“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. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, ‘But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain. I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, you shall shatter them like earthenware.’ Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; take warning, judges of the earth. Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” (Psalm 2)
This psalm is the first of the so-called Messianic psalms, meaning that it speaks prophetically about the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the anointed One. It is a testimony to the divine inspiration of the Scriptures. Jesus Himself said that the psalms spoke of Him. In Luke 24:44 we read, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled“. This psalm talks about Jesus as the Son of God, His office as king over heaven and earth, and that they will wage war against Him. If you read the psalm carefully you will see that it is build up in four parts, and that each part is a different voice.
The Voice of the Nations
“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!‘” (Psalm 2:1-3)
Their is a fight going on. The kings of the earth have taken their stand and counsel together against God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. You could say this began in the time of Babel when men took counsel together, thinking that when mankind is united they have a better change against God. This is also seen in the Book of Acts when the first persecution broke out against the church, we’re told that the apostles, Peter and John, after they had been threatened, returned back to the church to give their report. Here is this movement, beginning when Pilate joined up with the religious rulers and Herod in order to put Jesus to death. This is a movement against God and Christ, and it is heading for a climax. In Acts 4:24-28 we read, “And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, ‘O Lord, it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and that is in them, who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, ‘why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples devise futile things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.’ 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 purpose predestined to occur.” This is obviously a vain thing to do, thinking that you can win from God. Yet Satan thought he could do it, and Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters” (Matthew 12:30), and so the vain thing is very much a reality we have to deal with.
And what are the shackles and cords that is talked about? Those who oppose the Lord think of God that He is someone who brings bondage. The Ten Commandments, the rule of the Law of the Old Testament, marriage, heterosexuality can all be considered, by the unbeliever, cords by which we are bound. Yet Paul says, “But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:22-23). And Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17), and in answer to the question what the greatest commandment in the Law is, Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). To love the Lord is freedom. Freedom from the bondage of sin (freedom from “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (1 John 2:16)), and freedom from eternal punishment and wrath.
The Voice of the Father
“He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, ‘But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain” (Psalm 2:4-6)
I love this verse. God looks at man and how he tries to plot against Him, and just laughs. He’s not afraid, confused or depressed. He laughs. He isn’t pacing back and forth in the throne room of heaven, wondering what He should do next. He laughs. God sits in perfect peace and assurance, yet doesn’t remain inactive. He laughs, but not only laughs. He takes action. Yet before He acts, He speaks. I think great mmercy is shown by God here. He has every reason to act against man, but in His love and mercy He speaks a word of warning. He speaks of a way out. He has set a king upon His holy mountain, Jesus! A beautiful passage can be found in Isaiah which is worth mentioning here. “I have not spoken in secret, in some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in a waste place’; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, declaring things that are upright. Gather yourselves and come; draw near together, you fugitives of the nations; they have no knowledge, who carry about their wooden idol and pray to a god who cannot save. Declare and set forth your case; indeed, let them consult together who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. They will say of Me, ‘only in the LORD are righteousness and strength’ Men will come to Him, and all who were angry at Him will be put to shame.” (Isaiah 45:19-24).
The Voice of the Son
“I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, you shall shatter them like earthenware.’” (Psalm 2:7-9)
It is completely in line with how the Son, Jesus, relates to the Father. Jesus Himself said, “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak” (John 12:49). He echoes and confirms the promise of the Father to us. Jesus remembers what God the Father said to Him, identifying Him as the Son of the Father. To beget means to procreate or generate offspring. Jesus was not created, rather He created everything that was created (Colossians 1:16-17). God the Father “has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). We read in Revelation what happens when Jesus returns: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘King of kings, and Lord of lords'” (Revelation 19:11-16).
The Voice of the Spirit
Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; take warning, judges of the earth. Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” (Psalm 2:10-12)
In this last part of the psalm we see the Holy Spirit taking on the role as counselor, and counsels the kings of the earth to give up their foolish attempts to overthrow God. He instructs them to worship the Lord with reverance and rejoice with trembling, to surrender to God and give Him the proper reverence. In Psalm 5:7 it says “but as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house, at Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You.” The Hebrew says to kiss (nashaq) the Son. The root of this word means “to catch fire, burn, kindle,” and so paying homage is a proper context here.
Where Psalm 1 begins with a beatitude, Psalm 2 ends with one. Verse 10 talks about the mind. We should show discernment and take warning. The “counsel of the wicked” (Psalm 1:1) has led the ungodly astray. “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20). Verse 11 talks about the heart. We should worship Jesus! Verse 12 talks about the will. We should surrender to Jesus. “And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered” (Joel 2:32), because “the LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him.” (Nahum 1:7). Beautiful!