A sermon from October 16, 2011
Samuel Rutherford in Sermon 1 of the Trial and Triumph of Faith explains why we often do not understand what God is doing. First, we must understand that God’s Providence is complex: God uses even sin for His own ends:
The Providence of God hath two sides; one black and sad, another white and joyful. Heresy taketh strength, and is green before the sun; God’s clearing of necessary and seasonable truths, is a fair side of that same providence. Adam’s first sin, was the devil and hell digging a hole through the comely and beautiful frame of the creation of God; and that is the dark side of Providence: but the flower of Jesse springing up, to take away sin, and to paint out to men and angels the glory of a heaven, and a new world of free grace—that is a lightsome side of Providence
Second, we look upon only a portion of God’s work; it as of we judged the outcome of a story but stopped in the middle or sneered at house which was not complete;
—It is our fault, that we look upon God’s ways and works by halves and pieces; and so, we see often nothing but the black side, and the dark part of the moon. We mistake all, when we look upon men’s works by parts; a house in the building, lying in an hundred pieces; here timber, here a rafter, there a spar, there a stone; in another place, half a window, in another place, the side of a door: there is no beauty, no face of a house here. Have patience a little, and see them all by art compacted together in order, and you will see a fair building
We are impatient of our ease and want our heaven while we are upon earth.
The previous post in this series may be found here
- Read Philippians 4:12: What are the categories of temptation which Paul lists?
- What temptation to discontentment does Burroughs list on page 103?
- Burroughs mentions two types of “trouble” on pages 103-4. What are they?
- Read 1 Timothy 6:10. What sort of trouble does money bring?
- What is the precise “root” – note the language used.
- Look to the second half of 6:10: how does Paul further define the effect of money; what does it produce in a human being?
- Contentment necessarily includes “having enough”. How then does money tempt one to be discontent? Is it possible to desire money and be content?
- Read the definition of contentment on page 40 of the book and compare that to what Jesus says in Matthew 6:24. How does money directly attack contentment?
- Stop and consider when or whether you have been tempted to discontentment desiring money? Has desire for money ever led you to sin? Have you been angry, covetous, envious, et cetera as a result of the desire for money?
- In addition to discontent caused by the desire for money, Burroughs mentions the discontentment caused by the possession of money. He uses the image of a town which deceives one upon entry. Read 1 Timothy 6:17-19. How does money which you have tempt you to discontentment?
- Read James 1:9-11: How does money possessed tempt one to sin?
- Read Matthew 6:19-21: How does money possessed tempt one to sin?
- Burroughs gives a picture of the effects of money possessed by discussing the behavior of insects around light or honey. He is explaining that money attracts temptations, like light or honey attract pests.
- Now, most of us do not consider ourselves rich –rich people always have more money than us. Yet, the average life of a human in the West is far beyond what most people in the history of the world could imagine for themselves – and far beyond what most people in the world currently experience. Moreover, even small amount of property is sufficient to encourage sin – when Jesus preached, he primarily spoke to poor people. How then have you found yourself tempted to sin by the possession of money? Consider the examples given in 1 Timothy, James & Matthew.
- On pages 105-6, Burroughs expands the weight of prosperity beyond just money. There is a prosperity of position which also brings along certain burdens. Look at the picture of Presidents on the day they were sworn into office and the day they retired. Consider persons who have positions that include a certain degree of respect or responsibility, what is the effect upon them? Or consider single people who think that if they had a spouse and children their life would be better – and then consider the difficulties which come with marriage & parenthood.
- On pages 106-7, Burroughs mentions the particular burdens which come with ministry. This was something Burroughs knew very well: When he was a poor and little known pastor and when he was a well-known pastor he experienced a great deal of trouble. In fact, he wrote The Rare Jewel when he was apparently prospering in ministry because he realized the difficulties and temptations.
- Consider all of the ways in which God has prospered you. Now, consider: What duties does your prosperity and position require of you?
- After you consider you duties, how do you think you will do when it comes time for you to give an account to God as to whether you have fulfilled your duties?
- On page 109, Burroughs states the “most dreadful evil”; what is it?
- How often have you been discontent because God has not given you what you most desire?
- Do you think that you are desiring the “most dreadful evil”?
- How is your heart’s desire the “most dreadful evil”?
- At the bottom of page 109, Burroughs lists the greatest sign of God’s wrath: What is it?
- Middle of page 110, how does God “convey the plague of his curse”?
- Do you believe Burroughs on this point? Are you tempted to think he got it wrong?
