How Do the Nations Rage in Vain?

How Do the Nations Rage in Vain?

Quoting Psalm 2, the early church in Acts 4 prays in a way that shows how the rage and plotting of God’s enemies are in vain.

Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed (Acts 4:25-26).

The point of that citation from Psalm 2 is that the rage and the plotting of Christ’s enemies is in vain.

Why? The next sentence begins with “For.” So the explanation is coming:

For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place (Acts 4:25–28).

The enemies of Jesus rage in vain and plot in vain, because all their plotting is predestined by God. The rage coming out of their mouths is in the script that God wrote centuries before. They think they act sovereignly. But there is only one sovereign. And it’s not them.

So why is the rage in vain? Why is the plotting in vain?

Because the plotting is God’s plan. The rage does not fulfill their purpose but God’s purpose. The enemies’ opposition to God’s purpose is part of the opposed purpose itself.

God’s enemies do not even get the satisfaction of saying: “We frustrated your design at least for a painful season.”

No. Not for one second.

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John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.