Reading: Psalm 2
Verse 1: “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?”
When the disciples saw someone outside of their group doing good in Jesus’ name, they questioned Jesus about it. They even thought the man should be stopped. But Jesus welcomed this co-worker in ministry. In our Psalm today we see a similar choice: are nations or individuals for or against God? Are we working with God or against God? While penned years and years ago, we continue to wrestle with this question.
The Psalm begins with a question: “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?” It is a good question. Even though we as individuals and we as a nation have and do experience good when living according to God’s way, we often seem to forget this. We wander and we chase after power, status, success. We turn inward and think only of self. Matters like justice and compassion and equality fall by the wayside as we chafe at not having what we want or what we think we deserve. Like the kings of old, thinking of God we desire to “throw off their fetters.” We step away from God. We begin working against God. The human inside all of us can rail against the divine at times.
Sometimes this is shown in simple ways, in our decisions and indecisions. The divine inside prompts us to care for another or to stand up for justice or someone’s plight. But the human inside questions it, wonders what it might cost. It is in these moments that we are weighing our will versus God’s will. In these moments let us remember the conclusion of the Psalm. God has made the nations and all peoples Christ’s inheritance. God’s intent is for Christ to rule in our hearts and lives. We are called to “be wise” and to “serve the Lord with fear” – to choose our steps, our words, our actions wisely. Echoing the Matthew 17 reading for this week, we are called to listen to Christ. Doing so we will walk in his ways. May it be so for you and for me.
Prayer: Lord God, how tempting are the things of this world. How easy it is to get just a little off track, just a little bit. But when I finally look upward I wonder how I got so far away. Lord, when the flesh rises up, may your voice be louder. When the world pulls, may your grip be stronger. Amen.