he was differentiating between pagans and Jews - it doesn't matter - taken as a whole it is a description of the world as it then was. The "raging" and the "people imagining a vain thing." Now what does that mean? Well somebody has translated it like this and I think that it is a better translation - instead of saying the people imagine a vain thing? The translator says, why are the people devising futile and empty schemes? That's what it means - imagining a vain thing. Or....devising futile and empty schemes. Isn't this bible a wonderful book? Do you know of a more perfect description of this world tonight than this? One the one hand you see, you have this raging violence of sin - at the same time exactly the leaders of society - the politicians; the educationalists; the philosophers and all the others - what are they doing? They are devising futile and empty schemes! They have been doing it for the last three weeks in the Annual Congresses and Conferences of the Political Parties. What have they been doing? They have been putting forward schemes to cure the problems of society. They are aware of the problems! And there they have spent their days in putting forward schemes. Each Party has got it's scheme and it differs from the other Parties. But the Bible says that they are altogether futile and empty and they lead to nothing. But this is the perfect description of our world tonight. One the one hand the violent sinning and the noise and the clatter and the confusion and the breakdown of everything that is sacred - and in the meantime, "mankind" in it's confidence putting forward it's schemes and it's proposals and it's ideas - and is confident that it can deal with it. But the verdict of the Bible upon it all is that it is "empty" and "futile" and "will lead to nothing"!
I want to establish this fact. It is about time that we faced the facts my friends. People don't go to churches any longer and listen to the Bible and preaching, because they think that it has got nothing to say. They are turning to these other things. Here are these pundits giving their pompous opinions on the television and the wireless - writing their articles to the Sunday Newspapers. But it is about time that we asked the questions - What of their schemes? What of their ideas? What are they leading to?
Let me ask a still wider question. What has civilisation led to? What has the world and it's wisdom produced by tonight? I suggest to you THIS is the only answer! All the schemes have proved to be empty and futile - complete failures. Now you needn't take MY word for this, I can demonstrate it to you. You will remember - some of you - the First World War. I remember it well. You see, before that war our leaders were very confidant that we would never have another war. They said, "War is due to ignorance, but now we are educated." "War" - they said - "is due to the fact that people don't travel and they don't know one another, so they fight. But now we are able to travel, we've got the steam engine and we can travel and we can mix - and we are going to banish war." And they really believed that - as I have already quoted Tennyson to you. He talked about the parliament of man, the federation of the world - that we were entering the century when men were going to turn their swords into ploughshares. BUT..........suddenly a world war broke out and they were shaken. "But it is alright" they said "this is the war to end war," and then they concocted the scheme of the League of Nations. This was going to banish war! It was going to "outlaw war" - make war impossible. And do you know - I remember the time very well - they really believed it! Unfortunately many preachers believed it - and there were many preachers who preached the League of Nations instead of the Gospel for a number of years. Poor blinded men! What did the League of Nations lead to? Well we had another war in 1939. But still you know they bring forward their schemes. The United Nations they call it now! It's the same thing and they still put their trust and their faith in it.
