Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” Psalm 2:1-3 (NKJV)
There are a couple of different ideas expressed in this passage. The first is the hostility and rebellion of the world against God. The nations are raging and the people are plotting. The idea behind the nations raging is that of an angry mob shouting in rebellion and defiance. The idea is less about any sort of internal feeling than it is the outward agitation that shows it. Not only are the nations raging but the people are plotting and scheming. In my mind I picture groups of people huddled together in a dark room making their plans.
The coalition of rulers has come together against a common enemy. The enemy is God and His anointed King. They are raging and plotting against God. They are coming together to throw off His rule. In determined hatred they come in opposition to God and His anointed King. This is not a momentary fit of rage. This is a deep seated hatred of God, His Son and His rule. This attack won’t be a hasty thoughtless attack. It is a deliberate and calculated attack with the very definite goal of throwing off God’s rule.
What we see from this passage is that there is a very definite hatred against the person of God. Their rebellion is against Him as He is revealed in the Bible.
They hate a God who is Holy.
They hate a God who is sovereign.
They hate a God who will hold them accountable.
There is also a very definite hatred of God’s anointed King, Jesus.
There is a hatred for the Savior who died because His death declares they are sinners.
There is a hatred for the Savior who rose from the dead because His resurrection declares they are hopeless apart from Him.
There is a hatred for the Savior who says, “Take up your cross and follow me” because this declares that He makes demands on their life.
David pictures mankind seeking to throw off all God given Biblical restraints. This is evident in our world today. Many if not most seem to find Biblical standards offensive and unacceptable. Talk to someone about God’s standard for marriage, sexual purity, sin, salvation and the coming judgment and you just might see people raging.
The raging and scheming against God that we see in our day is not new. It has been happening since the early parts of the book of Genesis and it will continue until the end of time. It’s important for believers to understand that this is the way it is and the way it will be. This sort of raging and scheming isn’t going to get any better, if anything it’s going to get worse.
The second idea in this passage is David’s attitude towards the raging and the plotting. When you read this the idea is that David is astonished at the raging and plotting. It’s almost like he’s wondering what on earth makes these people think it’s a good idea to rage and plot against the Lord. He describes their plots as vain things. They are making empty fruitless plans when they are plotting against the Lord. It is an exercise in futility that makes David wonder why they would waste their time doing something as absurd as rage and plot against God.
I love this because it should be our attitude as well. David is fully confident in God. So confident in fact that he’s not the slightest bit worried about their raging and their plotting. We shouldn’t be afraid when the people rage and plot against God and His anointed King. Jesus is mightier than the raging of the nations. Jesus is greater than the schemes of man. We can trust in these truths. When we do trust in these things the raging and plotting of the world won’t shake us, instead it will lead us to shake our heads and say, “What a waste of time.” No matter how mankind rebels Jesus will ultimately be victorious.