David Reagan — The Nations Raging
Have you ever looked around the world today and wondered if God is truly in control? Have you wondered if He really knows what is going on or even cares? And if you believe He cares, have you ever wondered when He is going to do something about all the violence, immorality, and injustice? The Bible answers all these questions in a short but powerful and reassuring poem that was written by a shepherd boy 3000 years ago. Stay tuned.
My topic for this evening is the King is Coming, and I want to get into this by taking a look at a very key verse that is in Psalm 46. It says, “God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam.”
The reason I wanted to quote that particular verse is because over the years, on both, while we’ve been on radio and television, we’ve received of course tens of thousands of email messages and letters from people all over this nation and around the world. And one of the things I’ve noticed in those letters is that we are living in a world that is literally gripped by fear. I see it in the letters that people write. They express those fears. Fear of diseases like AIDS and cancer. Fear of lawlessness and terrorism and war, fear of economic instability. And fear of the two great uncertainties that we all fear to some degree or another, and that is life and death.
People are afraid, and the fears are being intensified by the collapse of civilization before our very eyes. We’re in the midst of what I would call a decent into paganism. Men are calling evil good, and they’re calling good evil. As a nation we have reached the point where we have forgotten how to blush, as Jeremiah said of the nation he lived in. We live in a world where people’s faces are harder than rock and as a result of that they’re reflecting their stubbornness and their rebellion against Almighty God. Everywhere we look, there are people it seems in the streets, plotting to overthrow governments.
Anarchy seems to be running amuck all around the world, and people are increasingly growing afraid of terrorism and things of that nature. Increasingly, people are asking questions and they’re very probing questions. Questions like this. These are the kind of questions we receive in our letters. “What on earth is God doing? Does He know what’s going on? Does He care? Is evil going to triumph? Why doesn’t God do something? Why doesn’t He intervene and do something about the evil that seems to be taking over our world?”
Even Billy Graham in one of his sermons recently made this comment, “if God does not judge San Francisco soon He is going to have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” Well friends, I want to tell you something. In God’s gracious mercy, the Lord has given us the answer to every one of these questions. He gave us the answer 3,000 years ago in a poem, a poem that was written by a shepherd boy. The poem is short, it’s pointed, it’s powerful, and it’s full of hope. The poem is called Psalm 2.
If you have your Bibles with you this evening I wish you would take them out. And those of you who may be viewing this on television, if you have your Bibles handy get them out and turn to Psalm 2. I want you to see it in your own eyes, although we will have it on the screen. I want you to see in your own eyes as we go through this particular Psalm because this Psalm is going to answer every one of those questions that we’ve just posed. This particular Psalm, the first thing I want you to note about it is that it was written by David.
Now, the interesting thing about that is that the Psalm doesn’t tell us that. If you have your Bible, look at it and you will see there is no superscription for this Psalm. If you will look at Psalm 3, you will see a superscription. If you look at Psalm 4 and 5 you’ll see what are called superscriptions. Part of the scripture, this is not just added by man, this is part of the scripture that tells us who wrote these poems and sometimes what was the situation in which they were written.
We’re not told that in Psalm 2. So how in the world do we know it was written by David? We know because in the New Testament, in Acts 4:25, it says “the Holy Spirit spoke through the mouth of our father David your servant saying…” and then Luke begins to quote Psalm 2. So by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Luke reveals to us in the book of Acts who wrote Psalm 2. Psalm 2 was written, it is believed, early in the life of David. Many people believe that this is the reason it’s put at the very beginning of the Psalms is because the Hebrew sages believed that it was written probably shortly after he was anointed by Samuel, while he was still serving as a shepherd boy, long before he became the king of Israel.
Why they believe that, I have no idea, but this is their belief and therefore it is put very early in the Psalms. This particular Psalm is one that reads as follows. Let’s take a look at it here. It says, “Why are the nations in an uproar, and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand, the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, against His Anointed.
Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cards from us.” This is the way it reads in the New American Standard version. Your version may be a little bit different, but the meaning will be the same. But this is stilted language. It’s language that’s very difficult in many ways to understand so let me put it in modern English for you. What’s being said here is this: The prophet is lamenting and he’s saying to God, “God, why is it that everywhere I look nations are in uproar? Why is it that there’s civil wars going on and wars between nations going on? Why is it there’s always this uproar that’s going on among the nations? And why is it that people are always devising a vain thing?
A vain thing like the Tower of Babel. A vain thing like the United Nations or the League of Nations? Why are men always building monuments to their own ego? Why is it Lord…” Verse 2 “…that everywhere I look I see the presidents, prime ministers, and kings of this world rebelling against you, shaking their fist at you, taking counsel against you and against your Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ? Why do I see this everywhere in the world? Why is it that every nation on planet earth seems to be in rebellion against you? And Lord, why is it…”
Verse 3. “…that I see the leaders of this world doubling up their fists, shaking their fists at you and saying, ‘who are you to put limitations upon me? I’m a president. I’m a prime minister. I’m a king. Who are you to put fetters upon me? Who are you to put cards upon me? Who are you to tell me what I can do and what I cannot do? I will do as I please.’” Nothing has changed, has it? In 3,000 years. It’s just as fresh as if it were written yesterday. Because we still live in a world where all the nations of the world without exception are in rebellion against God to one degree or another. Now, the first thing I want to comment about this is that I believe that David is asking rhetorical questions here.
A rhetorical question is a question you do not ask for an answer. You already know the answer. The purpose of asking the question is to provoke thought. That’s what a rhetorical question is all about. I believe these are rhetorical questions. I believe David knew the answer to every one of these questions. And the reason I believe it is because every one of those questions is answered in the first three chapters of Genesis and David knew the scriptures. Whether he had them in written form or by oral tradition, he knew them.
Therefore he knew the answers to these and I believe what God prompted him to do was to ask rhetorical questions that would prompt you and me to think. And I believe this has happened, over 3,000 years, these questions have caused people to stop and to think. Think for a moment how these are answered in the first three chapters of Genesis.
Genesis opens in chapter 1 telling us that when God created the world, when He created the world, it says that He gave to Adam and Eve something that Hitler lusted for. He gave Adam and Eve something that Stalin dreamed of, He gave to Adam and Eve something that Napoleon ached for. He gave to Adam and Eve something that Alexander the Great almost achieved. He gave to Adam and Eve domination over this earth. This earth was created for man, and God gave us dominion. But hardly had He given us the dominion than our ancestors Adam and Eve sinned against God and that dominion was lost.
Satan reached in, he grabbed the dominion that was intended for you and me, and he has had that dominion ever since that time. The scriptures are very clear about this. Over and over they teach that he is the one with dominion today. For example, take the temptation of Jesus by Satan. One of those temptations was this, “if You will bow down and You will worship me, I will give to You all the kingdoms of the world.” That was not a legitimate temptation unless the kingdoms of the world were Satan’s to give, and they were. Or, consider what Jesus, the title that He gave to Satan while He was here on this earth. The title, the most common thing He referred to Satan as, was the ruler of this world.
Some people say, well, all that ended at the Cross. No it did not. You have to understand something about the Cross. All the benefits of the cross have not yet occurred. One of the benefits of the Cross, you put your faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you’ll be born again. That is an immediate benefit of the Cross, but there are many benefits to the Cross that have not yet been actualized. For example, one of the benefits of the Cross is that one day I’ll receive a glorified body.
I haven’t gotten that glorified body yet, I’m really looking forward to it but it hasn’t come yet. And, one of the benefits of the Cross is that Jesus won back the dominion that we lost to Satan, but he has not yet taken it from Satan. He will not do so until He returns to this earth and crushes Satan under His foot and then He will become the King of kings and Lord of Lords and He will exercise that dominion. Satan still has the dominion, and the scriptures make this clear. Look at 1 John 5:19, written long after the Cross.
What does it say? “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” Or, consider this, 1 Peter 5:8, “Satan prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Yes, the fate of Satan was sealed at the Cross, but that fate has not yet been realized in history. One day it will be. And this is the reason that my favorite Christian writer, C. S. Lewis wrote, “we are like commandos operating behind the enemy lines, preparing the way for the coming of the Commander-in-Chief.”