So they have trusted to "politics" they have trusted to "education". You see I remember the arguments very well - there are some advantages in being old you know - and one of them is this - that one can remember the confidence in liberalism (with a small L) before and after the First World War. I used to get this argument - and I often used to argue with people. There was a problem with juvenile delinquency and robbery and things of that kind. And this was the argument. They said, "This is due entirely to the conditions in which these people are brought up." They said, "What can you expect from a poor boy who is brought up in a slum - never had enough food - never had adequate clothing - and whose housing was deplorable?" They said, "While you have got poverty and these conditions, you are bound to get delinquency and crime." Well now there is a terrible crime problem today - what are they saying now? Well........what I read now is this. "All this crime is due to the fact that the young people have got too much money in their pockets and they don't know what to do with it - it is burning in their pockets so they must be doing something." You see! The exact opposite of what they said before. But still, they are producing their schemes and their ideas. Education was going to solve the problem. Science likewise. Philosophy - these were the things that were going to introduce paradise. Men and women turned their backs on the churches and the chapels and they followed the political and the philosophical and the sociological and the educational leaders - and they really believed that were going to solve the problems. They put forward their "schemes"
But what of their "schemes"? According to this man, the schemes in his age - were empty and futile and vain. And I am here to say the same tonight and you cannot dispute it. All the schemes and the plans are breaking down before our very eyes. We are in terrible trouble! Morally; Politically; Industrially; Economically; Socially and in every other respect. The schemes of men are vain and futile and empty - and of course every really deep thinking man, throughout the centuries, has always come to this conclusion - and has always recognised this, whether Christian or not. You see Shakespeare - Shakespeare was not a Christian in my opinion, but he was a very able and profound thinker and observer of humanity - and he came to this conclusion. He saw what was happening and he came to this conclusion about life. He said, "Life is a tale told by an idiot. Full of sound and fury - signifying NOTHING!" That was Shakespeare's conclusion. But take another man - take the great historian Edward Gibbon who wrote about two hundred years ago. He wrote a famous book called, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire". Gibbon wasn't a Christian, but he was a very able historian and he took a wide view and sweep of the history of the human race. He was an expert, particularly, on the Roman Empire. Do you know what he said history was? This is Gibbon's - not mine - not a Christians - this is Gibbon's verdict on the history of mankind, the history of civilisation! He said, "History is little more than the register of the crimes; follies; and misfortunes of mankind." That's it! It is a register of the crimes - follies - and misfortunes of mankind! Isn't it true? Come along, let's face the facts! One of the greatest thinkers in Russia in the last century - and they produced some mighty thinkers - was a man called Alexander Ivanovich Herzen. Do you know what he said about history? This is his description of history. He said, "History is the autobiography of a madman." That's history! It's the autobiography of a madman! He said, "The world is mad!"
But come along. Let's come right up to date. I read not so long ago a description of history and of the story of mankind and civilisation by a modern writer, who again is actually opposed to Christianity. Do you know how he described it? He said, "That the state of the world today is nothing but organised insanity." ORGANISED INSANITY! Oh yes, it's very highly organised. But it's insanity! Isn't it insanity to be building these bombs instead of building hospitals? Isn't it insanity to be fighting one another and seeing the country go down instead of working together? It is insanity - but it is highly organised, isn't it? And that is the man's description - "It is organised insanity."
But let me give you a final quotation - and I turn to this very deliberately. I am going to quote from a man called Marquesa. Some of you may remember that about ten years ago and a little over there was a student revolt in America, in Germany and in France. It looked as if we were going to have a revolution. The man who was really behind this was this man Herbert Marquesa - he was the man to whom the students turned - they had long since turned their backs, of course, upon Christianity, that was foolish - that was folklore - that was something out of date to be laughed at - they turned to this man Marquesa. They read his books and they followed his readings - and that attempted revolution by the students was based on the writings of Marquesa. But you know, this is what he wrote. He said, "What precisely has gone wrong with Western Civilisation? That at the very height of it's 'technological progress', we see the negation of 'human progress' - de-humanisation - brutalisation - revival of torture as a normal means of interrogation - the destructive development of nuclear energy - the poisoning of the biosphere and so on." And he ends with the question, "HOW HAS IT HAPPENED?" What is the matter? Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? Marquesa was anti Christian and yet he looks at modern civilisation and he says, "What's gone wrong?" Here is Western civilisation at the height it's technological progress - but it's the reverse - the negation of human progress. We've become de humanised - we are un civilised - there is all this torture - there is this poisoning of the biosphere! What has gone wrong? How has this happened?
Well now then my friends - there you are you see - the modern world is back in the condition that prevailed nearly three thousand years ago! David asks this question : Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? Marquesa asks, "What has happened - what's gone wrong?" That's the world in which you are living! Now then! That is a fact which is incontrovertible - that's the description of the state of affairs.
