Thursday, 27 January 2022
who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
‘Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things? Acts 4:25
The previous verse began quoting the words of the group of disciples after having received Peter and John’s report about the events that occurred at the council. The quoting of their words continues now by saying, “who by the mouth.”
Rather than “by,” the Greek reads “who through the mouth.” It is an absolute confirmation of the doctrine of divine inspiration. God spoke through the mouth of another to convey His words, breathing out the very thoughts He chose to set forth. This goes along with Peter’s words from his second epistle where he said, “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
In the case of the words to be quoted, they were through the mouth “of Your servant David.” David’s words fill the psalms. They are also found in the books of Samuel. The content David set forth in these songs and psalms is literally filled with anticipations of the coming Messiah.
God saw the life and actions of David and knew that how he conducted his affairs, how he expressed himself, and how the world around him responded to his actions would mirror how Christ Jesus would live and be treated. As such, God spoke through David to provide the world a snapshot of what was coming. This is why it is noted that David was a man after God’s own heart. That is seen in the psalm now to be quoted. Of them, those words of God “have said.”
The verb is singular. The Lord alone is noted as having said the following words, even though it is said to be through the mouth of David. With this note, the words of the psalm to be cited in this verse comprise Psalm 2:1. They begin with –
“Why did the nations rage.” An aorist verb is used. In the Hebrew, which is often deficient in tenses, it simply says something like, “Why rage nations?” However, the words are quoted from the Greek translation of the Old Testament, and the assumption is that the action has happened. Thus, the disciples are identifying the event with what occurred in Christ’s coming. He was raged against by the nations.
The word they use is an interesting one, found only here in the New Testament, phruassó. It signifies “to snort” or to neigh in a vehement manner as a horse would. Thus, the nations acted in a manner not unlike an uncontrolled, snorting horse.
As the council’s decision hasn’t changed anything, it can be lumped in with all that has previously happened. From there, the second clause of the verse is cited, saying, “And the people plot vain things?”
The word “people” is plural. Hence, it should say, “And the peoples plot vain things.” The idea is parallel to the previous clause placing the “nations” along with “peoples.” This is without regard to Jews and Gentiles. It is a way of expressing that there was a united effort by all to rage and to plot. One can see the actions of both Israel and Rome being united as a stand against the Person of Christ.
The “vain things” referred to are things that are foolish. Both in the Hebrew and in the Greek, the word signifies “empty.” Thus, in a moral way, it is ineffective, foolish, and so on. Despite raging and plotting, their actions fail. It is as if a wind is blowing against a stone wall. The wall remains unaffected by it. The question shows the futility of the actions of those who came against Christ. God’s purposes in Him were realized because nothing could thwart them.
Life application: When you read the Bible, how do you consider what you are reading? Is it a book that simply conveys morals from a Mideastern perspective? It is a book that simply contains the word of God as if His thoughts are satisfactorily expressed in it? Is it book about the things of God with ideas that are conveyed to detail what man thinks is expected of Him from God’s perspective? Do you view it in some other way that hints at such a notion? Or when you read the Bible, do you say to yourself, “This is the word of God”?
How you consider this book, and how you approach its contents, has all of the importance in the world as to how you will then respond to what it says. The Bible, right in its own words, claims to be uttered out by God, even if it is through men. As this is so, should we not consider it as sacred, holy, and even terrifying?
The Lord, through Isaiah, tells us who is pleasing to God in regard to His word –
“Thus says the Lord:
‘“Heaven is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.
Where is the house that you will build Me?
And where is the place of My rest?
2 For all those things My hand has made,
And all those things exist,”
Says the Lord.
“But on this one will I look:
On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
And who trembles at My word.’” Isaiah 66:1, 2
The whole creation belongs to the Lord. Everything came from His hand, but the Lord favors the part of His creation that respects, honors, and exalts His word. The one who trembles at it as is it read is more pleasing to Him than any of the magnificent things that He has placed in the heavens and upon the earth. Be sure to consider this as you read and contemplate this sacred word that we have been given to illuminate the path upon which we tread.
Thank You, Lord God Almighty, for the precious and exalted word that You have allowed us to read and to enlighten our lives by if we choose to do so. You have allowed us to accept it or reject it without forcing it upon us. What will we do with it during this short life we live? Help us to consider it rightly and to cherish its every word. In it, we will find life, because in it we will find Jesus. Praise God for this wonderful word. Amen.