Spurgeon in his extensive commentary on the Psalms, which he calls “The Treasury of David”, speaks of Psalm 2 as a “most charming poem …full of beauty and majesty…a wonderful vision [setting forth] the tumult of the people against the Lord’s anointed, the determinate purpose of God to exalt his own Son, and the ultimate reign of that Son over all his enemies.” (see references # 28)
But, as suggested by Longman, it is important to recognize that this psalm was originally understood as talking about “David in particular and his descendants ruling from Jerusalem…so it is probable that this psalm functioned as an inauguration song during the period of the monarchy.” (see references # 30)
In reality though, as we read the history of the kings in the OT, we note that not too many of David’s family exhibited the high standard required as God’s pious royal agents on earth as described in Psalm 2. Sadly, the record reveals that they were often the reason the nation turned away to idolatrous worship and eventually God’s judgement. Then on top of this, only occasionally did the world’s kings exhibit the type of submission to God as mentioned in this psalm.
So, as Longman suggests, “For these reasons, the New Testament authors recognized a deeper significance to the psalm that found its fulfilment in Jesus Christ, the greater son of David. Jesus…the Lord’s anointed (Messiah) and son of David…” (see ref. # 30)
So, let’s check out how the NT apostles and writers interpreted this wonderful psalm.
In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke there is the record of God’s words at the baptism of Jesus which alludes to the words of Psalm 2:7. It reads:
“And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’” (Mark 1:11).
In Acts 13:32-33 we see Paul preaching in the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch where he quotes Psalm 2:7 to those listening “to witness to his belief that Jesus is the ultimate fulfilment of the promise that God’s anointed would be his Son.” (Longman)
The author of Hebrews also quotes this same verse to teach concerning the superiority of Jesus, God’s Son, over the angels (Hebrews 1:5) and then again later concerning His role as our “great high priest” (Hebrews 4:14, 5:5).
In Acts we also see the early church leaders quoting Psalm 2:1-2 in their prayer and recognizing “Herod and Pontius Pilate…with the Gentiles and the people of Israel” as those who “conspire[d] against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.” (Acts 4:25-27) And because they knew that even in this God’s sovereign purposes were being worked out, they confidently prayed, “They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.” (Acts 4:28), and so continued to courageously preach the good news despite persecution.
And finally we see the fulfilment of this psalm (particularly verse 9) in the vision of John in Revelation 12:5 in reference to the second coming of Christ and his final victory over all those (whether human or spiritual beings) who have opposed him. Verse 9 is again quoted in Revelation 19:11-16 when it says “He will rule them [the rebellious nations] with an iron sceptre.”
“Thus, New Testament readers recognized that Jesus was their anointed King and the Warrior who would defeat the evil spiritual and human forces ranged against them.” (Longman).
An amazing psalm about an amazing God and his Anointed One!
And so at the end of the psalm there is both a warning and a promise of blessing which we all need to take note of and respond to. His warning and good advice is:
“Listen to me…Learn your lesson while there is still time. Serve and worship the awe-inspiring God. Recognize his greatness and bow before him, trembling with reverence in his presence. Fall facedown before him and kiss the feet of his Son before his anger is roused against you. Remember that his wrath can be quickly kindled!” (2:10-12a TPT)
But then the psalm concludes with a wonderful promise:
“But many blessings are waiting for all who turn aside to hide themselves in him!” (2:12b TPT)
Thank you Father that Jesus, your Son, is King and we can find our courage in Him to press on despite opposition, and find our refuge in Him, no matter what the circumstances of our life. Amen.