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Psalm 2 Study

Psalm 2 King James Version (KJV)

1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Psalm 2 is one of the clearest prophecies of Christ’s death and resurrection in the OT (see Luke 24:44-46). In Psalm 1 we read about the blessedness of the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, but rather meditates on God’s law day and night (by God’s law here is obviously meant His entire Word). Here we read about the counsel of the ungodly in rebelling against Christ, as Christ is the Word of God incarnate(John 1:14, Revelation 19:13). Forsaking God’s Word is in itself rebellion against Christ, but the world and its leaders often go even further and actively oppose Christ and His people. This Psalm is a warning and rebuke to all who would seek to exalt their own rule and reign against Christ, whether to kings and judges who have authority over multitudes here; as well as for all people, since we all face the issue of whether we will submit ourselves and any authority we have over others to the Word of the ultimate King and Judge who has a rightful claim on everyone and everything- the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

A few key lessons from the Psalm:

  • It’s both unjust and insane to rebel against God. There is no good reason for doing so, nor any chance it will be well with those who do so.
  • Not all unity is a good thing. This reminds of the Tower of Babel in Genesis ch 11. Wicked people who may not agree on anything else are often made one in their enmity against God and His ways. It is written about the day Christ was crucified “And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.” (Luke 23:12) The Apostles thus quoted this Psalm later in Acts, as it certainly also deals with the persecution of God’s people at any time- see Acts 4:21-31 (vss 26-27 are direct quotes from Psalm 2).
  • Some who are blatantly unbelievers understand the gospel message better than many in churches! They know Christ as a King, an authority figure whom they are obligated to submit to! They know the call of Christ’s gospel is a call to be gathered under His government (Luke 13:34); yet many powerful unbelievers fight His government, not only in their hearts, but also by their governing policies.
  • Yet the enemies of Christ in their pride don’t consider the protection, salvation, and blessing in Christ’s yoke (Matthew 11:28-30). Nor do they in their pride and shortsightedness consider that all the authority, power, reign, etc of rebellious mankind will be brought down when Christ comes back (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). Is it not better to submit now to the King of Kings, the Author of Salvation, the Captain of the Lord’s host (Joshua 5:14), the Minister of the Truth of God (John 18:37, Romans 15:8), who is the embodiment of Truth (John 1:14, John 14:6), whatever should happen to your power here? What is a man profited if he gains the whole world but loses his soul? (Matthew 16:26) Those who refuse Christ and His reign thus oppose themselves (Acts 18:6).
  • Those who wisely receive His reign, as verse 12 of Psalm 2 says, are blessed, no matter what loss they should temporarily suffer as a result.
  • Since the powerful in the world are given such a strong exhortation to submit to the Christ of God, and since they face an absolutely certain fearful destruction if they refuse, how much more the rest of us?! And since the most vicious enemies are given the promise of mercy if they will in truth kiss the Son in welcoming His reign, how much more can we be assured that we will be accepted if we do so? “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God” (Rev. 20:12a)