A Simple Word

My great-grandfather, Louis Reeser, had a knack for nicknames.  Not only could he come up with interesting names but they stuck.  It was a trait passed down from his father.  While his own nickname was a plain Lou, his brothers sported names such as Camel, Doc, and Pec.  His children, one of which is my grandma, collected names like Tinse, Cat, Tic, Rap, and Hud.  I never managed to acquire a Reeser nickname, although my brother was often called Daver. One time, when I was a kid, a Sunday School teacher was presenting the story of Esther.  Somewhere along the way she mentioned that I had an aunt named Esther. That was news to me!  When I asked mom about it she laughed and said that the teacher was thinking of Aunt Tinse. Grandpa Reeser’s nicknames stuck like glue. With a simple word, the recipient was tagged for life. Which brings us to Ps 33:6-12.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deep in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.
The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.
Psalm 133:6-12 NKJV

For He spoke and it was done. While a king or a president has a great deal of power in what they say, it is nothing compared with God.  A king or president can change laws, grant pardons, command armies, set national goals, and ease fears.  They cannot, however, create something out of nothing with a simple word.  God said “Let there be…” and it was. Light, water, land, a universe of stars, a diversity of life, mankind itself; all from a simple word. The power of a king or a president is puny in comparison.  

The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing. Like it or not God is sovereign.  The rebuttal of course is –  if God is sovereign over the nations why is history overflowing with evil? The Bible is consistent with this.  God, in His sovereignty, allows us to be stupid.  Or to put it in more formal language – to continue until our sin is complete.  Think of Noah’s day, Sodom, The Canaanites, and even ancient Judah and Israel.  All were allowed to choose evil until God said enough is enough.  Why?  Because God has an economy of hope and second chances.  He will allow us, in our own stupidity, to travel down the path of evil until we change or it becomes painfully obvious that repentance is impossible. History is filled with nations that lost their way, became corrupted by power, and suffered the consequences.

While the counsel of the nations ultimately fails, the counsel of the Lord stands forever. God has a plan, he announced it in the garden and we see it unfolding throughout history. You could say that the word of creation is still continuing.  The first acts of creation are about separating; light from darkness, heaven from earth, land from the sea. The second acts of creation are all about filling; plants, fish, birds, animals, and mankind.  In broad strokes, the Old Testament is about separation, the winnowing down of humanity to the coming of the Messiah.  Shem (Noah’s son) was chosen over his two brothers, Abraham out of the line of Shem, Abraham’s grandson Jacob over Esau, Judah out the twelve sons of Jacob, David out of the tribe of Judah, down to a specific baby born in a specific town.  Again, in broad strokes, the New Testament is all about filling, growth, and completion. The fulfillment of which is seen in Revelation 7:9-10, “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’” The center point is Jesus, the Old Testament pointing to Him, the New Testament growing from Him.  

Lastly, the psalmist reminds us, blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. This particular verse is multifaceted.  In the original sense it means Israel; the apple of God’s eye.  In a broader sense, it could mean any nation or community that chooses to follow Christ instead of their own path.  Finally, it can apply to each one of us.  There is a blessing when God is our Lord that far surpasses the ability of “King Me” to lead the nation of “me, myself, and I”.        

Dale Heinold
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