PSALM 2 TALK
(FOLLOWING THE KING OF LOVE)
In the last Psalm study, on Psalm 1, I quoted the words of a song by Bob Dylan that read “well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord but your gonna have to serve somebody”. Dylan in this song lists all sorts of people but says that no matter who you are you fall into one of only two courts. You are either for God or against him. Some try and sit on the fence or the net (continuing the tennis analogy) but there is no fence or net to sit on according to the bible and particularly Psalm 2.
In Psalm 1 we looked at how the righteous (the people saved by God) relate to God. In Psalm 2 we will look at how the righteous one (God) relates to mankind. We will discover the terrible plight of much of mankind and how God has provided a Saviour or as the Jews called him a Messiah. The concept of a Saviour or Messiah is the second great theme of the Psalms.
To fully understand this Psalm we must first understand the “Reign of David”, and how he is a figure of the greater “Reign of David” in Christ.
First of all lets look at the time David was anointed as a shepherd boy and later became King of Israel after much fighting with the former king Saul. God revealed to the prophet Nathan that David would become God’s special Messiah king : 2 Samuel 7 : 8 – 17
8 “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies. “‘The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me ; your throne will be established forever.’ 17 Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.
This promise to David remained for a thousand years and was only fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ. So lets look at how Jesus fulfilled this Messiah prophecy in Acts 13 : 32 – 37 “We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: ” ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father. The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words: ” ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David”.So it is stated elsewhere: ‘You will not let your Holy One see decay”. For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.
Paul is quoting verse 7 of this Psalm and indicating that Jesus is the promised off spring of David who will “succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever”. Non of David’s immediate offspring fulfilled this but Jesus , who is a distant direct descendant of David has fulfilled this promise.
The main concept you must keep in mind to have a good understanding of this Psalm is the concept of “The Lords Anointed”. The Lords anointed is one God has chosen to represent him and David was chosen from obscurity to be God’s appointed King. Jesus of course is the greater “Lord’s Anointed”, who is God become flesh and therefore God’s perfect representative and implies, as Jesus taught I John 14 verse 9, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father”. Those who oppose the Lords Anointed oppose God. As we will see from this Psalm. David’s enemies come under God’s judgment and in David’s time that meant being defeated in battle as they attacked him and Israel. For those who oppose Jesus and therefore oppose God their judgment will come in the final judgment when Jesus returns.
Read Psalm 2
1 Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. 3 “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters 4.”The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. 5 Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, 6 “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.” 7 I will proclaim the decree of the LORD : He said to me, “You are my Son ; today I have become your Father. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You will rule them with an iron scepter ; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” 10 Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
Psalm 2 can be broken down into 4 stanzas which are :
- OPPOSITION TO GOD’S TRUE KING 1 -3
- HOW GOD REACTS TO THE OPPOSITION OF HIS TRUE KING 4 – 5
- GOD’S PRESENTATION OF HIS TRUE KING 6 – 9
- A CALL TO FOLLOW GOD’S TRUE KING 10 – 12
1. OPPOSITION TO GOD’S TRUE KING 1 -3
Why did David and in fact Israel have so much opposition against them? There was more than just local power struggle issues involved in Israel’s opposition , verses 1 and 2 suggest there was also another reason for this opposition. The question in verse one is suggesting there opposition is not just politically motivated. It is also a result of rebellion to God and his chosen one and chosen people. Verse 2 makes this even clearer, “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One”. In 1 Samuel 8 verses 1 to 14 we have a run down of some of the nations around Israel. at the time of David attempting to attack and defeat him but David prevails and at the end of verse 14 we read. “The Lord gave David victory wherever he went”. The new testament talks a lot about opposition to Jesus the greater anointed King but does not suggest in any way Christians should go into bloody battles against God enemies in fact it advises against it. There is no clearer word on this than when Jesus himself rebukes his disciples when Peter takes up a sword and cuts of the ear of a servant of the high priest who was helping to arrest him. Jesus rebukes Peter with the words, “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword” Matthew 26 verse 52.
When David spoke of this hostility to his rule he probably had his local hostilities in mind but he also had an eye on a much greater hostility and to a much greater King. Psalm 47 : 2,3, and 7 says, 2 “How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth! 3 He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet”, and verse 7 For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him in a psalmof praise”. Jesus of course is this great King. Its been said that people “may differ from one another and have little in common otherwise; but in matters of religion they have a common bond of hatred against the Lord” (H.C. Leupold). Jesus himself said to his disciple just before he died, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first”, John 15 verse 18. So those who are lined up to pull down David and therefore God are so arrogantly stupid they say in verse 3, “Let us break their chains and throw off their fetters” or putting it in today’s language, “Let us be free of this God who thinks he has some say over how I live or lives”.
