Personally, I love the psalms. If I’m going to get my Bible and just read, not worrying about daily Bible reading plans or anything like that, just read, I’m almost certainly going to the Psalms. I have certain Psalms that I like best. Certain ones I use when I pray. Certain ones I use when I’m discouraged. Psalm 2 isn’t a “go to” Psalm for me and it’s probably not one for you either. But it should be, especially if we are looking for reasons why believers need not respond to a culture that is increasingly hostile toward our faith with fear-filled hand wringing. Let’s survey Psalm 2 and be reminded of the greatness of our God.
God Isn’t Surprised By Man’s Rebellion– “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)
The passage speaks about the hostility and rebellion of the world against God. The nations are raging and the people are plotting. The picture behind the nations raging is that of an angry mob shouting in rebellion and defiance. This is less about any sort of internal feeling than it is the outward agitation that shows it.
It pictures a coalition of rulers coming 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. This is not a momentary fit of rage. This is a deep seated hatred of God, His Son and His rule.
One of my commentaries said that verse 3 reference to bonds and cords referred to the precepts of God or the guidelines that Scripture gives us. I think that this is possible because it’s obvious that the world at large opposes the moral and ethical teachings of the Bible. Not to mention the Bible’s claims that Jesus way, the truth, the life and that no one makes it to God or heaven apart from Him.
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. In fact, one of the last things we read about in the book of Revelation before Jesus ushers in eternity is a satanic led rebellion on the earth. I think it’s important for us as 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.
Notice 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 I think 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.
God Isn’t Threatened By Man’s Rebellion– “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The LORD shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.” Psalm 2:4-6 (NKJV)
God knows all about their raging and their plotting and isn’t surprised or threatened by it. In fact it’s just the opposite. God is laughing at them. This isn’t the laughter of humor. God isn’t laughing with them. Instead it’s a laugh of scorn. God is laughing at them. What an amazing thing. While they are furiously raging and plotting against Him, He is laughing at the futility and foolishness of their actions.
This laughter doesn’t go on forever. After laughing God will speak and when He speaks it isn’t going to be pretty. When He speaks it will be in wrath and judgment. The result will be terrifying. It will bring distress and terror into their lives. This comes from His deep displeasure at what they are doing.
Man’s plotting and scheming doesn’t stop God’s plans. God is still going to move forward with His plans. The raging and plotting and scheming of mankind won’t change a thing about what God is going to do. God is still going to set up His kingdom. God is still going to set His Son on the throne. What is pretty neat here is that God speaks of this future event in the past tense. God’s plans are so sure that He can speak of future events as though they had already happened.
Jesus Reign’s Despite Man’s Rebellion– “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ” Psalm 2:7-9 (NKJV)
The testimony of the anointed King is a testimony of victory. Though the peoples of the world raged and plotted, the King triumphantly declares the decree of God. This is to show that the King’s rule is consistent with God’s sovereign plan for history. Through this declaration the King informs the rebels that God rules His creation on the basis of His sovereign decrees. He doesn’t ask for a consensus. He doesn’t take a vote. He simply makes a decree and that decree comes to pass regardless of how the people rage and plot.
God Is Merciful Toward Rebellious Man– “Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling. 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.” Psalm 2:10-12 (NKJV)
These last verses reveal to us the great mercy of our God. In light of the fact that judgment is coming, God calls on the people to be wise and accept the instruction of the Lord. The idea here is that since all the plans against God are futile and since God’s King will take power and will bring severe judgment against those who rebel, the wise thing to do is to turn now and submit. The results of not submitting to the Son lead to His wrath and judgment. The result of trusting and submitting to the Son leads to blessing. It seems that we are presented with a choice. Submit to the Son and experience blessing. Rebel against the Son and experience wrath and judgment. The choice is ours to make.
Man’s rage and plotting against God is nothing new. It has been around almost from the beginning and will continue until the very end. As followers of Christ we should live knowing that this will continue through our lives and probably will affect us personally at some point. We should also live with peace and secure in the knowledge that No matter how mankind rebels Jesus will ultimately be victorious.