Sermon: Discovering Christ in the Psalms: Our Glorious King (Psalm 2)

Psalm 2:1-12 (ESV)

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.”

[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.”

[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.

1. Humanity’s Rage Against God (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.”

Like last week, this Psalm is another example of David being astounded at something.  Last week we saw that the majesty of God seen in creation amazed David and brought forth praise and adoration.  This week we see David somewhat puzzled.  He asks the Question, Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?

The picture is the mass of humanity plotting to over throw God.  Organized nations and individual people are trying to figure out how God can be dethroned and even destroyed.  The idea is like a raging sea in the midst of a storm.  The waves are relentlessly beating against an object, one after another.  This is a picture of humanity’s constant attempts of being their own gods.

Like Satan, fallen humanity is in constant rebellion against God.

As Charles Spurgeon notes, We have in these first three verses, a description of the hatred of human nature against the Christ of God—Spurgeon

Not only are people in rebellion against the rule of God but we also read that rulers and kings are fighting against God. 

[2] The kings of the earth set themselves,

and the rulers take counsel together,

against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,

Another amazingly sinful condition of fallen man’s heart is that he will constantly rebel against God’s rule to the point of making alliances with enemies to fight against God’s Kingdom.  It clearly states that Kings and Rulers of various nations come together as they confront a common enemy namely, the Lord and against his anointed.

Mankind hates God the Father and he hates God the Son to the point of joining forces with other kings to try and defeat God.

Their goal is to come out from under the Lord’s control, to defeat the Father and His anointed…His Messiah.

[3] “Let us burst their bonds apart

and cast away their cords from us.”

This is the reality of a government or a kingdom who is not submissive to the Lord.  They plot in vain.  Why?  God cannot be overthrown or destroyed.

There are multiple fulfillments of these verses given to us in Scripture.  As we look to Acts 4, Luke records one fulfillment for us.

Acts 4:23-31 (ESV)

When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them.  [24] And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them,  [25] who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

” ‘Why did the Gentiles rage,

and the peoples plot in vain?

[26] The kings of the earth set themselves,

and the rulers were gathered together,

against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

[27] for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,  [28] to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.  [29] And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness,  [30] while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”  [31] And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Notice how the Psalm is fulfilled in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus…

First, Luke declares Jesus is the Anointed One referred to in Psalm 2.  He also records Peter’s interpretation.  He writes that King Herod the Jewish King, Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor, the Gentiles, and the Israelites all came together and formed a coalition with one common enemy, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  The Israelites and their King were not so concerned with the Roman Empire dominating them as they were with Jesus dominating them.  In other words, people will side up with any and everyone to avoid being ruled by King Jesus.

The really amazing piece of the puzzle surrounding the death of Jesus was that it all was in God’s sovereign plan.

[28] to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. All of the plotting and scheming of the Gentiles and the Jews were included in God’s plan.  God sovereignly planned the event and at the same time each acted according to his own will and was therefore held responsible for their actions.  God’s wrath is the result.

2.  God’s Wrath Against Humanity (4-6)

[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.”

What’s God’s reaction to the rebellion of the world and its leaders?  He laughs.  God does not tremble and wring His hands in worry over the plots of man and the schemes of man.  He doesn’t even stand up to get a closer look, He stays seated.  God is not in the least bit threatened by the leaders and the agencies who try there best to pretend like He doesn’t exist.

The contrast in this section can be seen as we look to the rulers and kings who claim to be sovereign to God and His King who is sovereign.  Jesus Christ is the eternal King who reigns.  He is the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant.  When God declares that He will have an everlasting King.

One of the most godless societies in history has been that of the Roman Empire.  One such emperor was named Diocletian.  His purpose was two-fold.  He wanted to extend the borders of the Roman Empire and along the way, stomp out Christianity.  He was the poster child for Psalm 2.  God Laughed.

A medal was struck by Diocletian, which still remains, bearing the inscription, “The name of Christians being extinguished.” And in Spain, two monumental pillars were raised, on which were written:—I. “Diocletian Jovian Maximian Herculeus Caesares Augusti, for having extended the Roman Empire in the east and the west, and for having extinguished the name of Christians, who brought the Republic to ruin.”—Charles Spurgeon

CH Spurgeon goes on to remark that no grave can be found for Christianity because the living need no tombs.

Domitian plotted in vain.  There is an extreme danger in setting yourself on the opposing side.  There’s a danger in living your life as if there is no God.  He will have the last word, He will win.

