Why do the nations rage? Why do the peoples grumble in vain? The kings of the earth take a stand, and the rulers join together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. “Let us tear off their chains and throw their ropes from us.” The one who is seated in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them.
Clenched fists. Broken windows. Screams of defiance. There is much anger in this world. Some would say there is much to protest against in this world since there is much wrong in this world.
The Christian has to agree that there is much wrong in the world because God has already said that. In fact, his report on the world’s condition is worse than ours. He sees and hears everything. His detection of evil is much more sensitive than ours.
We humans sometimes miss that beneath the anger we so easily express is a deeper irritation over what we consider to be the cause of our anger.
We might gripe against a certain authority in our life and stress over something going wrong in our life, but when we peel away the layers, God is found to be at the bottom of the pile. If he is the ultimate authority, if he has the power to do anything, then he must be the cause of whatever is wrong.
So we might think.
It insults the human ego to be told that the fault is actually with us. God even dares to say that we must obey him. He forbids the worship of other, so-called gods: “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me” (Exodus 20:5).
Harsh words. Ultimately, the punishment would be eternal death.
It strikes us as strange that when their Creator offers life in glory to people dead in sin and destined for destruction, those people not only reject being rescued but become enraged at the Rescuer.
This is so obvious in the account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth upon this earth. He did not cheat anyone. He did not steal from anyone, He never did or said anything wrong to anyone.
So, how do we explain the vicious attacks against him? Wasn’t it enough that they were having him tortured and killed? Why did they feel the need to mock him as he was dying?
Why the rage against the Lord God and the Savior of sinners?
The answer was given already in the Garden of Eden when the holy God issued his judgment against the prince of evil: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15).
A state of war was declared on that day between the forces of good and the forces of evil. The battle rages to this day. Enmity is the cause of the rage.
There is nothing that evil can do to prevent God from gaining the victory. In reality, the battle has already been won.
The Son of God lived on earth. He died on earth. And he overcame sin, death, and the devil before he returned to heaven.
All the satanic forces can do is vent their anger against him and attempt to foil his plan to bring more people into his kingdom.
In the end, rage is the only response left. If not before, old age and death will bring the end of all hope in the battle against God.
The poet said it clearly:
“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
To live with rage and to die with rage is a sad life.
God laughs at the threat of puny humans shaking their fists at him.
Yet, God was willing to sacrifice his Son for the sake of such humans.
Instead of asking, “Why the rage?” we may well ask, “Why the love?”
Why would God love such people? Why would he love us?
It surely is love undeserved.
It is grace.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive our sinful reactions to your offer of grace. Heavenly Father, forget our failures, which are covered by the blood of your Son. Fill us with your love. Amen.
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
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