Psalm 2 is a song about God’s decree of giving a Kingdom to the Messiah, His rule over the nations, and His wrath against their rebellion. The first three verses remind me of the current situation of the world, especially America and Europe, how the nations want to have nothing to do with God ruling over them. The LGBT agenda, abortion, public schools teaching children that socialism is great, lack of self-control is fine, evolution is fact, and Christianity is evil, are all manifestations of the rebellion of the nations. What does God say about this? Let’s see what God says by looking through the different sections of this Psalm.
Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against YHWH and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.” (vv. 1-3)
This Psalm begins with a question. It asks why are the nations raging and plotting against God in vain. This question is intended to ridicule the rebellious nations, to point out that the raging and plotting of the nations against God is all for nothing. The kings and rulers may set themselves against God and His Anointed (this is, Messiah, Christ), but they will never succeed. These kings know that they are bound to God and Christ, and they want to be “free” from His rule, but they never will.
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
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.” (vv. 4-6)
God responds to the rebellion of the nations with mockery, and by pointing to the Messiah as His King. There is also a picture of judgment here when it says that “He will speak to them in His wrath…” Then God says, “I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” The Messiah has received the Kingdom from God the Father. When has Christ received this Kingdom? After His resurrection. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” (Matthew 28:18). I take these words from Jesus literally. Jesus has all authority, not just some authority here but not over there. All authority has been given to Jesus. Paul mentions in Acts 17:31 that God “has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a Man whom He has appointed; and of this He has given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead.” Christ’s resurrection is our guarantee that our sins have been forgiven, but also a guarantee that He is the one who has been appointed to judge the world. How is this judgment going to happen? Jesus puts it in very simple terms: “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” (Matthew 25:31-32). In the rest of the passage, He describes how those on the right are called righteous and welcomed to eternal life, and those on the left are called wicked and cast into eternal punishment (see Matthew 25:31-46). The eschatology of the Bible is simpler than we make it seem sometimes. Let’s move on to the next section.
I will tell of the decree:
YHWH 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.” (vv. 7-9)
Clearly the voice speaking here is the voice of Christ. Christ is speaking about what the Father told Him in eternity that He would do in time. God planned redemption in eternity past, and He would accomplish it through the Son incarnate. After the Son did His work, He would inherit all the nations. The nations plot against God, but it is all in vain, because God has given His Anointed One the Kingdom, and He will come to judge them. No nation, no army, no individual can ever frustrate God’s plans. He reigns over them with authority, with the strength of His iron rod. The nations with all their armies will be dashed in pieces because they are really fragile compared to the iron rod of the Messiah.
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve YHWH with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
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. (vv. 10-12)
The kings, judges, and rulers of the earth are warned to be wise and to fear God, serve Him and rejoice with fear and trembling. They must give God and the Messiah what is His due because He is sovereign over all. They are also told to kiss the Son. This probably refers to either the kissing of the hand or the kissing of the feet, both of which are done to a king as a sign of reverence. They are told to give the Son reverence because the day of His judgment and wrath is coming soon, and they must humble themselves before it is too late. Then there is a divine blessing for those who take refuge in the Son. This same Messiah who is King over all the nations is the refuge of all who have faith in Him. We have absolutely nothing to fear if Jesus is our refuge. We are no longer condemned if we are in Christ, and so we don’t even have to fear death and the judgment because we have the righteousness of Christ by faith. This should make us rejoice, and praise and serve God, glorifying Him and obeying His commandments. The nations may reject God and His people, but He laughs at them, and warns them of the coming judgment, while He is also the refuge of His people.