I love that statement! We are like soldiers. We should be like soldiers. We’re operating behind the enemy lines. Our purpose is to prepare the way for the coming of the Commander-inChief. And one day He is going to break from the heavens. Now, this brings us to a paradox. Quite a paradox it is. The paradox is this.
The Bible teaches beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is the one who puts every person in position who is in a position of reigning authority. Every person. It doesn’t matter what it is. If they are a school board member. If they are a city council member. If they are a state government member. If they’re a member of the national government or the President of the United States, whatever. Any person on planet earth who is in a position of ruling power has been put there by Almighty God.
Some people say, well now, wait a minute, I mean, surely He didn’t put Castro in Cuba or we think of some terrible leader. Let me tell you one of the things the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that we often receive the kind of leaders we deserve. And then that brings a nation to repentance. And they begin to pray for a righteous leader. And God will provide one, just as He provided Josiah after Manasseh. But God is the One who puts these leaders into their positions. But, the moment that He puts a person in a position of ruling authority, the Bible teaches that Satan comes after that individual.
Satan moves him up on his hit list. And Satan begins to come after that individual in every way he can to try in some way to compromise him, to in some way to control him. That is the reason there has always been political corruption and there always will be political corruption. It’s the reason that if you ever run for a public office of any kind you better pray about it long and hard, because Satan will move you up on his hit list. It’s the reason the Bible tells us that we are to pray and pray and pray for those who are in positions of authority.
Because they are under special attack. In short, God appoints. Satan is the one who corrupts. And Satan controls. Let’s look at the scripture that teaches this. Here is Daniel 2:20, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever for wisdom and power belong to Him. And it is He who changes the times and seasons; He removes kings and he established kings. He is the one who puts people into positions of authority. He is the one who removes them from positions of authority. Or consider this one, Romans13:1, “let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities for there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.”
That’s the reason that we are told in 1 Timothy 2 that we are to pray. “First of all, then, I urge that en treaties, and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be made in behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior.”
Over and over we’re taught, God is the one who puts them in positions of power. Satan is the one who tries to corrupt them. Let’s look at this in Biblical history. Take King Saul. To me, King Saul is the saddest story in all the word of God. What a sad story. Here is a man who was head and shoulders above everyone else. Here was a man who was very handsome. Here was a man of great wisdom. He was anointed by Samuel and on the day he was anointed the Holy Spirit came upon him. Something almost unique in the Old Testament.
Very rarely in the Old Testament do we have the Holy Spirit coming upon anyone. The Holy Spirit came upon him, anointed him, and it says that on that day, he actually prophesied with the prophets. And yet, the moment he became king, what happened? Satan sent a spirit of melancholy and threw him into a fit of depression. And instead of turning to God, what did he do? He turned to mediums. He turned to all kinds of the occult and began to traffic in the occult. He wallowed in his depression. He refused to turn to God until finally God lifted His Holy Spirit from him and this man who started out so greatly with so much promise, ended up committing suicide on the battlefield.
Has to be one of the saddest stories in all the Word of God. God put him in power, Satan destroyed him. Or consider, the nation of Israel, that northern nation. That nation existed for 209 years. And in that period of time it did not have one king, not one, who was considered righteous in the eyes of God. Or take the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The Southern Kingdom existed for 344 years, during that time it had 20 kings. Eight of the 20 were considered righteous in the eyes of God. Or consider the birth of Jesus.
Herod had been put in his position by almighty God, but when the Son of God was going to be born in Bethlehem, what happened? Satan moved upon the heart of Herod, corrupted his heart. And Herod was so corrupted that he sent an army to Bethlehem to actually destroy all the children of that city so that he could kill the Messiah at His birth. Or consider the death of Jesus.
When Satan moved to perform quite a miracle. He moved upon the hearts of the Jews and the Roman leaders, two people who hated each other with a passion, and brought them together to conspire together to murder the Son of God and nail Him to a cross. And then when the Church was established he moved it on the hearts of the leaders of that time to persecute the Church. And the Church was persecuted and spread all over the middle east. But then Satan noticed something. Everywhere the Church was spread to, new churches sprung up. That all he was doing was multiplying the Church. And so he came up with a new idea, and we move into secular history.
