Over the last year, many, who have heard the story of how the Lord prophetically called our little House of Prayer to “seek His face” (Psalm 27:8) in “the time of trouble” (Psalm 27:5) have asked us, “What is God saying to the Church? How is He calling His household to respond to Him?”
A scripture the Lord repeatedly turned us to during the 180 days of corporate prayer was Psalm 2. In this short chapter He paints His own fierce perspective of the sweep of human history. In the last few verses of the Psalm, (v. 10-12) He issues several injunctions that tell us how to respond to Him now, so that we are prepared for the great day of His arrival. Every phrase in these three verses is worthy of long meditation, dialoguing, prayer. Heeding these instructions is supremely wise. Obeying His Words in these verses will infuse our lives with vibrant strength for the time that is coming.
Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. (Psalm 2:10-12)
A. REALIZE THAT THESE ARE WORDS OF INSTRUCTION FOR BELIEVERS
These words are not only an exhortation to the unbelieving nations. They’re also an exhortation to the luke-warm Church. Believers are called to be kings and priests. (Revelation 1:6) The redeemed are also to be judges of the angels and the earth. (1 Corinthians 6:3) (Luke 22:30) The Psalmist here is speaking to all kings and judges on the earth, including those within the household of God.
The Lord is saying it’s wise for His people to know how to respond to His judgements. Not only do we need to know how to modify our behavior, we need to know how to establish new lifestyles that have the capacity to rejoice in the unearthly ways of the King.
When we perceive His pressure on our world, it is wise to cultivate a way of living that is able to be instructed, so that we learn the attitudes that are pleasing to our coming Lord. (Isaiah 26:10). The seven judgements of the Lord are intended to instruct the Church about her ways, and demand a wise response from the household of God!
B. DEVELOP A WORLD-VIEW THAT SEES YOUR LIFE FROM GOD’S PERSPECTIVE
Serve the Lord with fear is essentially a call to live our lives with a clear understanding of the magnificent majesty of God, and the rightful claim that He has on our lives. We are His people. He calls us to live unto Him according to the sweep of His eternal storyline, not out the littleness of our own temporal perspective. This is living life through the lens of David, of whom Paul recalls in Acts 2: “David served the purposes of God in his generation and then he fell asleep.” (Acts 13:36) David lived his life in radical pursuit of understanding all of Who God is, and what God was doing in his age. The wisest thing a person could do is to give themselves to beholding the magnitude of God, and catching a glimpse of what He is doing in her/his generation, so that she/he may throw her/himself into the Lord’s purposes with abandon. Through the seven judgements of the Lord, He is displaying what He is like, and what He values. He is also summoning those who will lay aside the personal liberties of our culture in order to serve His purposes re: abortion, sexual immorality, Israel, racial relationships and faithfulness in a Sermon-on-the-Mount lifestyle of prayer.
C. REJOICE WITH TREMBLING
Rejoice with trembling. This exhortation is simply stated, and is the most vital of phrases in the Lord’s prescription. The Hebrew word for rejoice is “gheel”. It has a 3-fold meaning: It means to REJOICE; to REPENT and to EXALT. Let’s break these words apart even further:
Gheel = REJOICE with trembling
The first element of this phrase entails an command to shout for joy, with trembling.
Our glorious Bridegroom, Jesus is coming! He is the perfect leader our hearts have always longed for. He is majestic in His beauty. He is also more radiant, holy, powerful and “other” than our senses can bear. Though we are filled with exhilaration at Who He is, we, like John in Revelation 1, fall at His feet like dead men because of the density of His glory. If our hearts do not rejoice, they will flee from the presence of this One. There is coming an hour when it will be supremely wise to have learned to rejoice in Him. To cultivate joy-filled confidence in His goodness no matter what the external circumstances look like. This is a muscle that needs to be developed today. We will have great need of this muscle to carry us through the judgements of God as we transition from this age to the next.
This is the reality Paul describes in 2 Timothy 4:8 “Finally there is a crown of righteousness reserved for me. The Lord, the righteous Judge, will award it to me in that day, and not to me only, but also to all who love His appearing.” This rejoicing, first commandment love for Him actually serves as a protection for our hearts, so that we remain faithful to Him through all the shaking and purifying fires that are about to come upon our world.
A rejoicing Bride, steeped in first commandment love is also the great promise that the Father and the Holy Spirit have made to the Son.
Gheel = REPENT with trembling
The type of repentance that David is exhorting us to here is one that is borne from the revelation of the Son, Himself. In the wake of the revelations of His glory our appropriate, trembling response is repentance. He is perfect and holy and filled with glory. And we… well. When we come at repentance from this angle we see an endless ocean into which we may repent – not merely a dank mud-puddle of unrighteousness that we’re repenting out of.
The most sufficient enticement into repentance is the beauty of Jesus. Every bit of repentance empties into His increase. And the closer He comes, the more we’ll see what and WHO we desire to repent into. The longer we prayed in 2020, the clearer it became that the Lord intends to release a viral repentance in the Church, and in our nation that’s borne out of a viral revelation of Jesus’ beauty.
Ultimately, a spirit of repentance brings us to our own cross; the cross we take up daily. When we come to repentance from this angle, repentance is no longer an avenue unto the salvation of self. Repentance is only the avenue unto the utter loss of self, and all that it promises, for the abject purpose of worshipping and being aligned with the arriving King. Though we love Him, as we yield ourselves to Him we nonetheless tremble at the real pain, the real loss and sacrifice that we endure as we do.