William Plummer a great preacher from the 19th century used this illustration,

Of thirty Roman Emperors, governors of provinces and others in high office, who distinguished themselves by their zeal and bitterness in persecuting the early Christians, one became speedily deranged after some atrocious cruelty, one was slain by his own son, one became blind, the eyes of one started out of his head, one was drowned, one was strangled, one died in miserable captivity, one fell dead in a manner that will not bear recital, one died of so loathsome a disease  that several of his physicians were put to death because they could not abide the stench that filled the room, two committed suicide, a third attempted it but had to call for help to finish the work, five were assassinated by their own people or servants, five others died the most miserable and excruciating deaths, several of them having an untold complication of diseases, and eight were killed in battle or after being taken prisoner.

Among these was Julian the Apostate.  In the days of his prosperity he is said to have pointed his dagger to heaven, defying the Son of God whom he commonly called the Galilean.  But when he was wounded in battle, he saw that all was over with him, and he gathered up his clotted blood and threw it into the air, exclaiming, Thou has conquered, O thou Galilean.—Plummer

The Kings of the world plot in vain and God laughs.

God has set His King on Zion and Jesus Christ is in charge and all who oppose Him will suffer defeat not only here but in the life to come.

It shouldn’t surprise us when evil acts are committed and when new technology and inventions only really devise new ways to sin and rebel against God.

In our case, how many billions of dollars has our government spent over the years to try and be its own god?

(Romans 8:7;

In the midst of the human rebellion and God’s wrath, God speaks…

3. The Son’s Inheritance (7-9)

[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.”

Here, David mentions God’s decree.  The divine decree has many parts and many we do not know about.  One aspect of God’s decree is to bring His Son, the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant into the world to redeem a lost and ruined people.  God’s decree will always come to pass and is unchanging.  If it were to change, it would either change for the better or for the worse.  If it was to change for the better then that means it was imperfect to begin with.  We know everything God does is perfect.  If it changed for the worse then who could ever trust and have confidence in God?

Verse 7 written by David on the one hand but quoting Jesus on the other…

God the Father said to God the Son,

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 formally declares that Jesus Christ is His Son.  We know from other passages that this relationship did not start when the Son was born of the Virgin Mary.  This Sonship is an eternal relationship of the Trinity.

When God the Father declares that Today, He has begotten Him, it is not teaching that the Son of God is a created being as some cults would want us to believe.  Because to teach that, is to go against many other texts of Scripture.  In fact, the Son Himself is the Creator, for this we simply need to turn to Colossians 1.

This is a fulfillment of the Davidic covenant where God states the He will  be His Father and He will be His Son.—2 Samuel 7

Here’s where we begin to see God’s grace.  The Trinity in the eternal past formed a decree.  The Son promised the Father that He would go and seek and save the lost.  The nations that are raging against God, the people who plot and scheme in unimaginable ways to dethrone God.  These are the people that the Father grants the Son as His inheritance.  God the Father…[8] Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,

Do you see in this divine agreement the fact that the Gospel will not fail to accomplish its purpose.  Rest assured that all through the centuries the nations have been given as an inheritance to the Son.  Rest assured they will continue to be given.  When did the Son ask for the nations?  One place is found in John 17.

The conclusion to this is that the righteous, those in Christ do not need to be afraid of God’s wrath.

4. Take Refuge in Christ (10-12)

[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.

The conclusion to the matter is found in the final verses.  Since God’s plan cannot be changed, reversed or undone; and since God is in complete control over every event and action in the universe; and since Jesus Christ came to earth and took on flesh and lived a perfect life and died the preordained death; and since the Gospel will accomplish everything God intended; and since the nations are given to the Son as His inheritance; then our response as sons and daughters of King Jesus is to…

[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.

Jesus is the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by His Son.

So, proper worship of God comes through the Son.  Evil idolaters were famous for kissing their statues and tokens as a form of worship.  God says, rather than kissing those dead lifeless idols, Kiss the Son.  He is your only hope for salvation.

Finally, at the end of the day when all is said, Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Rather than running away from Christ like fallen humanity always does.  Rather than plotting and scheming to avoid and overthrow God, take refuge in him and you will be blest.

Where are you today?

Have you run to Jesus for salvation and refuge?  Have you trusted Christ as Lord and Savior?

Or are you living like you’re in charge and you really don’t need Jesus at all.  Perhaps you think that you can live just fine on your own.  Perhaps you think that you can make your own destiny.  Perhaps you may be here today and believe that you can remain neutral.  You may think to yourself that Jesus is ok for some and that you’re not really against Him or for Him.

This text is very clear that to not accept the Son and embrace Him is to not accept God the Father who sent Jesus.

Jesus said “If you’re not for Me you’re against Me.  In other words, there is no neutral ground.  Maybe it’s time to Look to Jesus and be saved?

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