Raging Nations, Psalm 2

Last week’s quandary revolved around today’s meditation. Should I go on to Proverbs or should I return to the beginning of the Psalms?

When I began these psalm meditations in 2010, I posted reflections on only some of the first 55 psalms. I started the New Year with a meditation on Psalm 1 called “Happiness in the New Year,” but I didn’t blog about any other psalms until I reached Psalm 27 on February 5 and wrote about “Light in the Land of the Living.”

In my quandary, I sought the advice of my mature friend, Lee Z., who models godly womanhood. She encouraged me in either direction, but expressed a love for the psalms that confirmed my feeling that I wasn’t finished with them yet.

That being decided, today we go back to the beginning of the Psalter to consider the psalms we missed along the way. If you want to read my reflections on Psalm 1, you can find them here. Today we reflect on the powerful images of Psalm 2, a Messianic prophesy that depicts the reign of Christ, the LORD’s anointed, and the futility of attempts to conspire against God.

The psalm begins with a rhetorical question (Psalm 2:1, ESV):

Why do the nations rage
 and the peoples plot in vain?

These conspirators appear in living color through setting and dialogue (2-3, ESV):

The kings of the earth set themselves,
  and the rulers take counsel together,
  against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
   and cast away their cords from us.”

The reader can imagine these evil plotters gnashing teeth and pulling hair in their fury at God. In contrast to that evil council’s stupid and futile anger, we see a serene God. 

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
   the Lord holds them in derision (4, ESV).

He sits and he laughs. It is almost as if a grown man holds a struggling infant at arm’s length and laughs at the child’s attempts to strike him with its tiny and ineffectual fists.

God may laugh at feeble attempts to dethrone him, but his derision is anything but a laughing matter (5-6, ESV):

Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
   and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
   on Zion, my holy hill.”

This gentle giant does not sleep. He will speak. And when God speaks, people listen far beyond comparison to E. F. Hutton. No one can stifle the terrifying thunder God’s voice; when he speaks in anger all people tremble. His mighty words affirm Christ as the ruler of his church. 

The point of view changes from that of God the Father to God the Son as Christ speaks, affirming God the Father’s decree (7-9, ESV):

I will tell of the decree:
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
   today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
   and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
   and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

Christ is the only begotten Son of the Father. He has power and authority over all nations. Those that defy his authority will be broken with his iron rod of correction. Nearly every archeological dig in the Middle East yields pieces of broken pottery. So many are found that most of them are not even kept or cataloged. Nations and peoples that conspire against God and his anointed Christ will be broken into pieces as meaningless as worthless pottery shards.

Kings of nations and rulers of all organizations are warned toward wisdom and reverence (10-11, ESV):

Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
   be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear,
   and rejoice with trembling.

Is there any better description of revering God than this last verse? “Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” We can serve God and rejoice in the service, but always with an ingrained knowledge of God’s power and holiness that creates within us a proper attitude of awe and reverence.

Now is the time for all people to seek reconciliation with God.

Kiss the Son,
   lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
   for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him (12, ESV).

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts (Psalm 95:7-8; Hebrews 3:7, 14). Kiss the Son and be reconciled to him, otherwise you surely will perish. Don’t become a worthless pottery shard!

Take refuge in Christ. Only those who take refuge in him are blessed, now and forever more.


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