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Psalm 2 and Atheism

 Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing?
 The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!” He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.” “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.'” Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! 

A short Psalm that has helpful observations for the Christian when dealing with a belligerent atheist.  I won’t make this a long post that is painful to read, rather, I will try to make some simple points that help guide a Christian in answering someone who is actively antagonistic to the claims of Jesus Christ.

  1. The hate and the vitriol is simply because there is the perception that God binds them and restricts them and they hate him for it.  It is true, He does and they know it.  If they follow Jesus they cannot follow their own designs.  But they believe that their path brings freedom when all it really does is wrap them tightly in the fetters of rebellion.  The funny thing about atheism is that they believe there is no God and yet invest massive quantities of emotion and effort to try to prove it.  If he really doesn’t exist then at best they should shake their head in pity to the fool who does, much like we would to the one who believes the moon is made of green cheese.
  2. God is unimpressed and finds them mock-worthy.  He will speak in judgment and until he speaks there is no reason to spend a lot of time trying to defend him.  The Christian proclaims a gospel that is foolishness and weakness, therefore we do not stand amazed when it (and we) are called foolish and weak.
  3. God has established his King (Jesus).  He has granted him full authority over all things.  Even the atheist is under the dominion of Jesus.  But note that in his time he shall express that dominion in a terrifying manner.  They shall be broken and shattered.
  4. Therefore, all who hear come to a point of decision: They fear the Lord and worship him, or they don’t.  They worship Jesus as their Lord and their Master or they don’t.  One choice brings favor and the other anger.
  5. The one who chooses Jesus is in an enviable position, for Jesus shall recompense all for whom they love and whom they follow. 

Pastoral Prayer from Psalm 11

Summary of this Psalm: David is in danger of his life; and fearful and faint-hearted counselors are trying to get him to flee and find safety by running away.  But David is full of unshaken faith in God.  The result is that he rejects the counsel of the friends, believes that the Lord is still the sovereign King and speaks accordingly.  He knows that God may try and test His servants, but He shall never forsake them.  Therefore, David understands that it is not the righteous, but the wicked who truly should fear. (from The Book of Psalms, Perowne, p. 171)

Father, You are my refuge

A fortress that cannot be shaken

A stronghold that cannot be breached.

A hiding place that is truly hidden

From the searching eyes of my enemies.

But,

I find that there are so many voices

Innumerable whispers

To flee and not run

To wander and not focus my eyes upon Jesus

To trust in man, when man always fails

To give up when I know my Lord has won the battle.

So,

Silence these calls to flee

Let your unfailing promises ring in my ears

And the glory of the bloody Cross stand before me

As I contemplate my Risen King.

Father, the foundations of our land are failing,

We stand on the precipice of failure

Good is now bad and bad is now good.

Lips are loosened that should be silent

While, mouths are closed that should be crying out as one in the wilderness

Father, may your Spirit open our eyes to your settled gaze

You who sit above the vain murmurings of man

You who test the hearts of man

Knowing what they don’t even know themselves

Seeing what only the Creator can see.

Let your wrath be kindled in due time

That judgment and justice might flow like a river

Sweeping all who love wickedness in the lake of your wrath.

Finally Father, cause your face to shine up your children

Let our sorrow be turned back to joy

Our burdens be fully lifted,

Our tears be wiped away.

Until that time, let us continue to proclaim in life and deed

That our Lord reigns

In righteousness

In mercy

In faithfulness

And in love.

Pastoral Prayer from Psalm 5

Our Father, it is with hearts that have great need that we come to you today.

Hearts that have sadness.
Hearts that have discouragement.
Hearts that have bitterness or envy.
Hearts that are under great temptation.

So we come today to you as our King and our God.

Oh Father, rise up and strengthen our hearts to trust you fully.
Let us dwell upon your great works and your mercy that is everlasting.
Let us learn to pray with a mind that is expectant, looking for your answer and knowing of your great love for your children.

My Lord and Maker, the words of this Psalm both encourages me and causes me to fear. It is a true statement that

you hate all who sin;
you abhor the murderer and the liar;
you shall destroy all who are not holy and righteous.

And with this in mind, I can only come to you because I have been cleansed by the blood of your own precious Son.

It is through His death and resurrection that any of us can come and let
our needs,
our joys,
our burdens,
and our desires be known to you.

And with that I am eternally grateful.

I give thanks for a salvation that is so complete and so full.
I give thanks that you loved me with an everlasting love that was before I was even created.
I give thanks that you perfectly draw people to yourself through your Son.
I give thanks that none who are saved by Jesus Christ shall be lost.
I give thanks that you have given us the Holy Spirit to guide us, to strengthen us, to teach us, to open our minds to your beauty and your greatness.

Father, we are all guilty sinners here today.

Let those who have trusted in your Son rejoices that they are forgiven and made anew.
And dear Father, will you I ask that you be pleased to bring those here today who are not saved to your Son.
That they would believe in Him and be saved.
That they would finally rest from their own efforts to save themselves and simply find rest and salvation at the Cross of Christ.

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