- On the bottom of page 110, Burroughs sets out worst sort of judgments. What is the worst form of judgment from God? Why do we tend to think that material prosperity is the greatest sort of good? Romans 1:21-25.
- What is the ninth and last lesson of contentment?
- Question 11 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism (which would express Burroughs’ position) reads as follows: “Q. 11. What are God’s works of providence A. God’s works of providence are his most holy, wise and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions.” In short, God is sovereign over everything that happens. You also must know that this does not mean that human beings have no ability to make decisions. We do exactly what we want to do, and it is always what God has determined. That is very confusing, but Burroughs who have believed both to be true.
- On the top of page 112, Burroughs explains the scope of providence. How does knowing the scope of providence affect contentment? If it helps, look back at the definition on page 40?
- If God is completely sovereign and you are discontent, then you must believe what about God?
- In the middle of page 112, Burroughs explains the foolishness of raging against providence: what does he say?
- Page 113, what don’t we understand about providence when we are angry at what God has done?
- An example of providence is included at the end.
- What is the foolishness of discontentment when viewed in light of God’s Providence?
- On page 114, Burroughs identifies a reason that Christians often have difficulty taking comfort in God’s providence: what is it?
- What is the usual way that God deals with His people in this world? Page 115.
- If God doesn’t deal with you in this way, what might it mean? Hebrews 12:8.
- To whom does God give His greatest mercies?
- What is the way of God working? Page 117.
- Take a matter in which you are discontent. Then quickly run over the nine lessons for contentment given by Burroughs. After you examine your discontentment in light of these lessons, explain why you are right in continuing to be discontent.
A recent example of providence:
Crisis of War Turned to Gospel Opportunity in Ukraine
We pass along this recent experience of Dr. Bob Provost, President of SGA and TMS Board Member as told by Bruce Alvord (M.Div.’92, Th.M.’98):
“Traveling through Kiev, Dr. Robert Provost told us what he had seen in another city of Ukraine. There is a people group in Crimea called the Tartars, who are Russian-speaking Muslims and were persecuted by Stalin. As a result of the recent Russian invasion of Crimea, some of these Tartars have fled north to other parts of Ukraine. In the city that Dr. Provost was in, the director of a Baptist bible college asked the students if they would vacate their dorm rooms for the refugee families and sleep on mats on the classroom floors. They did.
Sixty Muslim refugees came – twenty adults (including an Imam – a Muslim mosque leader) and forty children. When the realized they were being taken for refuge to a Christian place, they were afraid. They feared there would be icons on the walls (which they would have to cover, believing them to be evil) and that they would have to hide their women from drunken, adulterous ‘priests.’ However, having no other option, they stayed. To their surprise, they found themselves and their children being treated kindly and sleeping in their hosts’ beds. They were shocked. They told the students, ‘If our places were switched, we would never do this for you. Why are you helping us?!’ After hearing the explanation, the Imam became interested in reading the Bible, but only under two conditions: the Bible couldn’t have a cross on it, and it had to have study notes explaining the text! Dr. Provost said, “Well, we happen to have just such a Bible here.” The Russian translation of the MacArthur Study Bible had been completed and didn’t have a cross on the cover!”
The previous post in this series may be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/theophilus-on-the-nature-of-god/
In chapter 5, Theophilus argues that God is understood by means of his actions. In chapter 4 he remarked that God is the self-existent sovereign creator. Here Theophilius continues with the proposition that God also maintains providential control over the creation.
This argument is line with the argument of Paul in Romans 1
19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:19–20 (ESV)
For as the soul in man is not seen, being invisible to men, but is perceived through the motion of the body, so God cannot indeed be seen by human eyes, but is beheld and perceived through His providence and works. For, in like manner, as any person, when he sees a ship on the sea rigged and in sail, and making for the harbour, will no doubtinfer that there is a pilot in her who is steering her; so we must perceive that God is the governor [pilot] of the whole universe,
Theophilus then continues with the argument, fully supported by Christian Scripture, that God cannot be observed:
though He be not visible to the eyes of the flesh, since He is incomprehensible. For if a man cannot look upon the sun, though it be a very small heavenly body, on account of its exceeding heat and power, how shall not a mortal man be much more unable to face the glory of God, which is unutterable?
