We easily discard fear of a patient God, but do so to our own destruction. God is no less God if I don’t acknowledge him. God’s strength is not diminished by those who deny it. Power is not eliminated by dismissing it as unreal.
Bolt cutters versus 120 volts, good luck with that.
Once I watched my dad cut a live wire with small bolt cutter. The bolt cutter did not fare so well. One of the hardened, high-carbon steel jaws melted! He had been having problems identifying the breaker for that wire, and thankfully had on the thick rubber gloves of an electrician.
What is the point of that story? The electric line looked peaceful and timid, but that was irrelevant. My dad’s notions about whether the line had power on it or not were immaterial to the power sleeping in those copper wires. That power was ready, it was not timid and spark it did.
Don’t figure that God’s patience = impotence.
Some people live their lives like bolt cutters on God. God is patient, but our viewpoint on God does not change his deity, power, insight into our character or our guilt before him. Let us look at Psalm 2 and see what David said about the people of his time. There are clear parallels to the church age and even the millennial kingdom in this passage, but the first point of view is David, God and some rogue nations.
and the peoples plot in vain?
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 burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”(Psalm 2:1-3–ESV)
There’s defiance in them there verses!
Raging, plotting, standing, bursting, throwing off are a smattering of the verbs used to describe those around David’s kingdom. The nations rage and the peoples plot, but the last two words of verse one conclude with an important truth: rage against God is vanity. Futility reigns in the rebellious. Chafing and biting, planning and attacking are energies spent without a living hope. One can almost see these nations as chained and untamed animals doing their utmost to be freed from their cages.
While the analogy is of a chained animal the way they live out their fury is seen in verses 2 and 3. They gather together and they plot. Kings and rulers consider their plight and set out to establish their own dominance. The kingdoms of men plan to fight back and throw off the bonds that hold them fast. “We are angry,” they say, “and we are going to do something about it.”
They are defiant toward Israel and those who defy God’s people defy God. Let’s look at the specific example seen in the man Goliath.
Goliath’s strength versus God’s strength
King Saul was the first king in Israel. The Philistine people lived southwest of Israel in a place called Gath. An army from Gath came to make war upon Israel, and in making war they sent out their champion: Goliath. It was a winner take all death match. Goliath was like a modern UFC fighter: cocky, full of himself and amped up.
Goliath defied the armies of Israel1 and David took offense. He then took five stones, his sling and in God’s strength drew up against Goliath. Before killing Goliath David proclaimed his purpose: “that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel2.”
See how David, Goliath and the people around them readily allied themselves to their gods?
David resolved to restore the glory of the one true God. The Philistines had enough confidence in their god, Dagon, and Goliath to speak ill of Jehovah’s armies. David was mortified over the insult to God and asked King Saul for permission to fight Goliath. Permission was given by Saul. God enabled David. The mocking Philistine was quickly silenced and God was glorified.
Years after that group of Philistines were routed David became king. He carried on the fight of God against those around him who continued to stand arrayed against God. Psalm 2:2 describes that defiance reporting that kings and rulers of the earth set themselves, rise up against the God in Jerusalem and against the king (David) who had been installed in Jerusalem. Those nations and kings were defying God as Goliath had done. It is vanity, though, to rage against God. No good thing comes from that, but like buying lottery tickets a lot of people try.
What does God think?
the Lord holds them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 “As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”(Psalm 2:4-6–ESV)
God speaks their language
Verse 4 with God laughing at and holding his enemies in derision may seem out of place with how a Christian has experienced God. It may even be at odds with what you’ve been taught.
Before you let any angst over God’s laughter sink into your mind call to your mind the viewpoint of those to whom these verses are written. They are people who believe in gods — their own gods. They have cast their allegiance with them and in the strength they gather from that quarter, from those pseudo-deities, false gods, they rise up in defiance of Jehovah. There is only one God. God himself had made that plain beginning in the garden of Eden and has not abandoned this down through history. Man’s disregard may have dimmed it somewhat, but man-made dimness does not make God Dim. Man had steadily rebelled and in rebellion stacked themselves up against Jehovah.