2. HOW GOD REACTS TO THE OPPOSITION OF HIS TRUE KING 4 – 5
God responds to this unbelievable arrogance with a laugh from heaven. Its as though he is saying who do these people think I am. They, those who oppose him are small and weak creatures he has created. God of course is unbelievably big and powerful. The prophet Isaiah attempts to give us a picture of the greatness of God in chapter 40 of his prophecy, from verse 12 of chapter 40 we read,
“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? 13 Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor? 14 Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge or showed him the path of understanding? 15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. 16 Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. 17 Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing. 18 To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to?
Once God had stopped laughing he gets deadly serious again and speaks of his wrath and Judgment against those who oppose his rule over all the earth. This ultimate judgment is spoken of in verse 5 and verse 9. Lets read that again, 5 Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath and verse 9 You will rule them with an iron scepter ; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” Many might say, “But I don’t see God acting like this when I see people doing terrible things to the people of God today”?
There are two reasons for this .
- God is slow to anger as Peter points out in 2 Peter 3 verse 9, “The Lord is slow in keeping his promise with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”. Paul as Saul in New testament times describes himself in this way, “For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecute the church of God and tried to destroy it” Galatians 1 verse 13. Yet Saul who had a major hand in the death of Stephen became Paul the great apostle of the early church when he was confronted by the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus. Jesus tells us to pray for those who persecute you.
- Secondly the Judgment of God is coming just as verse 9 speaks, “You will rule them with an iron scepter ; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” This judgment is when Jesus returns and “every eye will see him even those who pieced him, and all the people of the earth will mourn because of him”, Rev. 1 verse 7.
3. GOD’S PRESENTATION OF HIS TRUE KING 6– 9
Verse 7 speaks of God setting up his Kingdom on earth with the words, “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill”. Zion is the spiritual name of the hill in Jerusalem that the Temple of God was built upon. In David’s time the tent of the Tabernacle was put there that contained the ark of the covenant. This made this hill a God’s holy hill. From here God’s Kingdom was established on earth. It was here God enthroned David as his anointed one and it was here that Jesus rode and donkey in triumph as he entered Jerusalem. David was God’s King for his Kingdom on earth. Jesus of course spoke a lot about God’s Kingdom and he is God’s true King who God decrees in verse 7 as “My Son”. Jesus is the King of Love but he is also described here as the King who will ultimately Rule and Judge this earth (verse’s 8 and 9). When David wrote the words, “You are my Son today I have become your Father’” he probably had 2 Samuel 7 : 13 and 14 in mind. Which says,
“He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever I will be his father, and he will be my son”.
However a number of New Testament writers see these words applying directly to Jesus. We saw earlier how Paul saw this, lets have a look at the writer to the Hebrews, he says, in Hebrew 1 : 5 , “For which of the angels did God ever say, You are my Son today I have become your Father”. Of course as Jesus came out of the waters of baptism God spoke from heaven, “This is my Son, whom I love: with him I am well pleased”, another echo of these words.
God, in David and later in a full sense, in Jesus sets up his Kingdom on earth and compared to the King of this kingdom all other kings a false kings.
4. A CALL TO FOLLOW GOD’S TRUE KING 10 – 12
The Psalm finishes with a call to turn and follow this true King of God. God offers out his hand of love and says to all those who follow a false king, “be wise, be warned”, “Serve the Lord with fear”, verses 10, 11. This is the God of the bible who is slow to anger and keen to love. Even those who shake their fists at God can turn and know his all forgiving love. Paul speaks of this in 1 Timothy 1 : 15 – 17, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen”.
This turning must be real and thorough which the bible calls repentance. You see those who are following the other King, the king of this world, who is the devil are going the wrong way, they must turn around. In 2002 I went with my wife to the US for a 3 week holiday. We hired a car and of course unlike Australia had to learn to drive on the left hand side of the road. One day I turned into a street and was on the wrong side of the road. It was terrifying and I pulled quickly off the road into someone’s driveway. Yes repentance is a U turn but there are so many going the wrong way. Jesus describes it this way . “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it”, Matthew 7 : 13 – 14. So turning is like me turning onto the wrong side of the road it is going against the traffic and it will seem scary and hard at first. In verse 12 we have the ancient times picture of repentance in the words, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment”. “Kiss the king” was to bow down before him and kiss his lower garment, something only defeated Kings and rulers did. David is saying those who rebel against God and his Kingdom, must stop rebelling and subject themselves before the true King. If they don’t he gives them a warning again, “you will be destroyed in your way for his wrath can flare up in a moment”.