John 1:18 reads, “No one has ever seen God”. Theophilus’ imagery may have been inspired by Paul’s words in 1Timothy 6 that God dwells in unapproachable light and thus cannot be seen:
13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. 1 Timothy 6:13–16 (ESV)
Theophilus next picks up an argument which Augustine will ponder in the Confessions:
For as the pomegranate, with the rind containing it, has within it many cells and compartments which are separated by tissues, and has also many seeds dwelling in it, so the whole creation is contained by the spirit of God, and the containing spirit is along with the creation contained by the hand of God. As, therefore, the seed of the pomegranate, dwelling inside, cannot see what is outside the rind, itself being within; so neither can man, who along with the whole creation is enclosed by the hand of God, behold God.
Augustine raises this as a question: What is God’s relationship to the Creation:
Since, then, thou dost fill the heaven and earth, do they contain thee? Or, dost thou fill and overflow them, because they cannot contain thee? And where dost thou pour out what remains of thee after heaven and earth are full? Or, indeed, is there no need that thou, who dost contain all things, shouldst be contained by any, since those things which thou dost fill thou fillest by containing them? For the vessels which thou dost fill do not confine thee, since even if they were broken, thou wouldst not be poured out. And, when thou art poured out on us, thou art not thereby brought down; rather, we are uplifted. Thou art not scattered; rather, thou dost gather us together. But when thou dost fill all things, dost thou fill them with thy whole being? Or, since not even all things together could contain thee altogether, does any one thing contain a single part, and do all things contain that same part at the same time? Do singulars contain thee singly? Do greater things contain more of thee, and smaller things less? Or, is it not rather that thou art wholly present everywhere, yet in such a way that nothing contains thee wholly?
Book I, Chapter 3.
Theophilus then returns to his original proposition and seeks to bring the point to bear: If you can recognize a king by his secondary actions, why cannot you not recognize God by the same means?
Then again, an earthly king is believed to exist, even though he be not seen by all, for he is recognised by his laws and ordinances, and authorities, and forces, and statues; and are you unwilling that God should be recognised by His works and mighty deeds?
That temptations come not by chance, not out of the earth, nor merely from the devil; but God ordereth them for his own glory and our good. Satan was fain to beg leave to tempt Job: Job 1:12, ‘And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power, only upon himself put not forth thine hand;’ there is a concession with a limitation. Till God exposeth us to trials, the devil cannot trouble us, nor touch us. . . . This cruel spirit is held in the chains of an irresistible providence, that he cannot molest any creature of God without his permission; which is a great satisfaction to the faithful: all things which concern our trial are determined and ordered by God. If we be free, let us bless God for it, and pray that he would not ‘lead us into temptation:’ if tempted, when we are in Satan’s hands, remember Satan is in God’s hand.
Thomas Manton, “The Temptation of Christ”, sermon 1 (Collected Works, vol. 1, p. 259)
The Crook in the Lot is a wonderful sermon by Thomas Boston. However, Boston style and the progress of time and language make the sermon difficult to follow. Therefore, I have undertaken to revise the sermon to make it more accessible. Below is the first section of that revision:
Ecclesiastes 7:13 comes after a series of proverbs and observations which seem inexplicable in light of normal experience. However, when viewed in light of God’s working in the world, the conclusions make sense. For example, the day of one’s death is a great evil (Eccl. 7:1b), unless God, by his power and grace, transforms death into a blessing.
Thus, the paradoxes and contradiction of Ecclesiasts 7:1-12 resolve when one considers the propositions from the point of view that God is sovereign and good. In short, we cannot think rightly about the world unless we think rightly about God. Or, to put the matter differently, we must walk by faith and not by sight.
We come to the text:
Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? Ecclesiastes 7:13 (ESV)
This proposition calls for wisdom; indeed, the verse tells us to think. First, God himself bent the straight that it may be crooked. Second, no one can undo the work of God.
Having made some initial observations, let us consider the matter further.
Doctrine One: Whatever crooked runs through your life, God did it.
We must first consider the nature of crooks
Crooks Are Everywhere
Let us call the crooked line, the crooked circumstance, the crooked life the “crook”. What can know generally about crooks?
First, God makes crooks. Christians must begin with the sovereignty of God. God exercises a providence over the entire universe from the smallest to the greatest events. God knows the future, and the past perfectly. Everything which happens from first to last happens because he determined that it would be true. Consider the words of Joseph to his brothers, when Joseph revealed himself to them:
5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Genesis 45:5–8 (ESV)
The brothers certainly laid a crook through Joseph’s life – and yet Joseph laid the crook to God’s overarching providence.
Second, there will be difficulties and there will be comforts in this life; we will see them all (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).
