Christ in Psalms – 2
Psalm 1 is the gatekeeper of the Psalms pointing us to our need for a Savior, and Psalm 2 confirms that true blessing comes from the Anointed One (or as we saw in chapter 1, through the Blessed Man, Jesus). At this point in time, David is the King and he rules over Israel – along with some Gentile kingdoms. It seems as though the gentile kingdoms want freedom from David and also from the Lord Himself. Through this psalm, David ultimately directs his concerns to God and His sovereign control – finding true blessing in God and urging others to trust in the Lord.
Psalm 2 begins with David questioning people’s actions against God and His anointed. “Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing” (v. 1)? In the same way that a blessed person meditates on God’s Law (Ps. 1:2), the unbeliever meditates (“plots”) on how they can get out from under God’s rule. For David, this is an absurd thought. People are murmuring to each other, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us” (v. 3). Unfortunately, many times people think that the cords that God puts around them are meant for death. They do not see God’s cords as ones of freedom and life. God says this of His cords in Hosea 11:4 – “I drew them with gentle cords, With bands of love, And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them.” This, in part, is a reason why David is so confounded by the people’s actions. God is best, yet people are rejecting Him and His Sovereign care.
While this psalm has immediate implications to David’s time, it quickly surpasses David. We quickly begin to see that David’s life (and David himself) are merely pictures which point to the Anointed One. The apostles Peter and John comment on verses 2-3 by saying: “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.” The prophetic fulfillment of these verses took place in a time when people went against God and His Anointed One. They went to such extreme measures as to have Jesus murdered. They did this in order to break God’s cords. As we think about the death of Jesus, we also must echo David’s confusion. Why would people turn from such great love? Jesus was crucified on behalf of sinners. Jesus absorbed the wrath of God for not just one person, but for millions upon millions of people so that everyone who calls on His name would be saved. Why do people plot against God?
This question becomes more haunting when we realize the just punishment that sinners deserve. David explains that God laughs at them and, as a result, they live in derision. Derision literally means “mockery.” In other words, what God says will happen does happen. He says, “Let there be light” and there is light. God laughs and people live lives of mockery. Do not take this phrase lightly. While this may be hard to grasp (or you may be tempted to judge God) remember that God is so holy that He can laugh, weep and be angry over the same situations, and He accomplishes all for good! Even His wrath and anger are righteous because people are traitors against the true King.
At this moment in the Psalm, David makes it obvious that he is focusing his heart on God’s sovereign plan through the the Messiah. Hebrews 1:5 make it clear that the statements in verses 6-9 are not talking about David. While these verses in Psalm 2 may include some parts of David’s anointing, these verses are actually recording God the Father’s words to God the Son. And, in Acts 13:33, we see that the fulfillment of this verse took place at Jesus’ resurrection. Therefore, people plot in vain because they try to get out from under God – thinking that they can even kill Him. But, that does not work. The Messiah rose from the dead. He has been revealed as the Anointed One throughout the past 2,000 years. During this time, Jesus has been ruling with a rod of iron (a shepherd’s staff). He has been separating (v 6, “break”) His children from the rest of the world until the day He returns again to judge the world and dash all the nations to pieces. At that point in time, there will be one Kingdom and one King! At that time, there will be no more sin. There will be pure righteousness when Jesus brings the New Heaven and New Earth together. The people who are with God in Heaven will serve and love Him with their entire being.
Therefore, David says to the kings, “Be wise. . .be instructed” (v. 10). Because the fulfillment of this is found in Christ, I believe that all Christians should act in similar fashion as David. If Jesus is King, and people have rebelled against Him. We must tell people the news of verses 10-12. We must call people to act in accordance with the truth. “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling” (v. 11). Be enthralled with God. Rejoice in Him, and never take Him lightly. “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him” (v. 12). To follow our own path apart from God and His Anointed One, Jesus, is to follow the path of death. God’s wrath will be kindled in a little while. You may have 60, 80 or maybe 100 years on this earth, but when you look back on your life, it will be as though it were a vapor. And, if you die apart from the Anointed One, you die in your own way. But, this psalm does not stop with the reality of human sinfulness. Instead, it ends with the needed response from every human. As Psalm 1 described the Blessed Man who fulfilled all the requirements, Psalm 2 points us to our need to trust Him. Blessed is anyone who trusts in the Messiah. Blessed is the person who turns to the Anointed One and away from other things for saving.
As I studied this passage, I was reminded of the time Jesus ate with the Pharisees. There was a woman who was a known “sinner.” This woman, in tears brought oil to wash Jesus’ feet. She wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair and tears – never ceasing to kiss His feet. I’m reminded of this story because of the words of Psalm 2: “Kiss the Son.” That means that everyone must come to Him in humility. This woman in Luke 7 knew that she was a sinner. She knew what she deserved, and she wept before the One Who really saves. The result was that Jesus forgave her. But, He did not forgive her because of her actions. He forgave her because He is the Savior, and she trusted in Him (Lk. 7:50).
Why do the nations rage? Why do people plot against God the Father and the Anointed One? Blessed/Happy are those who trust in Him!