So, it is that viewpoint that these verses have as background. The people groups around David’s kingdom were defying Jehovah. Jehovah was matching their defiance step for step. God was speaking in a language those mockers understood. “Know your audience,” speechwriters and authors as taught. God did.
Not up to the task
The mockers faced a problem: they were not up to the task they had been boasting of. Go back to the example of David and Goliath. Goliath had no fear of David nor of God. He mocked both — and lost. God has no fear of men. Men, who live in God’s strength like David also have no cause for fear. The sticks men bring against God and his anointed are not even limp sticks or brittle twigs. They are weaker than both before Jehovah. They are impotent all around, and if you will there is no Viagra for that. Goliath said, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” God answered “No” and “No.”
Struggle is not against flesh and blood
Paul wrote this to the Ephesians. David lived this in Jerusalem. David understood God’s role in choosing the kings for Israel. First chosen was Saul and David would not raise his hand against King Saul. David viewed a move against Saul as a move against God. When Psalm 2 is being written David now stands in the position of the anointed king. David would not kick against God’s will, but David sees others who willingly do so. The kings around David took counsel together. They steeled themselves to fight David. Well that struggle was not against flesh and blood but against God Almighty. David knew this and David lived this.
Don’t fight God
Fighting God is vanity. Some struggle against the spiritual forces of darkness. Demons and rebellious people are usually the focus of lessons on the struggle against flesh and blood. Christians certainly face evil enthroned in high places, BUT there is a more common struggle. That struggle is between God, who is not flesh and blood, and humans who want to be left alone, to do their own thing without interference from God. God has built a world that does not work that way. Mankind is made for dependence upon God. Happiness, confidence, peace, etc. come from living this life God’s way. When we rage against God’s shape in our lives we struggle not against flesh and blood but against God. That will be less than effective. It will be destructive. That said, remember that we must not fight God.
Live where you are anointed
David knew his place before God and in the world of men. David acted on this. He lived there, and that was to his immense advantage. To live and act in confidence that God has chartered the life you live is of great value. Purpose comes from that approach. Strength is present from thinking that way. Resilience and peace and confidence and so many other things grow from that view.
Think about where you are and consider what role God had in putting you there. Turn away from fear, anxiety, and the yells, shouts and defiance of the world. Reject those things when they rise in your head for the battle is the Lord’s.
Of course you cannot afford to forget the basics: Have you repented of your sins? Have you accepted his gift of salvation?
If your answer is yes to these questions then you have entered into God’s kingdom, and have an anointing. Rise up like David, take your smooth stones and sling them against those who would rise against you from whatever quarter they come. That is the sum of all answers.
God has won before the enemies arrived
Notice how God speaks to the rebellious rulers and kings who have risen against him. He says, “I have set my King on Zion.” God does not say, “I will bring,” or “I will send.” He rather speaks in the past tense. God had already set his King on Zion. The battle was already won. God was ready for the mockers, for his enemies. God is not surprised by the tactics of the rebellious.
Those other armies may rise up against David, but God is with David. God has big plans for his people, and God has big plans for those who stand against his people.
Many rose and said, as for us we will disregard the Lord. The one in heaven laughed at that and reported that he had already taken the matter in hand. He had already installed his king in Zion, a hill that he had claimed for himself.
Claim God’s presence when your fears mock you
What did God say? “I have set.” Is that future tense? Is that something that will happen in the future? No. It is past tense. It is something that has already happened. The bullet is already in the chamber and the gun cocked. The arrow is already on the string and the bow drawn.
In the life of a Christian the Holy Spirit is already installed in your heart and the Holy Spirit has your outcome all prepared for your circumstances. If you are hunting deer and the deer is in your sights and that bow drawn what do you have to do? Let go of the string: The arrow will fly. In your spiritual life it is similar. You must rely upon the Lord. He said he is aware of everything. All you have to do is accept this and wait upon him. Acceptance and waiting and taking the steps he would have is like letting go of the bowstring. God has seen the struggle. God actually saw the struggle before it was a struggle. He has sharpened the arrow. He has aimed the arrow. God has prepared the victory. Pray and ask God to help you let go of the string and shoot his solution into your problem. Ask and pray to God for help in your unbelief. Basically: Let go and let God.