Bread – Power

January 11, 2016


Psalm 2

“Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?…He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision…”  Ps. 2:1,4

One of the images which has always stuck with me was a television advertisement for something where this huge hulk of a man, probably a football center, guard or tackle, is holding in the crook of his hand a little baby.  To me, this is the perfect image of the gentle giant.  A person so powerful that he does not to demonstrate his power in holding a baby or talking to baby.

We are used to power arrangements.  For example, at work your boss likely sits behind a desk and perhaps even the chairs in front of the desk (for you) are uncomfortable.  The existence of the desk and the uninviting surroundings is designed to create a power relationship, where your boss is dominant and you are not.

But we also know that the most powerful statement a person can make about themselves is to show no power at all.  You know when you are in a powerful man’s office when there is no desk, no barrier to communication.  Instead, there may be two comfortable chairs or a sofa, making it clear that this person considers himself or herself to be equal in power to you.  And in those circumstances we know we are in the presence of a powerful person, because he or she does not need to demonstrate their power.  They have it and they know it, and so do you.

Psalm 2 introduces us to ourselves, the nations.  We rage against God and His creation and His Word, and we plot ways to make ourselves better and more powerful, all the while snubbing the “Big Man.”  Now, if you were God, what action would you take against yourself, the renegade, the derelict, the loathsome, the excluded, the nations who rage against God?  What would you do?  The word “smite” comes to mind – I would exercise my power and smite you.  If I were a boss I might fire you or write you up.  If I were a policeman I would arrest you and make sure you stayed in a prison worthy of your actions.  If I were a soldier, I would maim or kill you with bombs or guns or knives or other methods of destruction.  If I were a reporter, I would destroy you in the press.  If I were God, I would “smite” you, crush you, wipe you out.  And, indeed, there are many people who wonder why God, if He is so powerful, doesn’t do just that.

What does God do?  He just laughs (and this is apparently the only time God the Father ever does), but not in a jocular way but in a scoffing way.  He laughs because He has no need to show His power.  There is nothing these rulers who rage and plot can do to Him.  They cannot make Him go away.  They cannot make Him any less God.  They cannot smear His name.  They cannot fire Him.  They cannot put God in a box.  They cannot educate God away.  They cannot chase Him away.  They cannot even ignore Him away (which is why they rage and plot).  He is, He was, and He will be.  So the response to the raging and plotting is laughing, a form of us saying “You’ve got to be kidding.”

Do you rage against God for some perceived wrong or fault or act or failure to act which He has done to you?  Do you rage against God because He is a “superstition” or a “forgery.”   Do you rage against God because your life is out of control and, somehow, it is His fault (being that it could never be your fault, of course)?  Do you rage against God because you are afraid of appearing to be foolish among the people you hang out with?  Do you rage against God because you don’t have enough money, a job, a house, a car, an education, an opportunity?

Your raging will result in nothing.  God has done for you what He will at the time.  He has brought Him to your door through Scripture and through His Son, Jesus Christ.  He has sustained you through difficulty.

You want real power?  Go to the cross and bow your head to the Almighty.  Surrender.  Lay down your arms.  Drop your rage and anger.  Know that Jesus died and was resurrected, lives beside God the Father, and will come again.  And believe (trust) in Him.

Now that you are clothed with Christ’s righteousness, the world will rage at you.  And you, with the Father, can laugh, can say “You are kidding me, right,” because whether we die or live in poverty or in wealth, we will be with Him forever.   And that makes us the most powerful one in the room, because we know that, no matter what, we have won, even if we die.

The real power is demonstrated best when it does not need to be shown.  Our ability to laugh while the world rages is real power, because those who rage will look at us and ask “from whence cometh your strength, your peace, your joy, your happiness, your security?”  And we can answer truthfully because we know the truth and we are free.  And that, my friends, is real power.

__________

© 2016 GBF

All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

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