# 57 A journey through the Psalms. Truths to help us to “…live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received.” (Ephesians 4:1). # Four: Psalm 2 in the NT.

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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.

# 56 A journey through the Psalms. Truths to help us to “…live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received.” (Ephesians 4:1). # Three: Psalm 2:5-12 “the cosmic confrontation” continues.

“Look at how the power brokers of the world                                                                                   Rise up to hold their summit,                                                                                                                   Scheming and conferring together                                                                                                        Against God and his Anointed King…” (Psalm 2:2 TPT)

We who live in countries where there is relative safety, security and comfort too often forget that many fellow-believers worldwide know very little of these things. Just go to any website concerning the persecuted church and maybe you will be surprised by just how widespread persecution is and just what fellow believers in many nations have to live with daily.

The words of this psalm come to life in the context of the persecution that is happening worldwide. Believe it or not there are whole nations, political groups, ideologies, religions who are totally anti-God, anti-God’s people, and who are using every resource available to them to destroy any thing/any people that proclaim by life or word the truth that “our God reigns”.

Speaking of the Christians in the USSR prior to its dissolution formally enacted on December 26, 1991, author Nik Ripken writes, “Pastors and church lay leaders were arrested and imprisoned. Their wives were pressured to divorce them; children were discouraged from writing to their imprisoned fathers. The sons and daughters of known believers would be kept after school to be questioned and badgered by a panel of teachers who denigrated the family’s faith. Sometimes children were called up in front of school-wide assemblies and publicly ridiculed by both school officials and classmates for their family’s ‘backward, traitorous and anti-communist beliefs’…The strategy of the government was clear: it would do anything to keep faith in Jesus from continuing beyond the current generation.” (see references # 34) And similar things are still happening today in various nations around the world by various governments and organizations.

Sounds a lot like what Psalm 2 is talking about. “Rebellion…foolish plots…scheming and conferring…against God and his Anointed King: saying; ‘Let’s…break away from the Creator…let’s caste off these controlling chains of God and his Christ!’”  (Psalm 2:1-3 TPT)

The wonderful thing is that the last word will not be spoken by those who seek to destroy God and his people because it has already been spoken by God himself. Wilcock commenting on verses 4-6 says,

“Few of those who reject God think much about him; none, I dare say, ever thinks of his actually ridiculing them! And while a God who derides, scoffs, rebukes, and terrifies is disconcerting enough, even worse is one who speaks as this one does in verse 6. The ‘I’ is emphatic, and the tone must be one of cold anger. ‘You may conspire and rebel, but I, you see, have already decided who shall finally rule in your world. I have spoken, and there’s an end of it’.” (see references # 5)

No matter what is happening in the world around us, we have hope, knowing the end of the story, because the Lord of all the earth has spoken, “I have installed my King”, and that King is Jesus.

May we pray for those suffering for their faith and ourselves in the words of Paul’s prayer, that “God will fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,  so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,  and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through 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.” (Colossians 1:9-20)

# 55 A journey through the Psalms. Truths to help us to “…live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received.” (Ephesians 4:1). # Two: Psalm 2:1-4 “the cosmic confrontation”.

M Wilcock in his commentary suggests that “Psalm 1 and probably Psalm 2 … [are] the inspired introduction to the whole book [of Psalms].” He continues, “Psalm 1 sings of the choice between two ways that each of us has to make; Psalm 2 unveils the cosmic confrontation which that choice reflects.” He continues, “…the private world of the first psalm opens up into the public world of the second; the personal is followed by the cosmic; in airport terminology, one is ‘domestic’ and the other ‘international’. Psalm 1 talks the everyday language of wisdom books…while Psalm 2, raising its eyes to world affairs beyond the control of ordinary people, speaks as the books of the prophets do of a great God in control behind the scenes.” (see references # 5).

One of the places we visited on our recent trip was Mount Buffalo situated in the alpine region of Victoria. Its height is 1723 metres and the view from the lookout is pretty spectacular.

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Psalm 2 reminds me a little of this experience of being above (in the ‘heavenlies’) and looking down to where we normally live and observe life from (on the earth). Things look very different from this higher perspective!

So, in the context of this psalm, there is a “rebellion” taking place amongst the nations of the earth. There is “ranting and raving” and “foolish plots” as well as “scheming and conferring” going on. In our days we are very aware of all these things happening, in the Middle East as well as in other regions of the world. This ‘rebellion’, or so it is said, is against what the instigators may call “rogue governments” or “infidels”, but here in this psalm the rebellion is seen to be “against the Lord Most High…against God and his Anointed King”. (Psalm 2:1-3)

On one hand, it’s hard to believe. What are these leaders of the nations thinking? Have they even considered who they are rebelling against and the implications of their futile activity? Well, certainly there is One who knows how crazy it all is and he laughs! Verse 4 says, “God–Enthroned merely laughs at them [at their arrogance], amused at their puny plans, mocking their madness!” (Psalm 2: 4 The Passion Translation)

I don’t know about you, but the thought of God laughing in derision at man’s arrogance is a bit disconcerting!

But on the other hand, we are not surprised by this arrogance. We see it every day, not only on an international scale, but sadly, at times, in our own lives. Maybe not a public “ranting and raving” against God, but more in a quiet ignoring of him and his ways, suggesting we can actually do life by ourselves. Despite what we profess to believe, it is all too easy to live as if there really is no God and his Anointed King. Sure, we acknowledge him on Sunday morning, but having done that, during the week it is all too easy to go on with ‘life as usual’.

If this sounds in the least bit familiar, then maybe we need some time out to reflect on Psalms 1 and 2 and allow God to do a spiritual health check on us. To raise us up to a higher place to enable us to see things as they really are in this world. How things are between his Anointed King and you. Then to teach us a submission and dependence upon him that brings us to the place of where we really “Serve and worship the awe-inspiring God. Recognize his greatness and bow before him, trembling with reverence in his presence.” (Psalm 2:11 The Passion Translation)

Father, too often in our lives we are earthbound in the way we see things. Help us to see the big picture of your sovereignty and our lives from your perspective. Help us then to respond in awe and worship, serving you, King Jesus, wholeheartedly. Amen.