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Vol.  10  No. 3 March 2008  Page 15
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Andy RobisonGod Reigns Over the Nations

By Andy Robison

    The Psalmist’s declaration should bring comfort to the Christian citizen: “God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne” (Psalm 47:8). Christ’s disciples who populate the United States of America wonder (sometimes, perhaps, anxiously?) about the outcome of war, the result of adversarial politicking and the consequences of the waning morality of the public. Is the nation rapidly traversing the gulf from righteousness and God’s blessing to the sort of wickedness that inevitably provokes God’s wrath?

    Bible students know the history of God’s dealings with kingdoms, whether chosen Israel of old or anyone else. Of the once chosen nation (Deuteronomy 7:6) who engulfed themselves in iniquity, God promised, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). When they would not, they were punished and scattered (2 Kings 17, 24-25). The Almighty God employed the kings and armies of other nations to execute His wrath. Assyria thought his conquering was of his own might, but the nation was just a pawn in the plan of the All-Powerful (Isaiah 10:5-11). Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was designated by God to be lifted up and have all nations serve him (Jeremiah 27:5-8), but that same Babylon would be quickly destroyed (Isaiah 13-14). “Hell from beneath” would be “excited” about meeting this corrupt kingdom (Isaiah 14:9).

    It is this Nebuchadnezzar that dramatizes the way in which God rules in the kingdoms of men. His dream of a statue of metals of varying values served as God’s tool for the prediction of world kingdoms to follow his own (Daniel 2). His dream of a glorious tree chopped down was the predictor of his own temporary insanity that taught him the lesson of the ages: “That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men” (Daniel 4:17b; cf. 4:25; 5:21).

    This lesson is not lost after Old Testament times. Indeed, Paul’s inspired affirmation was, “He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings” (Acts 17:26). The lesson, from Jeremiah, of the potter and the clay still holds true. The Lord said:

“The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it” (Jeremiah 18:7-10 NKJV).

    If America continues its degradation into immorality, materialism and violence, God’s judgment may come sooner, rather than later. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). The intensifying evil of the land is reason for Christians to be active in government within the constraints of godliness and lawfulness (Matthew 22:15-22; Romans 13:1-6; Acts 5:29). It is reason to exercise Constitutional freedom of speech and freedom of religion for the good of fellow citizens. It is reason to vote for candidates who come closest to standing for principles of life, godliness, morality and concern for the poor. It is reason to write Senators and Representatives with concerns from, yes, a biblical perspective. Surely, it is reason to continue the work of the Great Commission. For if more are converted to Christianity, perhaps more godliness will produce a penitent nation in God’s sight. Nineveh repented from the top ruler on down (Jonah 3). Could America hope for the same?

    Yet, what if the worst would happen? What if the godly can muster only a minority of votes and policies are determined by the wayward, the idolatrous and the humanistic? What if fraudulent evolutionary theory is, without interruption, backed by legislative mandate, judicial review and popular support? What if abortion continues undaunted? What if the poor are continually cast off? What comfort does God’s reign give the citizen disturbed at what just might be a successful assault on Christianity and the prospect of a godless society?

The Present Kingdom is Under Higher Control

    The faith of the American need not rise and fall based on the perceived desirability of presently elected officials. Faint not when those of ungodly positions prevail (Psalm 37:1). The leaders of an earthly kingdom are but appointed ministers of God’s reward and wrath (Romans 13:4, 6). The God who created earth also controls its nations, and in some imperceptible manner does so without violating man’s free will. He raises up kings when He wishes. He casts rulers down when their pride warrants. He gives rule in the kingdom of men “to whomever He chooses” (Daniel 4:25). He is the one ultimately and always in control. Faith in God’s providential working supersedes hope in favored officials.

The Christian Can Endure Through Any Kingdom

    Further, God’s people can endure through any change of kingdoms. Daniel was taken captive from Judah by Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 1:1-7), and prospered in a foreign land throughout the seventy years of captivity. He would have seen the Babylonian kingdom ruled by three or four more emperors. By divine dream interpretation, he predicted the end of Babylonian rule and then witnessed the takeover that very night (Daniel 5). He thrived in three different kingdoms (the Judean, Babylonian and Persian), witnessing earth-shattering and prophesied transfers of power.

    His well-being was punctuated, though, by moments of persecution. In youth, he boldly stood up against Babylonian eating customs (Daniel 1). In old age, he challenged the unalterable Medo-Persian law, and endured a night with the lions (Daniel 6). Christians all over the modern world face persecution that tests the genuineness of their faith (1 Peter 1:7). Yet, they endure. Bible teaching, in its purity, was propagated, although outlawed, in the atheistic Soviet Union. Some Muslim extremist countries may threaten professed Christians, but they cannot stop the peaceful spread of pure truth. Could increasing antagonism come in America? Could there someday even be a dramatic change of governmental systems? If so, what is a Christian to do? Endure in hope, trusting the God who is able to deliver from anyone’s hands (Daniel 3:16-18), even if the relief and exoneration is not apparent until “the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7).

The Christian Is a Part of an Eternal Kingdom

    Followers of Christ put their faith in a kingdom like neither the Babylonian nor any of its successors. This kingdom does not rely on earthly warfare for its gain. Inasmuch as it was represented by a stone cut out of a mountain without the aid of hands, it will grow and prosper without the devious or violent political machinations of mankind (Daniel 2:45). The weapons of its warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God to pull down any stronghold that would try to withstand (2 Corinthians 10:4). This kingdom, being spiritual, does not rely on, sponsor, or even approve physical fighting for its advancement (John 18:36). Nevertheless, this kingdom is eternal, having one King that will forever rule (Daniel 2:44; Luke 1:32-33). This kingdom gains its subjects not by force but by love. Its territory is not ground, but rather the hearts of men (Luke 17:20-21). It is the church Jesus established during the lifetime of those who heard Him in His ministry (Matthew 16:18-19; Mark 9:1). This kingdom has endured through all the wars and rumors of wars since its establishment on Pentecost (Acts 2:38-47). Those who obey the Gospel are translated from the power of the world to this kingdom (Colossians 1:13), wherein they will be presented to God in the last day (1 Corinthians 15:24).

    Today, men and women who desire an assurance that rises far above the fragility of any earth-bound nation’s success will place their faith in the God who controls kingdoms, and, by obedience, place themselves in the kingdom that endures forever. God reigns over the nations; Christ reigns in His kingdom. These facts ought to bolster the spirits of the true.

God Reigns Over the Nations


God reigns over the nations;
God sits on His holy throne.
Our God, the Most High God,

Doth rule in the kingdom of men.


He raises up kings and rulers casts down,
Appointing all boundaries and times.

The power He gives to whomever He will,

But yields not control from on high.

The proud He collapses; the lowly He saves,
Submission of hearts He demands.
The nations who willingly humble themselves
Will be the dominions that stand.

The stone from a mountain, cut out without hands,
This kingdom will never be conquered.

Against it hell’s gates shall never prevail,

Its throne will be left to no other.

That throne sits on high in the depths of men’s hearts,
Won over by willing surrender.
A warfare with weapons too carnal a fare,
No tyrant, our King, but our Father.
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