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Psalm 2 ­ The Kings of the Earth versus the King of Zion

I. The conspiracy of the nations against the Lord’s Anointed King (1-3)
II. The Lord’s derisive response to those opposing His Anointed King (4-6)
III. The Lord’s sovereign right and decree rules over all kingdoms (7-9)
IV. A call for all man’s kingdoms to submit to the Anointed Son (10-12)

1 Why do the heathen rage,
and the people imagine a vain thing?

heathen = nations or Gentiles, plural; rage = are in an restless uproar; people = peoples, plural; imagine = /mutter

2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD,
and against his anointed,

set themselves = /take their stand; anointed = Messiah / Christ

3 saying, [3] Let us break their bands asunder,
and cast away their cords from us.

The plurals (nations, peoples, kings, rulers) indicate opposition from many places. In Acts 4:24-28, these words are referred to Herod and the Jews along with Pilate and the Gentiles against Jesus. They may be applied to any conspiracy against God’s kingdom, even if avowedly for it, for there are many antichrists.

“Anointed” means Messiah or Christ.

Priests (Exodus 28:41; 29:7; 30:30; 40:15; Leviticus 8:12, 30; 10:7; Numbers 3:3);
Prophets (1 Kings 19:16; 1 Chronicles 29:22); and
Kings (1 Samuel 9:16; 10:1; 16:13; 24:6; 26:11; 1 Kings 1:39; 19:15-16; 2 Kings 9:3, 6; 1 Chronicles 29:22)

were inaugurated in their duties by anointing. Israel kept these offices largely separate – especially priest and king. Only one man was to hold all three positions: the Messiah Who was to deliver Israel (Daniel 9:26). “For the LORD is our Judge (=Priest), The LORD is our Lawgiver (=Prophet), The LORD is our King.” (Isaiah 33:22)

The occasion of the enthronement of a new king was the opportune moment to organize a revolt. The devil will wait until the weakest or most crucial moment in order to more successfully stir up and inspire men to revolt against God’s rule. As this Anointed One would rule all nations, so this revolt must eventually involve all nations.

The world plots against the crowning of its Creator. Why? Because of the rebelliousness of men’s hearts toward the person of God. Natural men have no genuine respect for the source of their very existence. Regardless of their outward appearance – whether good, bad, or otherwise – all of their deeds are in fact evil because they are not genuinely rooted in and flowing from submission to the will of God (Romans 8:7-8). That is why the heathen rage against God’s person and the people imagine the vanity of freedom from God’s Word. They despise His order and His law. This is the ultimate insult thrown in the face of God.

Genuine liberty is submission to God’s order. A train is not free when it is off its tracks; a fish is not free when it is out of water; a man is not free when he is off track from God’s law and out of the element of God’s order. Genuine slavery is submission to anything except God’s will. So in the name of freedom, men would enslave themselves to their own willful rebellion.

4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh:
the Lord shall have them in derision.

5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath,
and vex them in his sore displeasure.

6 Yet have I set my king
upon my holy hill of Zion.

set = anointed

First we looked at things from an earthly perspective. Now we look at things from a heavenly perspective.

Men may seem to gleefully succeed in their schemes to overthrow God’s rule, but the Lord gets the last laugh – a derisive laugh at conspiracies which can never succeed. Their rebellion does not change the Lord’s plans – indeed, it serves His plans, for it is the very vehicle by which His Anointed becomes enthroned. “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.” (Acts 4:27-28; cf. 2:23; 3:18; Ephesians 1:11)

7 I will declare the decree:
the LORD hath said unto me,
Thou art my Son;
this day have I begotten thee.

8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee
the heathen for thine inheritance,
and the uttermost part
s of the earth
for thy possession.
9 Thou shalt break them
with a rod of iron;
thou shalt dash them
in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

Now we look at things from the perspective of the throne of God. History is the unfolding of the Lord’s eternal decrees.

Israel’s king became God’s son by adoption at his coronation (2 Samuel 7:14; 1 Chronicles 17:13; 28:6; Psalm 89:26-27) At His baptism, Jesus is declared to be God’s beloved Son (Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22), probably quoting this Psalm, implying that Jesus’ baptism was an anointing to office. God the eternal Son took on human flesh as Jesus the son of man in order to be anointed the Son of God. Hence He is a son in three senses: in His divine being; in His incarnation; in His adoption to office. It is in His resurrection that Jesus fully assumes His anointed offices (Acts 13:33). His humiliation having ended, what follows is the announcement of His reign: “declared to be the Son of God with power … by the resurrection from among the dead.” (Romans 1:4; cf. Hebrews 1:5; 5:5)

Whatever the Son asks, the Father grants, for the Son asks only according to the Father’s will. He asks to break the nations enslaved to rebellion, and in the measure which He asks, He receives. A rod of iron is irresistible. A potter’s vessel is fragile, and once broken, it is not recoverable. The Lord will smash the conspiracies into pieces (Revelation 2:27; 12:5; Matthew 25:32-46; Luke 19:27; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 2:8). Rebellion in many forms continues in this world, but only to the measure that the Lord allows, in order to serve His purposes.

10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings:
be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

11 Serve the LORD with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry,
and ye perish from the way,
when his wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

kiss = be joined by touch / do homage to, a gesture of submission; put trust = seek refuge; but a little = within a little while / suddenly

To all kings and judges, the psalmist concludes, “Wise up. The only way you can maintain any measure of your own authority is to respectfully (fearfully) humble yourselves in submission to the Lord’s authority and to willingly (joyously) experience the awe of His presence.”

A “kiss” (literally, “touch”) was actually an ancient way of expressing homage and veneration (1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Kings 19:18; Hosea 13:2). The psalmist declares, “Acknowledge the Son as the rightful heir to the throne, or perish in your own wicked ways (Psalm 1:6).”

Genuine happiness comes only in the path of trust in and submission to the Son (Psalm 146:3; Jeremiah 17:5-8).

Some regard Psalms 1 and 2 as two parts: Psalm 1, the two ways of individual persons; Psalm 2, the two ways of groups of peoples.

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