Third, there will be crooks for everyone; there is no perfection this world:
12 I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 1:12–14 (ESV)
Fourth, no one has a life which is only pain and misery and crook after crook. Even in the most miserable of lives there can be moments of comfort or even joy. This, of course, depends an explanation rather than the sorrow of this life. Crooked places are the norm. Why then do we ever experience joy? Where could joy in this life find its source?
All the trouble in this life came in through sin. Death is the great crook of our existence (Romans 5:12), and since it makes all things here temporary, it makes all things vain (Ecclesiastes 1:2). But the trouble is actually worse than that. The results of sin – from rebellion against God, to shame, damage to all our relationships (including to our own bodies), exile from the Garden –all these followed hard after sin (Genesis 3).
And so, as long as we will be in this world, we will be within gunshot of sorrow, pain, misery – there will be a crook which runs through our lot.
Crooks Cause Trouble
By crook we mean every adversity which runs through life. We also do not mean momentarily troubles, like the sun in one’s eyes. Rather the crook refers to a matter of distress and continuance.
Think of it: some crooks may only take a few moments to experience, but the damage continues for months, days, years: it takes less than a second for a car to strike a child, but lifetime of sorrows remain.
Other crooks come, one right after the other: like the messengers who brought Job story after story of his losses (Job. 1:16-18). Such an overwhelming rain of sorrows feels like waves continually crashing over one:
Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. Psalm 42:7 (ESV)
Sometimes crooks come in more slowly, stay longer – but then a second comes along behind. This world is a wilderness – not a pleasant pretty picnic, but a distant, cold brutal wilderness where one’s life is in constant danger and sorrows wait at every hand.
What Makes it a Crook?
First, it disagrees with our expectations: there is a fairly common gap between one’s desire and one’s possession; between one’s expectation and one’s reality. It really does not matter how badly we desire a thing – we cannot have it merely because we want it. Incidentally, it is this distance between expectation and reality which typically makes space for sin to enter.
We should know something here:
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, Ephesians 1:11 (ESV)
While the crook may cross our will – it meets God’s will. This should be a means of comfort to us: No matter how great the crook in our life and from our perspective; from God’s perspective, the line is straight and nothing has “gone wrong”.
We need to understand this so that we may respond rightly: The distress of a crook comes in part from the belief that the crook is “wrong”. This may be true and not true: The crook, when it is a matter of sin is “wrong” in that is contrary to God’s law. But, it still may be “right” from a another perspective, because God uses even sin for his ends (Psalm 2).
That is the paradox of the Bible telling us that we should rejoice in trials and tribulations. Now trials and tribulations are of themselves evil – they are certainly crooks. But we can rejoice in a trial (or rather despite the trial), knowing that God will produce good:
3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3–5 (ESV)
Second, since it disagrees with our expectations, a crook will look “wrong”. Viewed with our natural sight, crooks necessarily look “wrong”. The good in a crook can never be seen with the eye of sight – it will always and only be seen to possess a good end when viewed with the eye of faith.
Third, a crook in our path makes it very difficult to walk – if you will. It gets in our way; it trips us up. This is another way in which temptation finds an inlet to our soul. All our stumbling about due to the crook leaves us open and suggestible to sin. Satan waited for Jesus in the wilderness before he plied his trade. When Jesus had been crossed with hunger, weariness, thirst – then the Devil made his advance. It is the wounded deer which attracts the lions and wolves.
Fourth, you could also think of the crook like a net – not only do we stumble, we can easily get caught and dragged down by a crook – and that net may come from anywhere. In Psalm 73, Asaph found his path twisted by his frustration with God and the ease of the wicked. He wrote, “My feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped” (Ps. 73:2).
The distress caused by the crook is one its principle powers: is the means by which the tempter can draw out and expose what lies hidden in our heart.
You Will Find Crooks Anywhere
The crook may show up anywhere in your life. It may show up in your body: sickness and pain. It may be your surroundings: weather, earthquakes.
Crooks came in with sin. Indeed, we first see crooks with the Fall. Thus, Adam and Eve knew they were naked: shame came in with sin (Genesis 3:7). With sin there was the loss of sweet fellowship with God which is the most sore crook of all (Genesis 3:8-11). With sin came blame-shifting and loss of ease in marriage and all human relationships (Genesis 3:12 & 16). Now crooks may lay across our relationships.
