The King’s Plot | Psalm 2
Topic: Old Testament Passage: Psalm 2
Christopher Rich – July 8, 2018
PSALMS | Soundtrack for our Souls | Wk 2
The King’s Plot | Psalm 2
Introduction | Review Psalms
Good Morning Welcome to Damascus Road where we are Saved by Jesus Work, Changed by Jesus’ Grace, and Living on Jesus’s Mission. Today we continue our series Psalms: Soundtrack for our Souls.
In this series, we are going to look at the songs God has given us to remind us who He is, what He’s done/doing, and how we’re to think, feel, act, and relate to God. This collection of divinely inspired songs was brought together into a rich anthology to help us have a realistic and artistic voice for understanding the complex relationship between God and His People. The collection is brought together for a purpose. For a people, both individual and corporately, to be able to navigate and make sense of the God, the world, their lives and hearts in a language that speaks deeply to the soul. While the Psalms are not a systematic theology they do teach doctrine and the give poetic voice to what is true about God and His people. Key truths of God’s character and nature include God as the Creator of everything, Redeemer of His people, one who sustains, provides, and protects in the face of trials and opposition. We sing to God as warrior, King, Father, teacher, and judge, but most importantly… Psalms are about Jesus - Jesus is clear in Luke 24 that all of the Law, prophets, psalms point to him and are about HIM. So we read Psalms as prayers to Jesus as God. One of the big themes is his Kingship: A huge concept though out the Psalms as David, a human king writes both about his experience as a king, and serving God as King. These are like national anthems rallying and unifying a people around a shared national identity as citizens of God’s people.
This week, and last, we’re looking at the first two songs which serve as a gateway to understanding the all of Psalms. Before you engage with a great anthology of you have to decide what your orientation or allegiance is to the one who inspired the writing and the people it’s written for. There is no use in trying to understand how to think and feel about God at a soul level if you don’t first understand what your relationship with Him is. In Psalm 1, we saw much of the individual implication of either trusting and following God, or walking away from God and placing yourself on a path to destruction. Psalm 2, is one of the most quoted in the New Testament, as the plot of the kings of this earth to rebel and be independent of God is met by the plot of God our King to lead, rule and care for His people through His Son. There is a tension between the collective counsel of humanity opposed to God and the wisdom of God to unite the diverse nations, cultures, and people of the world together under one banner for their blessing and His Glory.
PART I | Rage and Revolt | v1-3
Psalms 2:1-3 | Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 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 burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”
Psalm 1 and 2 are two parts of the opening song that fade one into another on an album when one song fades into another seamlessly (QUEEN). So you could read “The Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish….. Why do the nations rage and the people’s plot in vain?
There is a transition from the individual heart what path are you taking to the more corporate and global how is the whole of humanity, the leadership of different tribes and nations responding to the Law of the Lord (His counsel and instruction for flourishing). God knows there are two paths. There is a path where God is with you on the way of righteousness AND there is a path of wickedness that leads to destruction. Given these paths, a choice should be clear on which one should be followed, SO why do the nations get together and try to plot to overthrow God‘s plan? The reality is, there is an understanding of the way God has created the world that is ingrained in every person. It is in our conscience it’s in recognizing the fact there’s a creator in the first place and if there is a creator and there is purpose if there is purpose there is design and intentionality around that purpose that means some actions some ways of being would find themselves inside that purpose and other actions wait to be what find themselves outside that purpose.
There is great intentionality for the purpose of unity. You go from individuals following the counsel of the wicked to wicked conspiring together. But it doesn’t seem so Machiavellian. It’s much simpler that overtly sinister. There are people with leadership and influence over the values and direction of the affairs others communally and nationally. They are united, they have unity. They’re holding hands, they’re giving joint pronouncements. However, what they are unified in is the simple opposition to God’s authority in their individual and collective lives and the assertion that self-rule would lead to greater flourishing. This is a group effort. There is a sense we are isolated and alone everyone knows that they cannot overthrow God’s rule in their life. However, there is a deception that comes and a comfort that comes from when we unify as one humanity opposed to God or maybe not opposed to God but what if we just try to determine our own path? There’s a sense of safety in numbers and so there’s organization and intentionality around creating a culture that as opposed to the influence of God’s purpose on our lives. So when you see this unity, the writer of the song wonders “Why would they bother to attempt to overthrow God? Don’t they understand all they’re doing is in vain?” It’s vain because there are only two paths, so it’s vanity to choose to align even together in a path that is apart from and opposed to God.
The rejection of God is also a rejection of Jesus as God‘s anointed. “Anointed” is where we get the word/concept of Messiah and of “Christ” It’s the Savior-King of God’s People. They don’t like the Idea of a God given “Anointed” This is Jesus as King. Jesus can be just about anything but King. So it’s not just enough to say I don’t like God but specifically I do not like the way God has chosen to rule over us. You cannot claim to submit to God or worship/follow God if you do not submit in a way that God has prescribed. God leads His people through His Son Jesus so to be against Jesus is to be against God.