In secular history what had happened, was he decided to corrupt the church from within. One of the worst things that ever happened in the history of the Church was when Constantine, the Emperor, decided that he was going to become a Christian. And of course, what happened? Everybody in the empire had to become Christians. And all of the pagan priests, with all of their pagan practices simply took off whatever amulets they were wearing, put on a cross, and continued to do what they had been doing. And the church was corrupted from within.
By the time 1500 arrived, the Church had been so corrupted that the Church was actually selling salvation to the highest bidder. And finally, this man, Martin Luther, nailed his thesis to the door. And he said, “Enough is enough is enough, it is time to get back to the word of God.” And the great reformation broke out and Satan was put on the defensive. And for the next couple of hundred years the Church began to send missionaries out all over the world. The Church began to translate the Bible into languages of the people of the world.
People got the Bible for the first time in their own hands. Satan was really on the ropes, but he never stays on the ropes very long. And as the 20th Century began, Satan went on the offensive. In the 20th Century he had began to attack with everything he had. First came the attack of Fascism. Then came the attack of Communism. Then came the triumph of humanism in western Europe to the point that today, only 5% of the people in western Europe are Christians and only 7% in England.
The center of what used to be the world center of Christianity sending out missionaries, 7% of the people go to church, and most of those people go to churches deader than a doornail. The triumph of humanism and finally, when Communism collapsed, we thought well, now we can have peace. But no, into that vacuum rushed Islam, that sleeping giant.
And today, we are more terrorized and more imperiled than ever we were under the scourge of Communism. Satan has attacked and attacked and attacked and attacked. And the greatest attack of all is on the nation of Israel. There is no one on planet earth that Satan hates more than the Jewish people. He hates them with an overwhelming passion. He hates them number one, because they gave the world a Bible, He hates them number two, because they gave the world a Messiah. He hates them number three, because they’re the chosen people of God.
That doesn’t mean they’re saved, it means they’re the chosen people of God. God uses them as His witness and He still does so to this day. They are still a witness of God. They are a witness of what happens to a people or a person when they rebel against God. They’re under discipline. But one day, when they put their faith in the Messiah, God will lift that discipline. He will forgive and forget and there will be a great remnant of the Jewish people who will be saved. They gave the world a Bible. They gave the world the Messiah.
They are still witnesses of God to this day of what it is to have a relationship with God. And God has promised that one day a great remnant of the Jewish people will come to Him and accept Yeshua as their Messiah. And Satan does not want to see that happen. That’s what the Holocaust was all about. Destroy the Jewish people so God can’t keep His promise. It’s what Zechariah talks about when he says that in the end times during the great tribulation there will be a second Holocaust so great that two-thirds of the Jewish people will die during that Holocaust.
Only one third will live to the end. But that one third is going to look upon Him whom they have pierced and they’re gonna weep and wail and mourn as one weeps over the loss of an only son. And they’re gonna cry out, “Baruch Haba B'Shem Adonai, Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!” And a great remnant of the Jewish people are going to be saved. Satan hates that promise and he is determined to do everything he possibly can to stop it. Well, as you can see, I can get worked up about these things. I get red in the face.
The veins stand out on my neck. I spray the first three rows. [Laughter] Well, let me tell you something. When I look at the world and I watch that news every night on TV and I see all the horrible things the terrorism, the murderers, the child molestation, everything that’s going on in this world, when I see the world getting worse and worse and worse, you know what helps me to keep my equilibrium? Always. I think of Psalm 2. Because Psalm 2 tells me what God is doing while all this is taking place.
While all this is taking place, you know what God’s doing? He is sitting in Heaven, laughing. Laughing not because He doesn’t care, but laughing because He has it all under control. Look at what it says here in Psalm 2, beginning with verse 4. “He who sits in the heavens laughs.” God is sitting there laughing! He laughs at the two-bit dictators like Castro. He laughs, “The Lord scoffs at them. Then he will speak to them in his anger and terrify them in His fury, but as for me I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.” God is sitting in the Heavens, laughing.