In the previous part of this study on Psalm 2, we looked at why the nations of the world are raging against God. Today I'll review the ongoing spiritual war between God and Satan.
The Bible attests to this never-ending cycle of God appointing and Satan attacking. I think, for example, of the tragic story of Saul, the first king of Israel. He began with such promise, having received a special anointing of God's Spirit that even enabled him to prophesy with the prophets (1 Samuel 10:1,6,9-11).
But Satan immediately encouraged Saul's pride and attacked him with a spirit of melancholy that drove him into fits of depression. Out of pride Saul began to "act foolishly," assuming for himself the duties of the priests (1 Samuel 13:8-13). In depression, he turned to mediums and witches for advice rather than relying on the prophets of God. The tragic result was that the Spirit of God departed from him (I Samuel 16:14), and Saul committed suicide on the battlefield (I Samuel 31:4).
In like manner, Solomon began his reign on his knees before the Lord, receiving a special anointing of wisdom and knowledge (2 Chronicles 1:7-12). His future looked so bright.
But Satan came against him, tempting him with worldly riches. Solomon's turning point came in the year when he received 666 talents of gold (I Kings 10:14). From that point on, he became obsessed with three things: riches, women, and military power (I Kings 11:1-8). He ended up doing "what was evil in the sight of the Lord" (I Kings 11:6).
The empire divided following Solomon's death, and during the 209 year history of the northern kingdom of Israel, there was not one king who was considered good in God's sight. The southern kingdom of Judah lasted a hundred years longer, but during its three hundred years, only 8 of its 20 kings were considered righteous by the Lord.
The Continuing Struggle
When the New Testament opens, we find the tug of war between God and Satan continuing. Satan inspires King Herod to slaughter all the babies of Bethlehem in an attempt to cut off the Messiah at His birth.
Later, Satan orchestrates a conspiracy between governing authorities who hated each other. He brings together the Roman governor and the Jewish Sanhedrin, and through their joint efforts he accomplishes the murder of the Messiah.
Satan's triumph was, of course, short lived, for it was overcome by the victory of the Messiah's resurrection. But Satan was not to be deterred for long. He renewed his relentless attacks on God's sovereignty by launching an all out persecution of the Messiah's followers.
When Satan realized that this persecution of the church was only spreading it and increasing its strength, he shifted to a new strategy — the wedding of the church and the state so that the church could be compromised. This occurred around 331 A.D., and it marked the beginning of the dark ages when the church became subservient to the state. The church quickly became penetrated by the world, and its testimony for Christ became secondary to the pursuit of politics.
But, thank God, Jesus had made an important promise concerning His church. He had promised that "the gates of Hades shall not overpower it" (Matthew 16:18). So, even during the darkest years of the Middle Ages, there was always a faithful remnant preserved by the Spirit of God.
Finally, the day came when Martin Luther nailed his theses to the door and called for a return to God's Word. Satan was put on the defensive once again as the church experienced reformation and began to send out missionaries all over the world.
The Conflict in Our Time
As the 20th Century dawned, Satan went back on the offensive. He orchestrated one of his greatest victories with the birth of Communism in Russia in 1917. Satanism became incarnate in the atheistic ideology of the Communists as they attempted to exterminate both the church and God's Word.
Simultaneously, Satan launched an internal attack on the Western democracies by energizing the philosophy of Secular Humanism. The Judaic-Christian foundation of Western Civilization came under direct attack from within while the Communists hammered at it from without.
The Communist threat has collapsed from the weight of its own internal inconsistencies. But Satan has provided no breathing space. He continues to promote the advance of Secular Humanism, and he has brought about a resurgence of Islam.
The Focus of the Conflict
Perhaps the clearest example of Satan's determination to exert his dominion in defiance of God's will is to be found in his opposition to the re-establishment of the nation of Israel.
Throughout the Old Testament God promises repeatedly that in the end times He will regather the Jewish people from the four corners of the earth to the land of Israel (see Isaiah 11:10-12 and Ezekiel 36:22-37:12). God reveals that His purpose is to do a mighty work in the hearts of the Jews that will result in a remnant accepting His Son as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10, 13:1 and Romans 9:27, 11:1-6, 25-32).
Satan hates this purpose of God because he hates the Jewish people with a passion. His hatred is fueled by the fact that God has used the Jewish people as a vehicle to bless all the nations of the world. Through the Jews, God gave the world the Scriptures. Through the Jews, God gave the Messiah.
Satan is determined to destroy the Jewish people so that God cannot keep His promise to bring a remnant to salvation. This is the reason that Satan is orchestrating all the nations of the earth against Israel today. God has raised up a nation that Satan, as the prince of this world, is determined to destroy.
Rage vs. Laughter
I am personally outraged by Satan's many attempts to frustrate and defeat the will of God in Israel and throughout the earth today. I often feel so frustrated that I want to shout, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging" by sending your Son back to reign in glory and majesty and righteousness and justice?" (Revelation 6:10)
The only way I am able to restrain my anger is to remind myself of what God is doing in Heaven while I fume over Satan's plots on this earth. Do you know what the Scriptures say God is doing?
He is laughing! Yes, God is sitting on His throne laughing — not because He doesn't care, but because He has the world's events under control. This may be hard to believe, but I can prove it to you.
In the next part of this study on Psalm 2, I'll look at verse 4 and the first reason why God is laughing at His enemies.