So why do they?
I was considering Psalm 2 today and it’s implications for our society. Since I have been meditating on this topic a lot lately and now have a perfect opportunity to spend a little time writing after being banned from a forum that was taking far to much of my time and energy, here I am. First, let’s look at Psalm 2:
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
(As anyone who has read my posts in other places will know I use a lot of scripture)
First, the Psalms were written in Hebrew, so I want to home in on two words in particular; rage and vanity (or vain thing as it is translated).
rage: H7283 (Strongs)
A primitive root; to be tumultuous: – rage.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
vain thing: H7385 (Strongs)
From H7324; emptiness; figuratively a worthless thing; adverbially in vain: – empty, to no purpose, (in) vain (thing), vanity.
Okay that is how vanity appears in the Hebrew, and now the Greek.
vanity: G3153 (Strongs)
From G3152; inutility; figuratively transientness; morally depravity: – vanity.
Please stop and consider what you may have just now learned for a moment! Does this remind you of anything? Is the Lord speaking anything to your heart just now?
So what I gather from Psalm 2:1 is that the people are fascinated by emptiness. I couldn’t think of a better description of our society if I sat down and tried. We are fascinated by the flickering screen, the passing comment on Twitter or on some forum, or a talking head on the television. We are sucked into the current of the prevailing opinion as we try to decide what is right and what is wrong for ourselves. We sit and decide whether it was right or wrong for Rush Limbaugh to call Sandra Fluke “a slut” (talking head topic of the day) as if our opinion was important. In that process what are we accomplishing?
Are we establishing ourselves as the ultimate moral judge of the situations around us? Isn’t that what Eve was tempted with in the Garden? To know for herself Good from Evil? To be like God? Here is the problem as I see it, we fall into the trap of James 1:5-8 deciding for ourselves what wisdom is instead of asking God and receiving liberally from Him. We have our foot on the path of moving headlong into raging heathen status (or at least getting into a heated argument with them). My wife keeps reminding me of this:
The Lord warns us that His ways are not our ways and that His thoughts are not our thoughts, so let me again encourage you to seek His wisdom:
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
If we want to escape the vanity that is raging in our time we need to live by the words that proceed (present tense) out of the mouth of God, as we read in Isaiah they WILL count and they are not vain.
So the question posited by Psalm 2:1, “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” I would answer this way: It is because they do not seek God’s wisdom nor do they live by His words.