But wait a minute! We come now to the next and very important question. "Why is this?" I've only been describing it - and I have read to you these quotations from these great men who describe it and simply ask......... "Why is it?..........and they can't answer the question. They have no answer. I defy you to produce an answer from any one of them! Make notes the next time you listen to the 'clever men' on the television in their discussions - and you will never find an answer. They are good at raising problems and analysing the condition, but they can't tell us why it's happened. Here is the problem. Why is it in 1979 (As true today as it was in 1979) with all the advantages we have had of education and everything else - why is the world in this critical condition at this hour? AND THERE IS ONLY ONE ANSWER! It is the answer given in this book. These poor men and women who put forward their futile and empty schemes have never really faced the question as to what is the cause of the problem - and there is only ONE answer! The answer that is given in this Psalm.........it is man's rebellion against GOD! There's no other answer! Nothing else explains it......... "Man's rebellion against GOD!" And you will notice that the Psalmist tells us that this is true of all kinds.......2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together - it's not only Tom. Dick and Harry in the docks in Cardiff (United Kingdom, but applies to all places and countries.) who are living this terrible life - the kings and the princes and the philosophers, the scientists, the 'great' men - they are in it - the kings and the rulers - they are all in the same predicament. The problem of alcoholism is not confined to the 'working' man, it started amongst the aristocracy. Divorce didn't start with the 'common' people - it's the aristocrats who started it - the kings, the princes, the rulers - all are involved in the same trouble and in the same predicament. But why is it? And the answer is as I have said......."It is man's rebellion against God!" 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed - and you see it is something deliberate. We are not merely facing a 'slackness' in mankind. There was a time - two hundred years ago, and more, and even in the last century up to a measure, when men committed sins and didn't live a good life, but it was mainly negative and a matter of slackness. It is no longer that! Listen.............they set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together - it is deliberate! We are living in an 'Anti God' age. In an age when men and women have a set purpose - and with pride are turning against God and defying Him and setting themselves deliberately to disobey Him!
Now then the question is..."Why do they do this?" The Psalmist tells us, they......... 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. What does this mean? Well it means this - that mankind in it's folly turns against God and rebels against Him. Because they believe that God is against them! Their view of God is of some tyrant sitting in the heavens keeping us all down - binding us up with bands and bonds and cords. "Ah!" They say. "Your Ten Commandments and your Sermon on the Mount - that's your Christianity - it is always telling you not to do things - it's always tying you down - standing between you and liberty and freedom - standing between you and what you enjoy and what you like to do - and what you have a right to do - it's tying you up with bands and bonds and cords - that's your religion." Says the modern man. "And I don't want it!" That's the attitude towards God. They believe that God is against them - and that His holy laws are inimical to our best interests - and to our great advantage.
But this is the whole trouble with the situation and I can prove it to you quite simply. Look at this attitude towards morality - towards law - towards the Ten Commandments in particular. People feel that they are against us, and yet when you come to examine the position you find that God gave these laws - not to hold us down - not to bind us and to bend us, but for our good and for our benefit. Have you ever thought of this? Take the much maligned and criticized Ten Commandments. God tells us to worship Him - not to bow down to images. What's wrong with that? God tells us not to worship idols - not to worship graven images. Is that a scandal? Is that a legalism binding us? Is it wrong to tell a man not to worship a motor car? Is it wrong to tell a man not to worship a footballer or a pop star? Is it wrong to tell a man not to worship his money? That's what the Ten Commandments tells you! But wait a minute.....come on to the practical details.
Exod 20:13 Thou shalt not kill. Is that a restraint? Is that a grievous band and bond? Tying you down and standing between you and a glorious life? Is it wrong to ask you not to kill?
Exod 20:15 Thou shalt not steal. Is that some reprehensible prohibition? Telling you just not to steal? Do you want to have liberty to steal?
Exod 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery. What's wrong with that? Why do people hate God for saying: Thou shalt not commit adultery?
Exod 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. You mustn't malign your neighbours character or say untruths about him.
Exod 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbour's.
Tell me in the name of God - what's wrong with these ten Commandments?
