Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Seeing Joy Through Hatred

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people murmur in vain. The kings of the earth band themselves, and the Princes are assembled together against the Lord, and against His Christ. ‘Let us break their bands, and cast their cords from us’” (Psalm 2:1-3, Geneva Bible).

Remember: every word and action against the Church is not about you, but about your Redeemer, the King of kings and Lord of lords Jesus Christ.

“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, ‘The servant is not greater than His master.’ If they have persecuted Me, they will persecute you also...but all these things will they do unto you for My Name’s sake, because they have not known Him that sent Me” (John 15:18-21).

The rejection and hatred of God's chosen King of the heavens and earth is not a surprise to the Father; how the world treats you, Church, is a visible image of this unseen superior reality. If you didn’t merit the hatred of the world, there is nothing you can do to ameliorate it. What is the Lord’s response to this rebellion? “But He that dwelleth in the heaven 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, saying, ‘Even I have set my King upon Zion Mine holy mountain.’ I will declare the decree: that is, 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 ends of the earth for Thy possession. Thou shalt crush them with a scepter of iron, and break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel’” (2:4-9). In the face of the world’s treason, the Father’s focus is on the Son and His rule. How can our focus, then, be anywhere else?

“Be wise now therefore, ye kings: be learned ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord in fear, and rejoice in trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish in the way, when His wrath shall suddenly burn” (2:10-12). This is not an “invitation.” This is command. The Son Who is the very expression of the Father’s love is also His means of wrath against those who reject His reign. Repent.

“Blessed are all that trust in Him” (2:12). As the circumstances providentially change around us in this world, Church, may our faith be strengthened as we look to Him more and more.

“...cast away everything that presseth down, and the sin that hangeth so fast on: let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, and despised the shame, and is set at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider therefore Him that endureth such speaking against of sinners, lest ye should be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the consolation, which speaketh unto you as unto children, ‘My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, neither faint when thou art rebuked of Him. For whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth: and He scourgeth every son that He receiveth’” (Hebrews 12:1-6).

The scourging is not the final word, of course. “For He that overcometh and keepeth My words unto the end, to Him will I give power over nations. And He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and as the vessels of a potter, shall they be broken: Even as I received of My Father, so will I give him the morning Star. Let him that hath an ear, hear what the Spirit saith to the Churches” (Revelation 2:26-29). In this quote from Psalm 2, the reign of the King is entrusted to His loyal subjects because they had ears to hear the Spirit. We do not take this rule upon ourselves. It is our place to overcome through endurance and keep His Word. What He gives and when is up to Him.

Today, endure in His Word. That is your calling in the face of all the world will do.

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