The Psalm finishes with some words of comfort and encouragement, “Blessed are all who take refuge in him”. This should remind you of Psalm 1, when we read the words “Blessed are”. It might be scary to turn against the traffic of humanity and start going against the tide’ of life but God promises to be right their with us as a “Refuge” and help. I don’t know if you know the story of the well known hymn, “Rock of Ages”, According to the story, Rev. Toplady drew his inspiration from an incident in the gorge of Burrington Combe in England. Toplady, a preacher in the nearby village of Blagdon, was travelling along the gorge when he was caught in a storm. Finding shelter in a gap in the gorge, he was inspired and scribbled down, on a playing card he had in his pocket the words “Rock of ages cleft for me let me hide myself in thee”. Yes Jesus is our refuge, our help in times of trouble, He promises to always be with us and never leave us. At the end of Matthews Gospel we read these words, “surely I am with you always, to the ends of the age”, Matthew 28 : 20.
3 NEW TESTAMENT APPLICATIONS OF PSALM 2
1. JESUS SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP TO GOD
As I mentioned before the words in the Psalm, “You are my Son ; today I have become your Father” are quoted twice in the New Testament and alluded to at Jesus Baptism. Each time they are telling us that Jesus had a special relationship with God in heaven. In Hebrews 1 verse 5 , we read, “For which of the angels did God ever say, You are my Son today I have become your Father”. Hebrew is presenting Jesus as the someone who came from God and who like God is worshipped by the Angels. God alone is to be worshipped and Angels would know this. So Jesus is in fact God, he is as John called him, “God become flesh and made his dwelling among us”, John 1 : 14. This is literally saying God pitched his tent in this world when Jesus came to this world as a human being.
Paul speaks of this as well in Colossians 1 : 15 – 20, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross”. This means we must turn to him as the real King of our lives and seek to serve him as he only should be served.
2. JESUS THE TRIUMPHANT KING
In Mark 11 : 1 – 11, we read of Jesus Triumphant entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. This of course was another prophecy of the Old Testament fulfilled by Jesus. The people lined the streets and waved Palm branches and called out “Hosanna ! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”, Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David”. Of course within a week another crowd, called out “Crucify Him”. Jesus always saw his glory as his death for us on the cross. Jesus prayed at the last supper about his death to come by saying, “Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began” (John 17 : 1-5).
Yes by the way of the cross Jesus is glorified, Jesus is Triumphant and when he comes again he will fulfil the prophecy of Psalm 2 that says, “You will rule them with an iron scepter ; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” Therefore we must repent and turn and follow the true King of Heaven.
3. THE GREAT OPPOSITION TO JESUS AND HIS FOLLOWERS
In Psalm 2 we read of the great opposition to God and his true King. This opposition was predicted by Jesus in John 15 : 18 – 25,
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master. ‘If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfil what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason”.
However Jesus does not leave us when persecution comes but promises us special help in these times of testing. In the next chapter of John we read,
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. (John 16 : 12 -15)
Jesus is promising the disciples here that by the help of the Holy Spirit they will remember Jesus words and of course write the New Testament. However that same Holy Spirit is promised to us to help and guide us. We wont write a new Testament but the New Testament that the disciples where inspired to write will be brought to our minds as we face the opposition that comes from following the true King.
Finally then people who do not follow God by turning and following Jesus are following a King that leads to destruction. How can we help them switch sides and start following the King of Love ?
The only answer is pray for them and tell them the wonderful message of God’s Grace. As Paul says in Ephesians 2 : 8 – 10 , For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”.
God gave his Son to this world so that he could die for us on a cross and by doing so he is the King of Love. The king who will one day return to take his true followers to be with him in heaven and to cast all others into eternal destruction.
(Based on Psalm 2)
There are only two kings
Who do you follow ?
The king who plans and plots to rebel.
Or the king of love who saves us from hell.
The king who says let’s be free to do our own thing.
Or the king whose father says you’re my Son and you rule everything.
There are only two kings
Which one has your heart ?
The king who makes plans that are doomed to fail.
Or the king whose plan was to pin on him our sin with a nail?
The king who serve’s himself and ignores heaven above,
Or the king who gave his life to show is his love.
There is only two ways
Which one do you follow ?
The way that goes all out for oneself and has no fear,
Or the way that recognises a higher power who is always near.
The way that is wide and many walk down that road,
Or the way that is narrow but our king helps us carry our load.
My king is in heaven.
You can know him too.
He rules the world and is king of my heart.
He will judge the world and knows our life from the start.
He saves my life when I deserve not to be free.
He is my king whose love is freely given to me.
There are only two kings.
Which one will you follow ?
The king who recklessly ignores the warning signs,
Or the king who protects and guides us all our lives.
The king who I serve is the king who is awesomely strong,
So bow down to my king and he’ll teach you his song.
We thank you Father for sending into this world your only Son, who is the great King of love. Help us to always follow him with the help of your Holy Spirit. Help us to persuade others to stop following the King of this world who will lead his followers to destruction, and help them to turn to the great King of love, your only Son Jesus Christ our, Lord and Saviour. Amen