GOD AND WORLD REVOLUTION
Lord, we anticipate with joy the arrival of Your kingdom.
Read PSALM 2
1 Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
3 “Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
5 He rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
6 “I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
7 I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
8 Ask me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You will break them with a rod of iron;
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The apostles quoted this psalm in Acts 4:25,26 after an intense interrogation by religious heathens who were also raging (KJV).
This psalm belongs to a group called “Royal Psalms,” which were sung in the Jerusalem temple on significant occasions—in this case, the enthronement of the king. In the ancient Near East, the death of imperial rulers often triggered unrest on the home front and a longing for freedom among the conquered peoples. This is the kind of situation reflected here in the psalmist’s imagery. However, he asks the rulers of the kingdoms why they are in rebellion against the Lord and his anointed. Above all, the poem is a celebration of the glory of God who is “enthroned in heaven” (4) and an affirmation of Israel’s belief that he is the true Lord over all the earth and the savior of all peoples. The hope that the nations would put aside their rebellion and find refuge in the divine mercy rests upon faith, because all the external, historical evidence points in the opposite direction. The glory of the Lord is hidden from view; yet in the enthronement of his chosen king in the backwater of Judah, the psalmist detects the hand of God who is the Lord of universal history.
The New Testament writers regard this psalm as anticipating the coming of Jesus, but in that event the veiling of the glory of God becomes more remarkable in light of the crucified Messiah as the Savior of the still-rebellious nations. It is by faith, not force, that sinners recognize the kingship of Jesus and declare him to be the hope of all the ends of the earth. The nations may act out their independence of God, but the counter-revolution has begun and the divine Son will see the nations turn to God and “celebrate his rule with trembling” (11).
We look out on a troubled world which has little or no time for God. Give us the psalmist’s awareness of God’s glory—and faith in his triumph.
Lord, all the earth will see Your glory when You finally take open possession of it. Thank You for making us participants.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.