The reason for the rebellion us wrong understanding of who God is and what is rule looks like in our lives and our world. It is believing an old but effective life that “We can do it better than God.” and so when we talk about the rejection of God‘s law and his anointed it’s not just a lack of acceptance it is a full-fledged rejection it is throwing off a yoke that is there. In their sin and in their twisting of who God is and God‘s character they believe to be under the rule an authority of God is to be in some sort of bondage to be cast off. They consider life with God restrictive and repressive, so they want “bond’s burst apart and cords cast away.” There deepest desire is for themselves to have lordship over their own lives. They see and feel the tension of brokenness and burden on their lives and world and they have placed the blame for the burden and sin on God, rather than recognizing it’s man sin the enslaves. It’s God desire and character of compassion to bring abundant life and joy. Where have you have you misunderstood the character and nature of God? How does inaccurate understandings of God lead you to wrong conclusions about God and wrong responses to God? God is not the one who puts us in bondage, He is the one who brings freedom.
Hosea 11:4 | I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them. God provides with compassion.
And Jesus said: Matthew 11:28-30 | 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Ultimately all their intentionality, all their unity, all their plotting, is in vain. It might seem successful for while but it will not prevail in a way that will endure. What a comfort in the first sentence of the first verses all of this conspiring, all of this turmoil and muttering against God will be for nothing there is a response coming.
PART II | Laughter and a Leader from Heaven | v4-9
Psalm 2:4-9 | 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. 5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” 7 I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”
God’s Council In Heaven – (v4-6) While we’re in a scene with world leaders gathered together asking how are we going to overthrow the Good God the Creator who they’ve recast as the evil emperor we can easily forget who the good side is in this conflict. We can look at humanity at its most unified and think “What could possibly stand in the way of people united for a purpose?” We forget the nature and strength of the one they’re plotting against. These rulers and authorities are big in the context of other people and the communities they represent, but they still created earthly beings, not THE Creator of heaven and earth.
They can plan all they want, in vain. Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. – Mike Tyson
God responds to their plot not with fear and concern but with Laughter and Derision – v4 God is looking at all this plotting, murmuring, and misunderstanding of who He is and His reaction is laughing. Not because He doesn’t care what this means for their hearts. God is mocking their belief in their ability to be effective in what they think they’re going to accomplish. It’s not at taking joy in their eventual failure it’s in mocking the foolishness of each of their premises. He’s ridiculing their plan (overthrow God’s authority) He’s considering the lunacy of beings He’s created gathering together and attempting to conspire to over throw the rule of God in the universe. He’s mocking their purpose (to have our independence). Because it’s worthy to be mocked. Are you kidding me? You think the God who created sex, chocolate, and sunsets is too oppressive and restrictive so you plan is wage war to set yourself against this God for the purposes of your independence and you think this will lead to greater joy? You fool! God is laughing at their pride not the effect it has on them. So let’s interrupt the prideful counsel of the world with God speaking to the situation.
God has a counsel, a plot, a purpose as well. Let me terrorize your plans of rejection with the full assurance of their failure. This isn’t the evil cackling of a despot but the clear proclamation of a Good God who will not tolerate apathy or opposition to His good rule and reign in the world. He is decreeing a rebuke. The plans of the leaders conspiring against him will be thwarted because God has already with a leader and King of his own. Ya’ll want to be king? That role, office is already taken. The throne is not vacant but is very much full. I’ve got a king for you I’ve already established. So you’re trying to come together and unify in opposition of God and His Anointed and I am telling you He’s already been set on His holy hill.
Where does your planning and plotting need to be interrupted by God and replaced with His plot and plan for your life? Where do you need to be told you desires are not heathy and will ultimately fail?
God’s Commission to rule the Earth (v7-9)- God has a plan, it will be carried out personally. We learn more about the identity of this king. The King will be God’s own son. In the context of David’s role as human author of this psalm the Covenant God made with David that his throne would not be empty and that the savior king of God’s people would from his family line this points to Jesus who was born from the line of David in the city of David. Jesus is the “Son of David” Jesus is this promised King. Later in life as Jesus begin His public ministry He is baptized and it is written the heavens opened up and God the Father spoke “This is my Son with whom I am well pleased” He is ‘anointed’ with, commissioned by, the Holy Spirit descending on Him like a dove. Revealing the identity of Jesus as God’s Son, also reveals His purpose as God’s anointed to rule over all people and all creation. Jesus is God, Jesus is King, these two truths require either reception and response of humble worship or rejection and opposition. In the New Testament we see the clearest overt opposition to the lordship of God and the authority of His anointed in the conspiracy by the Jewish religious leaders, Israel’s puppet king Herod, and Roman governor Pilate to agree with how they are going to get rid of Jesus. Their opposition to him was in His identity, who he claimed to be ,Son of God, Messiah/Christ, King of God’s people. If Jesus is THE King it means they cannot be. They would have to respond to His assertion of authority. Their plotting was in vain because while it appeared to be successful, Jesus dead in the tomb, influence ended, God’s plan God’s promise, God’s word in this situation was “resurrection”. Jesus Christ the King is alive. He will have people in His kingdom from every nation.
