Whole continents, countries, and communities are in open conflict with God as they rebel against him, war against his word, and revoke his laws. With arrogance and aberrant wills “lawmakers” facilitate lawlessness by annulment of the moral code of our Christian heritage and condoning and encouraging delinquent behaviour in every area of private and civic life. Corruption screams from the high places and personal lives endeavour to conceal the practice of private sins that degrade our humanity and diminish or destroy others. Behind many neighbourhood doors there are many loveless and unhappy homes dominated by hurtful relationships or harmful habits. The rage within each human heart is contributing its part to a colossal, cataclysmic storm that will overwhelm us all unless God raises his pacifying hand against it through the influences of his grace.
Davos represents the great ones of the world grappling with the struggles, problems, and conflicts of the world with the best wits and wisdom that mankind can summon. It is man relying on man and leaning on his own resources and ingenuity. Perhaps in the providential goodness of God such international and political exercises in diplomacy and discussion will be able to alleviate current and looming troubles temporarily, but the errant will and selfish desires of human beings will always perpetuate the cruelty and chaos that every age of man has had to endure. The study of history is a heartbreaking occupation, a record of human misery and misconduct. Purely human optimism is unfounded.
In spite of all the doleful prospects ahead of us, and the experts are not holding back (unless its more bad news than we can take), the season of Epiphany is a season of bright hope. It encourages us to concentrate on a kingdom, not of this world, where justice, righteousness, love, and joy will prevail. King David of Jerusalem was a chosen but exceedingly flawed symbol of this perfect reign that the prophesied Lord Jesus would himself fulfil. Until now the human race has registered its vote: we will not have this man to rule over us. But he has come as God’s promise to an ailing world and by God’s power he will reign.
Most probably it was David who, from his own circumstances related to divine revelation, was able to forecast in the second psalm the installation of the ideal king that he prefigured. In Psalm 2 David outlines a fallen world’s refusal to pay homage to the Lord’s Anointed. Self reliance and man’s preferred policy clashes with the holy will of God which is seen to be restrictive of personal or national ambition. Pride and avarice motivate people and potentates, political and profit -seeking. Power, envy, and greed fuel their careers of influence and exploitation. They throw off the fetters of compassion and responsibility forgetting that all offices of authority are opportunities for service of God and their fellows. They can become despotic and neurotic abusing their people at whim or using them for personal convenience, advancement, gratification, and enrichment. Violation of human dignity and unwarranted violence are infringements of God’s great second commandment – the love of neighbour. Failure to defer to him in all things and honour his Name is to revolt against his sovereignty and waive his commands. Genuine love and reverence for God is scarcely discernible on the world scene. Therefore our woes and misfortunes are self-wrought.
In his benevolence towards us God has pledged a regime change for mankind to be administered by the Royal Prince of heaven. He has been appointed and equipped by the One enthroned. The entire earth is his inheritance and he will come to put things right in his domain. Evil will not be tolerated and recalcitrant evil -doers will be overcome and expelled. The tables will be turned and the haughty, hardened scoffers of God will find themselves scoffed at by God and hear his laughter ringing in their ears. It is to be a resounding victory for the Lord of righteousness and good.
Scripture appeals to the great ones of the earth to learn humility and dependence before God. An amnesty is always broadcast to the nations and they are persuaded to turn to the Lord as their counsellor and refuge. Judgement until the final assessment is always conditional. Predictions of future events and especially the last times are always hazardous and usually impertinent. But we are warned that every trend is a portent of the end and the culmination of our tenancy on earth. Some time the day to end all days will dawn and everyone will be called to account. Every knee will bow and the sons of the kingdom will pay sincere obeisance to their Lord. They have waited and watched for him. They have anguished over the crimes and ills of the men of the world. They will have commended the kingdom to come and pointed to the Saviour who will institute it in due course. They will have pined for men to kiss the Son and be the recipients of his welcoming kiss for them. They will have thrilled to the pronouncement of the Epiphany-tide blessing: Christ the Son of God gladden your hearts with the good news of his kingdom. Amen. Therefore, you kings be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling (Ps 2:10-11).