“Why do the nations rage and the people plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers of the earth council together, against the Lord and against His anointed saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us’. He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then He will speak to them in His wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, ‘As for me I have set my King on Zion, on my holy hill’.
It is a great question to ask, “why do people rage against God?” The angry atheist has almost become a caricature. People like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins made something of a cottage industry out of raging against God and religion. I can understand David’s concern in this Psalm. He is the king of Israel and when the nations were raging against God it invariably meant they focused their weapons on Israel. The answer to the question seems to be that the people want to cast off any claim God may have on their lives, break the bonds, cast away the cords. They want liberation from God at all costs.
The big question however is, what about me? It is easy to point an accusing finger at a group of pagan nations 3,000 years ago and declare what fools and sinners they were. But that would serve only to make me feel spiritually superior, not only to them but to others with similar thoughts today. What I need to ask is, why do I at times rage against God? Maybe not with fist clenched and spear raised like a Philistine of Assyrian from David’s day. No I am much more sophisticated and passive aggressive in my rage against God. It takes the form of quiet rebellion, of being unhappy with something, discontent with God’s plan, plotting my own course without reference to His will. In some ways that kind of raging is less honest, more dangerous to my soul. God seems to prefer a good stand up fight going toe to toe. He literally wrestled with Jacob over his future, debated face to face with Job the meaning of injustice, in Christ he toppled the tables of thieving money changers in the Temple and famously declared to the Laodiceans in The Book of Revelation that he would rather they were hot or cold towards Him rather than lukewarm, Such a tepid response was worthy only of being spewed.
I suspect the reason for the raging, in all its various forms has always had the same root cause. We human beings want things our way and only our way, all the time. Anyone or anything that inhibits that desire, even the Lord God of the Universe is seen as inhibiting us. How sad that it. God who created me in His image, created me to have dominion over the earth, who desires nothing but ultimate joy and peace for me, is the God I passively rage against in those times when I don’t get the pitiful worthless things in life that I foolishly desire. It makes me think if this wonderful quote from C.S. Lewis, “It would seem that our Lord find our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because we cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” Why do I ever even consider raging against such a God?