Rage and Peace
“Why do the heathen rage… against the LORD… saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” (Psalm 2:1-3 KJV) “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.” (Psalm 23:1-2)
The two short passages provided above offer drastically different pictures that are worth considering.
Psalm 2 is a prophecy about mankind’s final hours upon earth. The picture we are presented is a worldwide tumult. What explanation can there be for the world’s entire population to be in a rage? I believe I know the answer.
We live in a world of tremendous technological advance. This has allowed most people of this world to taste various pleasures and forms of entertainment that has left them longing for more. Lust of any kind is a hellish existence which causes people to live in a state of continual dissatisfaction. In fact, the more a person gives over to his lust, the more driven he will be to satisfy it. A sweating, shaking heroin addict is a vivid picture of what happens in a lustful person’s soul.
The Bible seems to indicate that the years leading up to the Great Tribulation will be a period of intensifying lust. Then God will begin to let loose terrible plagues and catastrophes. Revelation 18 is a depiction of the world and all of its allurements collapsing as men cry out in anguish at their loss.
Those who are ever grasping for the devil’s token pleasures will ultimately—whether at the end of this age or in hell itself—live in a constant state of frustration and agitation that the Psalmist rightly calls “rage.”
Consider the contrast to this spirit offered in the opening verses of Psalm 23. Those who allow the Lord to lead them—rather than the inherent lusts of the flesh—will find a life of contentment and fulfillment. What a tranquil and serene picture is offered in the words, “I shall not want.” Not only will the true believer not lack anything necessary for their lives, but he will also be marked for his inner tranquility. He will not be driven by the “want,” the lust or the obsession with the fleeting pleasures of this world.
In a culture that caters to every whim a person might want to satisfy, how can believers live a calm, contented life? The allegory of Psalm 23 provides the two primary answers.
First, the Good Shepherd will never lead His people into a lust-filled life. If they are truly His sheep, they will know His voice and will be led by His staff. He will keep them in perfect peace. They will not be wild goats, running all over the countryside in a vain and futile endeavor to find grass that always seems greener elsewhere.
Second, they will be known for the regular intervals they spend “beside quiet waters.” It is the very thing you are doing right now, dear one. You have quieted your soul and are spending precious time in His presence. It is there that your spirit will be refreshed and your flesh will be subdued.
Let us continue on our journey with a clear sense about the different destinations which lust and contentment will take us.
And how about you? When you examine the way you live your daily life, would you consider yourself to be a person of calm contentedness or one who is driven by desire?