Gheel = EXALT with trembling
The true fact of the matter is, nothing will deter the increase of the Son, and His inheritance of this world. The Psalmist exhorts all of humanity to “Be still and know that He is God. He WILL be EXALTED among the nations.”(Psalm 46:10) The Father, and all of heaven will exalt His Son in that day. It is profoundly wise for the inhabitants of the earth to use times of shaking, like 2020 to acclimate ourselves to that reality. Our world is not going to always remain the same. We’re under the guidance of a Divine timetable. We’re transitioning from the age of the curse, to the age of His blessing.
He’s looking for a people who will exalt and herald the sufficiency of Who He is for this hour of human history. He is the perfect lover of weak human hearts. He is also the perfect judge of that which corrupts love, and His reign of love. And He is coming to earth, to save and to separate. The spirit of exaltation is our RSVP to His inauguration over the governments of this world.
“Come. Let us EXALT His Name together” (Psalm 34:3)
Again, as John beheld the One Who was coming, he cried out: “He must increase. And I must decrease.” (John 3:30) Today is an excellent time to exalt Jesus and give way to His increase. The more we give ourselves to His exaltation, the more we see that this undertaking is even worthy of our decrease.
In the book of Revelation, we have a more complete picture of Jesus Christ than we find anywhere else in the Bible. And the revelation of this Man engenders more of the complete nature of “gheel”, than perhaps anywhere else in the Bible.
“In the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” (Revelation 1:13-18)
The wisest endeavor we could give ourselves to in this hour is to learn to rejoice in, repent unto and exalt the Jesus of these verses.
D. CULTIVATE A LIFE OF INTIMATE WORSHIP
Kiss the Son is an admonition to worship Jesus with intimacy and deep honor and affection. This is the believer’s primary and indispensible power-source in this hour.The more we experience the tenderness of His heart toward us, the more our hearts are tenderized toward Him and His ways. Around the world, the Lord is raising up marvelous communities of praise that are steeping the heart of His Bride in intimate worship. The increase in this dynamic is no accident. It’s a bonafide, strategic movement of the Spirit intended to strengthen and exhilarate the Church through the exaltation of the beauty of the Son.
Even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. (Isaiah 56:7)
E. DEVELOP A MATURE THEOLOGY OF GOD’S ANGER AND WRATH
But the phrase also says, “…lest He be angry and you perish in the way when His wrath is kindled but a little”. Why would Jesus be angry? As His reign dawns on the earth, should we not acknowledge all that He is, all that He’s done to show us mercy, and all that He’s capable of, He is right to consider us as rebels to His leadership. There are real reasons to fear the anger of a perfectly loving God Whom we resist. The choice is ours. See Him for Who He is, and let His love overwhelm us, or resist His reign and declare that He is unfit to rule the world, and your heart.
“But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourselves in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed!” (Romans 2:5)
Those who resist His love, and essentially make this declaration against God will perish, meaning, they will be bannished from the life-giving reign of the Lord. Many who perish will be real, Church-going, Bible-reading Christians. Many will be leaders who operated in the rhetoric of delusion, who failed to surrender their view of themselves and the world when God revealed His perspective through His judgements. Millions will suffer loss (1 Corinthians 3:15; James 3:1) And some will be lost altogether. (Matthew 7:23; Matthew 25:12)
“So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and gathered the grapes from the vineyard of the earth and tossed them into the great winepress of the wrath of God.” (Revelation 14:19) “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:6)
Beloved, the Lord’s wrath is about to be “kindled but a little”.
F. SECURE THE BLESSING THAT COMES FROM TRUSTING THE WAY OF THE LORD
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. As the Lord illuminates our hearts with His judgements, He is inviting us into the way of faith; to trust what He is saying about our lives, our churches, our beliefs, our politics, our society, and our heart attitudes. Putting our trust in Him looks like the Church giving themselves intently to what the Lord is saying, establishing ways of “seeking His face”, listening to His Words, heeding His directions, repenting of everything that is out of line with His heart, and learning to revel in His ascending beauty. Those who relate to God in this way during the time of trouble will experience the blessing of the Lord. Their heart will be kept safe. Their voice will be honored and empowered. They will experience the anointing of the Lord. They will understand themselves to be favored, and smiled upon by their Father in heaven as He is preparing a place for them in His Son’s emerging Kingdom.
The alternative to trusting the Lord is to live under the weight of the flesh-trusting curse described in Jeremiah 17.
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert. And shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness. In a salt land which is not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord… The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart. I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways…” (Jeremiah 17:5-7; 9-10)
The veraicity of our trust should be a matter of great dialogue with the Lord in prayer.
Friends, I can’t overemphasize what a vital passage Psalm 2 is for the Church to understand and apply in this hour! As we concluded our 180 days of prayer in 2020, the Lord led us to the narrative of this Psalm again and again. It was abundantly clear that He was telling us: “It is soundly prudent for you to thoroughly respond to these directives.”
Praying and growing in these dynamic realities is how we respond well to the judgements of the Lord. In this way the Bride makes herself ready for His return.
“See that you do not refuse Him Who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him Who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him Who speaks from heaven.” (Hebrews 12:25)
JSB • March, 2021