"And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth dismay among nations... men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (Luke 21:25-26).
We live in a world gripped by fear. Among all segments of society and all nations of the world, there is a foreboding sense that we are marching toward some cataclysmic consummation of history.
The news is filled with reports of increasing violence — muggings, kidnappings, child abuse, terrorism, wars, and rumors of wars. We seem to be bombarded by an endless stream of natural calamities such as earthquakes, famines, hurricanes, floods, and fires. And the increasing immorality continues to spawn new diseases that threaten Man's very existence.
Significant too is the fact that all these frightful trends are taking place within the context of a world armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons. And to make things worse, these weapons of mass destruction are now spreading to irresponsible outlaw nations like Iran and North Korea. We have giant weapons in the hands of moral pygmies.
All the while, the nations of the world continue on their spending binge, piling debt on debt, preparing the way for a colossal worldwide economic collapse.
The Reality of Fear
In the midst of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt tried to rally a despondent nation by declaring, "There is nothing to fear but fear itself." Those words ring hollow today as we face a multiplicity of very real and unprecedented fears.
It is no wonder that people are scared. They are afraid of losing their jobs, their homes, and their life savings. They fear for their personal well-being, the safety of their children, and the security of their nation. They are frightened by the prospect of menacing plagues and the potential for devastating civil disorder. And lurking in the background is always the possibility of nuclear holocaust.
People are desperately searching for security. They are buying guns and securing their houses with electronic devices. They are altering their lifestyles to protect themselves against the violence of muggers and diseases like AIDS. They are turning to Eastern religions and pop psychology to find solace for their souls.
As the world disintegrates before our eyes, even Christians are beginning to question the trends. Increasingly, Christians are asking: "Is God in control? Is evil going to triumph? Is there really any hope?"
The good news is that God in His grace and mercy gave the answers to these questions almost three thousand years ago when He spoke to the heart of a shepherd boy by the name of David ben Jesse. He gave the boy a poem that was short, sweet, powerful, and full of hope. It contains a message that a fearful world desperately needs to hear today.
The poem is found in the Hebrew Bible. It is called Psalm 2.
In the next part of this study on Psalm 2, I'll explain why in the first three verses the nations of the world are raging against God.