With sin came pain of childbirth (Genesis 3:16) and physical death (Genesis 3:19); thus, crooks will run through our body. All nature has been cursed because of sin (Genesis 3:17-18; Romans 8:19-22); thus, crooks will criss-cross all the physical world. Our labor has become toil, and thus, crooks will be abundant in our work (Genesis 3:19; Ecclesiastes 1:2-3).
Crooks may come from supernatural causes, in that Satan has now become “ruler of this world” (John 14:30).
The crook may damage your reputation. The crook may ruin your work and savings. Think of it: Sometimes even the most careful and diligent business owner or work finds themselves ruined:
Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. Ecclesiastes 9:11 (ESV)
The crook may fall in between your relationships. Crooks have lain across marriage, between parents and children, on the backs of friends. The Bible is filled with such examples – perhaps the most bizarre being the betrayal of Jesus by Judas.
Crooks are From the Hand of God
We cannot deny that crooks are from the hand of God even though the crook itself is painful or disastrous. This is a hard thing to say – and we often try to get God “off the hook” at this point. But God does not want off the hook:
Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it? Amos 3:6 (ESV)
We must understand that all crooks come from the hand of God.
In fact the Bible everywhere teaches that God sovereignly controls the good and evil. Consider these passages:
Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. Psalm 135:6 (ESV)
The operations and homes of people across the world are in the hands of God:
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, Acts 17:26 (ESV)
His care also extends to the smallest things:
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Matthew 10:29–30 (ESV)
God controls the heart of the king – thus politics are in his control:
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. Proverbs 21:1 (ESV)
The doctrine is spread out across the Scripture: Jeremiah 10:23, Deuteronomy 19:5, Genesis 45:7, Exodus 21:13.
Thus, we must live in light of that truth. We see it in Job’s response to his wife. Job had suffered greatly through robbers, storms, disease. Yet, when he speaks with his wife, Job ignores all the obvious causes and points to the ultimate cause:
10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Job 2:10 (ESV)
We must realize that all our straight and crooked paths come from the same God and that God
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, Ephesians 1:11 (ESV)
He works all things.
The sovereignty of God is the great key to any good coming from a trial. If crooks comes without the will of God, then the thing means nothing (except perhaps that God cannot stop it or will not stop it). We have low thoughts of God and lose our good in the trial.
But, when we know the trial comes from the hand of God, that the crooked line is straight in heaven, then we can seek for the good the Father has planned. And let us realize that “good” is not ease or comfort – but conformity to Christ:
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:28–29 (ESV)
The Two Types of Crooks
There are two basic types of crooks. We need to understand the difference between the crooks if we are to understand their use. A crook which comes without sin comes for a different reason than a crook which flows out sin.
First, there are crooks which are painful but are not the result of any particular sin. Some men are born into poverty – which is one of the most common and painful crooks of this world. However, poverty is not a sin – nor is it necessarily the result of sin. Some men and women are simply born into lives of poverty (Luke 19:19). God is called the “maker” of the poor (Prov. 17:5). It is God who makes poor and rich (1 Sam. 2:7).
Jesus specifically rejects the idea that all sorrow, all crooks are the direct result of sin:
1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” John 9:1–2 (ESV)
And God is the one who makes deaf (Exodus 4:11). Thus, when we see a crook, we must not immediately be certain that a sin was the cause. Now it may be, and it is wise to seek a basis for repentance. But, we need not determine that sin has caused the trouble.
Second, there are crooks which do result from sin. David’s sins lead to generations of sorrow for his family and the death of his baby (2 Sam. 12:10-14). David’s sin in the matter of the census lead to all of Israel suffering (2 Sam. 24).
But we must realize that even when God permits sin to give rise to crooks, to pain for the sinner and others, God has not given over his sovereignty. When one sins and brings on a crook, God has merely permitted the sinner to have his desire. God does not force the sin even when God permits the sin. Read Romans 1:18-32 and note that God “gave them over” (v. 24); “God gave them over” ( v. 26); “God gave them over” (v. 28). These sins they willing chase and encourage others to follow suit (v. 32).
Yet, when God gives them over to their desire, he still maintains the reigns. In Job 1-2, Satan is permitted to afflict Job – but only to the extent which God permits. Not even Satan can sin without any restraint.
Finally, even in the greatest sin and the most wicked crooks, God maintains control. Consider the example of Psalm 2. First comes the decision to rebel against God and murder the Lord’s anointed:
1 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”
Such evil determinations, however, do not last. God actually mocks and laughs at the rebellion. The act of murder becomes an enthronement; and the one whom they desired to destroy has become their king:
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. 5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” 7 I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” 10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 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.