A Wisdom Retreat - December 17

The Last Laugh

Psalm 2:1-4

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.

To oppose God is a foolish thing. The Psalmist says that God laughs from heaven as He watches corrupt humans doing their best to deflect His will. Even the best attempts seem to backfire against them, as God uses their own corruption to further His sovereign plan in the world. 

Have you ever seen this happen? God turns something that was meant to oppose Him into something that is useful in spreading the gospel. According to David, God actually has a sense of humor, too, and He always gets the last laugh. 

I remember viewing the funeral service of Richard Nixon. It was being broadcast all around the world. To my amazement, I watched as Billy Graham, the well-known evangelist, stepped up to the podium. He had been invited to be the keynote speaker of the service, much to the chagrin of many in the audience. The liberal media was literally roped in, forced into giving free airtime to this preacher as he delivered the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Millions of people throughout the world gathered around their television sets to watch the event unfold. Ungodly politicians cringed in their designated seats as Graham preached to them the gospel of sin and hell, forgiveness and heaven. And they couldn't go anywhere—they were literally stuck in God's trap! They could do nothing else but listen as Graham boldly called them all "sinners in need of the Lamb of God, who died on your behalf." His message was clear, and at the conclusion he gave everyone an opportunity to accept the claims of Jesus Christ and find forgiveness at the foot of His cross. The gospel was preached in the faces of those who despised it. I imagined the hosts of heaven laughing. 

Atheistic Romania was once ruled by a man who, to the core of his being, hated Christ. Masses of Christians were persecuted throughout his regime as he continually blasphemed the name of God. However, just when he thought he had the upper hand on Christianity, God took his life. A short time later, seven graduates walked across a seminary platform in Arad, Romania. One of them was a pastor from Zalow, who had once been poisoned by the communist tyrant but had survived. He, along with former dentists, an engineer, and a newspaper editor, determined to spend the rest of their lives preaching the gospel to their countrymen. God laughed at the feeble attempts of that dead communist tyrant. 

During the "Age of Enlightenment" in the 1700s, deism was sweeping Europe. In the midst of this development, Voltaire, the infamous French skeptic, proclaimed that within fifty years the Bible would be forgotten and Christianity would be a thing of the past.  He penned these words: "You have seen what one Jew did to create Christianity; I will show you what one Frenchman will do to destroy it."  Yet on his deathbed he screamed to his doctor, "I am abandoned by God and man!  I shall go to hell!" 

Tragic . . . and no laughing matter. 

Prayer Point: Joseph understood this truth well when he said to his brothers in Egypt: "What you meant for evil, God has meant for good." The same is true today. Thank God that He not only arranges the lives of believers to accomplish His work, but He also acts in the lives of unbelievers to accomplish His work. 

Extra Refreshment: Read Genesis 50.

The Advent Event

December is one of the busiest months of the year. As Christians, we approach the Christmas season with the intention of focusing on the incarnation and making it a significant time. But it's so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the season—the parties, the decorations, the presents and the special events at church. Before we know it, the month of December has flown by, and we wonder where the time went.

One of the most significant things a family can do in December is to be intentional about finding time every day to think about the true meaning of Christmas. The Advent Event is an easy, fun and enriching family project to help focus attention on the birth of Jesus while discovering the big picture of God's plan throughout the entire Bible.

Each day in December, the family sets aside a few minutes together for this activity. There is a simple coloring craft, a story from God's Word and a motion to learn that helps children remember the timeline of Scripture. Most importantly, this resources provides a special family time that Moms and Dads can use to reconnect their families to the spiritual significance of Christmas; the birth of Jesus, our Savior.

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Many ministries today expound on life and illustrate with Scripture;
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Originally published December 17, 2019.