A Word Of Hope And A Word Of Warning From Psalm 2
The book of Psalms has been a precious possession of the Christian Church and the Christian believer. More than any other book in the Bible, the book of Psalms has influenced the life of the worshipping congregation and the life of the individual believer. The Psalms have become an integral part of Christian worship. The Psalms have provided numerous patterns for the believer’s personal prayer life. Again and again, the Psalms point beyond themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is especially true of Psalm 2, which is one of the Messianic Psalms, one of the Psalms which point clearly to the Christ. This Psalm has been called the “Messiah’s Psalm.” It is the Psalm of “God and His Anointed” (or God and His Christ). This twelve-verse Psalm can be broken down into four three-verse sections. The first section introduces us to “the kings of the earth.” The second section introduces us to “the heavenly King.” The third section introduces us to God’s Anointed (or Christ). The final section leaves us with a warning. vs. 1-3 This opening section speaks to us of rebellion against God. As the Psalm continues, it becomes clear that rebellion against God and His Christ is futile. It becomes clear that God alone is the Lord of universal history. It becomes clear that the kings of the earth have a limited power, a derived power. “Do you not know that I have power to release you and the power to crucify you?” – This was the question put to Jesus by Pilate. “You would have no power over Me unless it had been given you from above.” This was the answer, given by Jesus, to Pilate’s question (John 19:10-11). In the first two sections of Psalm 2, we have a direct contrast between the power of man and the power of God. vs. 4-6 When we move from the first section to the second section, we discover an abrupt change of scene and mood. The agitation and rebellion on earth are confronted by the sublime peace that reigns in heaven. The helpless kings of the earth are confronted by the superior might of God, who is the King of heaven. It’s like a race of pygmies being brought face-to-face with a giant! When we understand this contrast between the power of man and the power of God, we learn to put our trust in God. Even when we are living in an extremely troubled world, a world filled with strife and rebellion, we will live with confidence in God, who is greater than all our circumstances. As we think of the contrast drawn in the first six verses of Psalm 2, it becomes clear that it is not a contrast between a passive power of a God who sits in heaven, doing nothing, and the active and busy power of the kings of the earth. Our God, the King of heaven, is not a passive God. He is the active God. He is the God, who has set his king on Zion (v. 6). This has reference to the installation of the king of Israel as God’s anointed. vs. 7-9 As we read the description of the Lord’s anointed, it becomes increasingly clear that this description, while applicable to human kings, who were chosen by God, looks forward to the coming of Christ for its ultimate fulfilment. The ‘prophecies’, found in vs. 7-9, have not yet been completely fulfilled. These verses speak of the triumph of the Messiah. This triumph is the triumph of the Crucified. In principle, this triumph was achieved at Calvary. It will not, be fully revealed until Christ’s Second Coming, when it become clear that He is “King of kings and Lord of lords.” The message of Christ’s Second Coming comes to us as a word of hope and a word of warning. vs. 10-12 This closing section contains elements of both hope and warning. Here, we have a message for the rulers of the earth. The would-be lords of the earth are being confronted by the living reality of God and His Anointed (or Christ). In 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, we learn that no human glory can compete with the glory of God. If a “mighty” man is to be saved, he must humble himself before Almighty God and serve Him with fear and trembling. There is only one way to be saved. We must travel the humble way of the Cross. This is the way of bowing at the feet of the Saviour in humble submission. The ultimate meaning of this Psalm concerns the recognition of God as Lord of the earth. Man’s relation to God is serious. He who lives his life in the fear of God will keep his life. He who who does not fear God will lose his life. He stands under the judgment of God. This warning can become the route to hope. Take the warning seriously and you will enter into the blessing promised in the Psalm’s final words: “Blessed are all who trust in Him” (v. 12).