March 2, 2017

The Last Laugh

It does not make the news, not in the newspapers, CNN, or other sources. But mission groups report this horrendous reality — hundreds of Christians are persecuted and murdered every day for their faith. Little do the persecutors realize that when a Christian dies, heaven welcomes them. No one can take eternal life from God’s people.

The world was no different at the time the Old Testament psalms were written. They tell of the hatred of those who do not know God toward those who do. The Lord inspired the psalmist to write this:

“Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.’” (Psalm 2:1–3)

This persecution was not merely from the general public, but from world leaders. The same thing happens today as the leadership of many countries makes refugees of God’s people. Even as other groups are also ousted, many Christians are forced to flee from their homes rather than be killed.

What does God think about this? The psalmist reveals God’s response to those who think they are in charge. I note also that God lives in eternity so in His mind, what is future for us has already happened: 

“He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, ‘As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.’ I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 2:4–12)

These verses point forward in time to this one: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne” (Matthew 25:31)

God’s decree in both the Old and New Testament are a reality even though it is yet to happen in time. The Lord said through the psalmist that He had already set His King in place! For me, this is the comfort that gets me through the horror of those little-known news items about my brothers and sisters in Christ whose blood is shed simply because they worship God’s King.

The enemies of the Gospel might picture Jesus Christ as weak or frustrated, unable to accomplish His purpose. But they are foolish and in error. The Lord God is calm, content and peaceful. “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” He is King of kings and Lord of lords, sovereign over heaven and earth, His dominion is from everlasting to everlasting.

Jesus, today’s reports of pastors being arrested and murdered, women and children raped and slaughtered because they believe in You are simply horrid. While all of us will die someday, their deaths were brutally unspeakable. The only good thing is that Your people are with You in glory, worshiping Jesus who sits on His glorious throne. I can imagine You welcoming them home with a smile. You are God over all and nothing can separate us from Your amazing grace. At the same time You shake Your head at those who foolishly think that they have destroyed Your people, not realizing that their own eternal destiny is in grave danger.

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