Is it a band and a bond to be told not to do these things? My dear friends
had you ever realised this - if only everybody in the world today kept
the Ten Commandments there would be - no more drunkenness - no more alcoholism
- no more drug addiction - no more war - no more theft - no more robbery
- the world would be paradise! And yet people say that these are bands
- "Lets break their bands, lets tear their bonds asunder, God's against
us", They say! But God gave you the Ten Commandments in order to make life
possible - and to make it decent - and to make it good - and the whole
tragedy of the world tonight is that it doesn't keep the Ten Commandments
and the Sermon on the Mount. Here is mankind in it's enmity against God!
That's what it is - regarding God as an enemy! The Apostle Paul says: Roma
8:7 (KJV) Because the carnal (The Natural) mind [is] enmity against God:
for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. The world
has been trying to get rid of God for a century and laughing at Him and
ridiculing Him. And they do it with confidence! "Let us"........"Let us
set ourselves." They say! 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast
away their cords from us. The fatal confidence of mankind! That it can
get rid of God and all His holy laws and commandments. It is madness! As
one of the men I have already quoted put it, "It is organised insanity."........"The
history of mankind in it's rebellion against God is the autobiography of
But let me turn to that and demonstrate that to you. Let me how you the utter terrible folly of this rebellion against God. And this idea that we can live a happy and a good and a full life without God - and in defiance of His teaching - it is sheer madness. It is lunacy. What is it based upon? It is based says the Psalmist upon an ignorance of God. This is the central cause of all our troubles tonight - that we don't know the truth about God. You know our Lord Jesus Christ just before His death - offered up a prayer to His father. It is recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John's Gospel and we call it The High Priestly Prayer - and at the end of that prayer He said this: O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these - pointing to the disciples - have known that thou hast sent me. Now there He is just before He died on the cross - He said, "The trouble with the world is Father that it doesn't know Thee - the world hath not known thee - and do you know I could prove to you tonight in detail that everyone of our problems is due to the fact that we don't know God. That's why there's no law and order - that is why there is this chaos in every realm and department of life. Every man is out for himself - every man (does) did that which is right in his own eyes. People say, "I want this, I am going to have it - why shouldn't I?" There is no respect for law because there is no belief in the Supreme Law Giver! But David says, "GOD IS." This is how he puts it: 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers - and all the people - 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. What's the answer? Psal 2:4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. That's the one you are defying! He that sitteth in the heavens! This isn't man's world! It's God's world! And God is there! GOD IS! The everlasting Jehovah! Sitting in the heavens above the flux of time. And He looks down upon us in our cleverness and in our arrogance - trying to get rid of Him and trying to make a perfect world. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: The Lord looks down upon us with unutterable derision. God is God! The everlasting God - Great Jehovah - I AM - Immortal Invisible God only Wise. As our hymn puts it, "Wide as the world is Thy command." It is vast - it is eternal. My dear friends we are not dealing with men. The world is as it is because it is defying the Everlasting Inimitable Eternal God! And this is amazing - that mankind can be so mad and so foolish as not to believe in Him!
I will show you the ultimate madness of the present race of men. The average man today doesn't believe in God the Creator any longer. They have long since ceased to believe in that. The Bible starts by saying, Gene 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. - and the sea and so on. The modern man is too clever to believe in God the Creator. But do you know what he does believe in? He believes in a chemical compound called the DNA molecule. He believes in that! You go and ask the modern atheist - the man who doesn't believe in God, and who doesn't believe that God created the world - go and ask him how's this world come into being? This what he will tell you. He will tell you, "That there was some original undifferentiated protoplasm." Well you will say, "How has man come out of that. How have all the animals come out of that. Where has poetry come from - Where has love come from - Where has music come from - how has that differentiated matter developed into man with all his greatness and his intellect?" Do know what they will tell you? They will say that, "In the nucleus of every cell there is this chemical molecule called DNA - and this has produced everything - this has determined everything - this guides everything." Now the DNA molecule hasn't got a mind - hasn't got reason - hasn't got understanding - it hasn't got a will. And yet the modern man who doesn't believe in God the Creator, the Almighty Creator - is prepared to believe in the DNA molecule. If that isn't madness, what is? The world is mad, my friends! That learned men should be capable of believing in the determining power of a chemical compound - and yet rejecting the Everlasting and Eternal God. But God is God - He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: He is the Creator of the ends of the earth - He is One who can issue His decrees as David tells us here - and He has Almighty Power. He does laugh - He can have them in derision. Psal 2:7 I will declare the decree:............. and..... 8 Ask of me, and I shall give [thee] the heathen..... God is the God of providence - read your Old Testament and see the hand of God, guiding the world and all it's peoples - picking out a people called The Jews - delivering them when in trouble - giving them conquest of their mighty enemies - the God who sent the flood to destroy that arrogant generation - the God who smashed the tower of Babel when men thought they would build a tower to heaven, as they are still thinking - the God who has intervened and sent His Own peoples to captivity in Babylon - the God who destroyed the City of Jerusalem through the Roman power, to punish His Own people - the GOD who is at the back of everything! He is still there - and his power is illimitable.
