From the vicarage June 2014

IMG_5002Psalm 2 begins with a question.

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.

This simple question wonderfully describes the ways of the world. In the news this week there have been great examples of nations conspiring and peoples plotting in vain. The European elections have turned the tables on the European project. European voters are clearly not happy with the way Europe is being run, with massive and growing public debt, rising youth unemployment, the breakdown of communities caused by the free movement of people across Europe. Europe isn’t working.

Then the World Economic Forum has met this week and has pondered why the 85 richest people on earth own as much as the poorest 50% of the worlds population (US$ 1.7 trillion). Capitalism is working and not working, at the same time. Goods and services are being produce and offered but money making ventures have favoured some and not others. So the nations wring their hands and plot in vain.

And yet, Psalm 2 ends with the answer to our problems. This answer does not make all the problems go away, we still need to work through situations. But the beginning of getting things right is found in our attitude to the LORD and his Anointed One.

Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Our heart attitudes are set right when our relationship with the LORD is right. Psalm 2 reveals four heart attitudes which result from knowing the LORD. These are fear, rejoicing, trembling and true intimacy. They don’t seem the most likely four. How are we to fear, rejoice, tremble and enjoy intimacy all at once? That doesn’t seem possible!

Yet it is possible to have mixed emotions. I can celebrate a great golf shot and be sad that no one else saw it, at the same time. I can stand on the top of a cliff, looking out to sea, silently amazed by the view whilst suffering a jelly-legged fear of falling off the cliff. And so, I can fear God and rejoice in him, at the same time. I should tremble at God and have true intimacy with God.

These four attitudes of the heart are the right response to Jesus as he died on the cross for my sins. I should, all at once, fear the Lord’s justice and judgement for my sin and greed. I should rejoice that he loves me enough to die for me. I should tremble at his feet, knowing that he is the Lord of all and so I should do as he commands. And yet, I can enjoy true intimacy with him, as my loving friend and Saviour.

Once the Lord Jesus takes his right place in our minds, our hearts are sure to follow. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. Leaders of the nations must then fear, rejoice, tremble and enjoy true fellowship and so put HIS plans into action, as they work through situations in life. By doing this, they will no longer plot in vain.

How will this be? Well we can’t expect the rulers of the nations to make Jesus their focus if we don’t make him ours. As more and more people are coming into a right relationship with with the Lord, then this will show in the way we choose our rulers and what we do with our money.

Have you taken refuge in the Lord? If you have, then you are blessed. Now, let’s pray for our mission as a church, that the LORD will prosper our work in this community and the rulers of the nations will follow him too.

With love, Neil

About neilrobbie

I am a 6'6" formerly ginger Scot, in a cross cultural marriage to my lovely Londoner wife. We've lived in SE Asia and since 2005, I have served as an Anglican minister in Wolverhampton and West Bromwich.
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