Psalm 46:6-7 - The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; He utters His voice, the earth melts. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
"The nations rage." An earlier psalm asks, "Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot in vain?" (Psalm 2:1). In this fallen world, the nations have always raged, within themselves, against one another, and against God, who "made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26a).
God set the people of Israel free from the enslaving grip of one nation, Egypt, and drove out other nations to settle His people in the Promised Land. When Israel fell into idolatry, God summoned enemy nations to rise up against His chosen people, to subdue and oppress them and bring them to repentance. God sheltered and preserved His people through the centuries, and from among them came the offspring of Abraham, the promised Messiah, a blessing for all nations.
Yet still the nations rage, and when the promised Messiah came, the nations rose up against Him. In a prayer for courage in witness, the apostles said that "Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel," joined forces against Jesus, to do what God's plan "had predestined to take place" (Acts 4:27b, 28b). It was God's plan that Jesus would die for the sins of the world and be raised up from death. According to the command of the risen Lord, repentance and forgiveness are to be proclaimed in His Name to all nations.
Sadly, but not surprisingly, the nations still rage against the Messiah and against His body, the church. Jesus told His followers that they would be hated and persecuted, imprisoned, and brought before kings and governors for the sake of His Name. The message of Christ crucified is considered foolish by the world, and we who follow the Savior may well be mocked and ridiculed or dismissed as ignorant and judgmental. Yet we proclaim the good news of forgiveness and life in Jesus Christ, the One in whom all nations are blessed. And while the nations still rage, they rage in vain, because "the LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."
The LORD of hosts, the Lord of heaven's angelic armies, goes before us. The Word of the Gospel accomplishes its purpose, and the day is coming when people called by the Holy Spirit out of every nation will cease their raging and shout their praises before the throne of Him who redeemed them: "After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" (Revelation 7:9-10)
THE PRAYER: Lord of hosts, strengthen and encourage all those who suffer persecution for the sake of Jesus' Name. Shield us, too, with your mighty power and make us bold witnesses, as we carry the good news of salvation to all nations. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. Do relations among nations seem to be getting any better as time goes by? Why do think that is?
2. How does God show Himself as your fortress in times of anguish and trouble?
3. How do you respond when you're dismissed or ridiculed (even mildly) for your Christian faith?
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