And if you want a final proof of His power - David gives is to us in the sixth verse of this psalm: 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. What is THAT a reference to? That is a reference to the resurrection. The clever world - the kings and the princes and the rulers conspired against Jesus of Nazareth - they said, "This fellow who says He is the Son of God - let's get rid of Him." And they joined together - they took counsel together - and they said, "Let's break their bands asunder and cast away their cords from us." So they took Him and they condemned Him and they nailed Him to a tree. They killed Him. They took down His body. They buried it in a grave. They rolled a stone over it and sealed it. They put soldiers to guard it. They said, "That's the end of Him, we've finished Him!" But the morning of the third day - God raised Him from the dead - 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. The resurrection is the final proof of the illimitable power of God. This is the God that the world is defying! But not only His power, but His WRATH - God's wrath is upon sin. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. As certain as we are here tonight - we are under the judgement of God!
But my dear friends I can't leave you at THAT! If that was all that the Psalmist had to say it wouldn't be worth listening to. If that is all I have got to say, then you have been wasting your time. Let us go on. Here is the final word of the Psalmist. He has described the condition. He has explained to us why it obtains. He has shown us its utter folly. It's madness. And then he goes on to show what a terrible tragedy it is - and this is the real trouble with mankind. For God is not only a God of judgement and a God of wrath - He is a Holy God. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. He hates sin! And His wrath is upon sin! But it isn't only that - they are rising up against, not only the Lord, but against His anointed. Against His SON! The one to whom He said, Thou [art] my Son; this day have I begotten thee. And this is the amazing thing! And that is why I am here tonight my friends - I am becoming an old man - it is fifty two years since I first preached in Cardiff, (Wales in the United Kingdom) Why haven't I retired? I have been ill - why am I not sitting in the corner at home? Why have I come here again? I have come here for this one reason - that the tragedy of mankind worries me - that men and women don't know what they are doing. They are not only defying the Everlasting God - they are rejecting the love of God! The Lord's anointed. For this is our message - John 3:16 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. This is the tragedy. That's the tragedy that the men in their prayer in the early church were referring to. That the world rejected Jesus of Nazareth - Son of God! Why did He ever come into the world? He tells us Himself - Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. He said: Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. And this is the essence of the madness and the tragedy of the world - that God is offering mankind, 'free pardon' 'free forgiveness'. He has laid your sins upon His Son. The death of Christ upon the cross of Calvary, was not the death of a pacifist! It's the death of...............the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29. God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all and whatever your sins may have been - however black your life may have been, though you have entered the very jaws of hell - if you but acknowledge it and realise it and ask God for mercy and pardon and forgiveness - He will tell you that He has already given it to you - that He sent His Son into the world to bear your sins in His own body on the tree - that He smote Him instead of you - that He will pardon you - He will forgive you - He will receive you to Himself - He will make you a son - He will adopt you into His family - and He will begin to shower His blessings upon you. THAT'S what this man is saying!
And so he makes his final appeal. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. This is our business, I am here to ask you to be wise my friends. To be instructed. I am not here to entertain you. I am not here to dance before you or to sing to you - there is too much singing today! We need thinking! We need reasoning! We need to be instructed! We need to be wise! Here is the only message that is asking you to face the facts tonight! There is no other - and these ARE the facts that I have stated before you. And so he urges us to be wise and to be instructed.
