Why rage?

Psalms decorative
Why do the nations rage

    and the peoples plot in vain? Psalm 2:1 ESV

Well, they plot and rage in vain because they plot and rage against the LORD and against his anointed; but they and we plot and rage at all because we are angry about the bonds and cords (Psalm 2:3) that limit our personal power in the world; because we are selfish sinners.


That ‘he who sits in the heavens’ laughs at our rages and our plots against him only infuriates us more, like any child who tests his will against his parents and, if he is lucky, finds them immovable in their insistence on what is right. Even our tantrums can become parables.

Of course, like Captain Ahab, we might give in to our anger, wasting our life in a futile and ultimately fatal struggle to overcome the One it is beyond us, wounded or not, to overcome. By virtue of his own natural sovereignty, then, he will laugh at us; but there’s another twist to the question as well, why do we rage and plot in vain?

Why go on raging against God, when the alternative is blessed life and peace with him?

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 2:10-12 ESV

At risk from his righteous judgement he still calls us to come to him for justification instead; (‘…while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ Romans 5:8)

Instead of resisting him we will be wise to come, rejoicing (with trembling) and receive his kiss of peace (his kiss of life) upon our life. In the Old Testament there are, time and again, these signs of life, for kings and rulers, nations and peoples, who give up their rage and come to him; not least in the Psalms.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
    let all the peoples praise you!
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
    for you judge the peoples with equity
    and guide the nations upon earth.  Psalm 67:3-4ESV

‘Signs of life’ fulfilled in the New Testament like this…

‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.’ John 3:16-17 ESV

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