Nations will be His, He Possesses the whole earth. The nations have gathered for unity, God wants the nations unified too. Not unified opposed to the authority of God and His anointed UNDER the authority of Jesus the King. He will break them (rule them) another translation says to shepherd them. Good shepherds discipline wayward sheep, call and pull them back into the fold, and defend them from evil and harm. Jesus is a strong King. The Rod of iron is His strength. It has the ability to correct, to discipline, to defend, and defeat. Jesus is a warrior king. Mercy and grace are not a display of weakness or because He’s soft. They are unifying forces bring a new people and nation together. While those opposed to Jesus rightly scattered from their attempt at unity opposing God. God’s final answer for the chaotic conspiracy and tumultuous rages of a world opposed to God is the peaceful stability of a world powerfully and even forcefully ruled by His anointed King Jesus. If opposition cannot be smashed than it cannot be defeated and there cannot be peace. So a rod of Iron and this breaking/scattering of nations is not an evil annihilation of an peaceful people but a subduing of all the wicked and unjust power in the earth that is working against God’s plans and purposes. Force is only needed to meet opposition, the “shall break and dash to pieces” can easily be changed to a “may brake/dash” with subjects who are willingly follow and worship God. This is the promise of God to restore proper rule and reign of Jesus coming to full fruition at His return. But until them we have been commissioned to “Go” to all nations and make disciples in the world of this Kingdom. We are a people who have been instructed to pray “your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” This prayer is in opposition to “my/our kingdom come, my/our will be done”
PART III | Summoned to Repent for Refuge | v10-12
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth.11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 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.
What is our response to be to these truths of who God is, and who Jesus is? How should we view unity around that which is opposed to God? Fear or confidence? For us who see ourselves as the Kings of our own domains how do we respond to this God? Because of who God is and all we’ve seen up to this point, the counsel of the kings of this earth, God’s response, Jesus as king, how should the world collectively and us individually respond? The song, after shifting from the plotting conference rooms of the world, to heaven, and back to earth, there is a final venue and scene we all need to consider. What will happen when the Kings of this earth, and the little individual kings in our heart are each summoned before THE KING?
Be wise. Be warned. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It is wise to remember reverence and awe should be part of our understanding and experience with God. It is necessary for our proper orientation we have towards God. We need to be wise to consider who we are in relationship to God. God is good to give us the perspective with His word. God is also merciful and gracious to give us an understanding of what continue rebellion will result it. We’ve been warned for the purpose of surrender, to prepare us for the eventual summons in to the presence of God. There is the counsel of the world there is the throne room of heaven and there will be a point where each of us will be summoned to the throne room of the King of the world and universe. It will be summons not a suggestion or invitation.
His warning is for our repentance. Our response of repentance results in our service no longer being directed to our own desires but to His. When we are wise and warned we will serve with reverence and worship with awe. There is an appropriate blend of competing feelings when confronted with such a powerful God. When we are summoned it is for the purpose of showing where our allegiance is.
Kiss the son, is like Kiss the ring. It is paying pure and true homage and allegiance to Him. Acknowledge who Jesus is! God is decisive. He is slow to anger and patience for repentance but we should not mistake that for a lack of urgency or apathy on our part. Just as there are two paths there are only two responses. You will either kiss the ring in grateful worship or spit in his face in willing rebellion. But why reject in vain? When there are no other kings and all creation is his there is only one place to direct our worship and allegiance.
Psalm 1 begins with blessing from avoiding sin, Psalm 2 ends with blessing being found for all who take refuge in Jesus. We need refuge. Refuge from Kings of this world opposed to God and refuge from the wrath of God for our sin and rejection of him.
“There is no refuge FROM Him, there is only Refuge IN him”. – Derek Kinder
This refuge is profound blessing of new life with this great God and King. This refuge is not from battle, it is in a new heavens and a new earth where there is no more sin and rebellion. There is full peace, there is experiential and material blessing. God is with His people, His people are with Him. This is not the burdensome cords of slavery but all things being held together by the counsel of His will for His Glory and the joy of he people. This life of blessing heard in the first 2 Psalms can only be found when we Trust Jesus.