And then he tells us the most interesting thing in the last verse. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish [from] the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Now this to me is a most tremendous thing. Kiss the Son, he says, when his wrath is kindled but a little. That's my view of the world tonight. The world tonight is as it is because the wrath of God is kindled but a little. In our cleverness we have been saying as mankind for a hundred years, "We don't need God. We can make a perfect world without Him. With our education and culture and science and politics we can make a perfect world! We've been telling God this - we don't want Him! We have turned out backs upon Him - we are breaking asunder His bands and His bonds. And do you know what's happening? I can tell you! Why have you had the two world wars? Why is there turmoil and raging tonight? Why the breakdown of all our institutions? Here is the answer! God in His wrath is turning to us and saying, "You have said that you can get on without Me - GET ON WITHOUT ME!" He is allowing us to get on without Him. He is withdrawing the restraining influence of His blessed Spirit. He is allowing us to reap the consequences of our own actions, but THIS is only a little - this is the wrath of God kindled but a little. There is worse to come! Christ said that evil men shall wax worse and worse. Christ never promised a perfect world developing as the result of His teaching. He said: Matt 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: If the philosophers and the poets have said that there is going to be an end to war - Christ says that there is going to be trouble and turmoil - it's going to get worse and worse. There will be a great tribulation! UNTIL HE COMES AND GIVES THE ONLY FINAL ANSWER! We are experiencing the wrath but a little!
What of the future? Have you got economic security? Have you got financial security? What's going to happen to this country? What's going to happen to Western Civilisation? What if they let off these bombs? These are the dread possibilities. Is there to be a world famine? Is there to be a world war? Be wise! Consider these things! These are but manifestations of the WRATH OF GOD BUT A LITTLE. But a day is coming when this blessed Son of God - this Christ - this Messiah - the Anointed of God - is going to come again into the world - riding the clouds of heaven - surrounded by the holy angels. He is coming to Judge the world in Righteousness! And every eye shall see Him! And according to John in his vision on Patmos - the kings and the rulers will run and hide themselves under the rocks and under the hills, saying: Reve 6:16 .................Fall on us and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: Then the wrath will be poured out upon a rebellious humanity - upon kings, princes and people - who have rebelled against God and cast asunder His holy laws in their arrogance and in their folly. But above all upon those who have refused the gracious offer of God's free pardon and forgiveness by simply acknowledging the sin and believing on The Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed are all they that put their trust in HIM!
My dear friend! Have you been wise? Have you been wise and considered these things? How are you going to live for the rest of your life? You don't know how it's going to be! How are you going to live it? How are you going to die? How are you going to face God? How do you face the unknown future? BE WISE! BE INSTRUCTED! Do what the Psalmist says, 12 Kiss the Son, Do you see the picture? You have read, haven't you, that when a new Government comes in the various Ministers have to go to Buckingham Palace - there they are given the Seals of Office by the queen. Do you know what they then do? They kneel before her and they kiss her hand. It is called, 'The Kissing of Hands'. They kiss her hands. That is the sign of subjection and she gives them the authority. That's exactly what David is telling us to do with God. 12 Kiss the Son, Kneel and bow before Him - kiss His proffered hand - give yourself to Him - 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. - and you will be blessed, not only while you are left in this world, you will die a glorious death and you will go on to share the glories of eternity with Father, Son and Holy Spirit - with the spirits of just men made perfect - and all the holy angels.
Very well that's the message. It's all here, isn't it? In words written
nearly three thousand years ago. Are you wise? Have you received the instructions?
I leave it with you - as you value your eternal destiny and your immortal
soul - listen to the appeal of David! BE WISE! Kiss the Son - yield yourself
and your life - your future, your everything to the Lord Jesus Christ -
Hebr 13:5 for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
That's His word and He has never broken it. Be Wise! Trust Him - follow
Him - give yourself unreservedly to Him and you will be more than conquerors
over everything that can ever come to meet you.
Copyright © 1996 Lady Elizabeth Catherwood & Mrs Ann Desmond
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