Let me begin by saying that I cannot read Psalm 2 without hearing it in the rhythm, or accompanied by the orchestration, of George Handel’s from his Christmas oratorio… Messiah.
That undoubtedly comes from having sung it a number of times as part of the Saint John Symphony Chorus in my hometown. We normally rehearsed for weeks, in the lead-up to Christmas, at Saint John’s beautiful and historic Trinity Anglican Church. Eventually, we were part of the annual performance of Handel’s Messiah, at the beautiful Imperial Theatre, by the Saint John Symphony Orchestra.
If you’ve never heard this particular portion… pause for a moment, either before or after reading today’s post, give it a listen here.
Interested in knowing Why? this series on Psalms…
check out the 1st post.
1 Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot 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 bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”
4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
6 “Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”
7 “I will declare the decree:
The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
8 Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ”
10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges 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,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.
- The biggest thing to come out of today’s reading was a bit of understanding about the term “Son of God”. Whenever we hear that term, we think immediately of Jesus. But before the term son was associated with Jesus…
- It referred to the people of Israel as a whole (Exodus 4.22-23: 22 Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” see also Hosea 11.1)
- Here in this Psalm, it is referring to the King of Israel… a Davidic king and God’s annointed ruler at that time (2 Samual 7.14… “I will be his father, and he will be my son.” referring to Solomon). One commentator says that he is called son “because he embodies the people”.
- Prophetically, of course, it refers to Jesus, who is, you’ll recall, of the Davidic line… a son in the lineage of David. The author of Hebrews associates this Psalm with Jesus in Hebrews 1.5 and Paul clearly says that Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God with power… by the resurrection from the dead.” Romans 1.4.
- Why the emphasis or distincton?
- Because traditionally, Jesus is seen as the Son of God, strictly from the standpoint of a filial relationship, like I am the son of my mother and father. But that image breaks down because God is an eternal, indivisible Spirit (John 4.24) and there is no spiritual ‘mother’ to complete the family unit as we understand it. Jesus was not the 3rd part of a traditional family unit… he was Emanuel, God with us (Matthew 1.23).
- This Psalm allows me to see the term Son of God as Jesus’ rightful heritage as the ultimate representative or embodiment of God’s people… “ultimate” because of the power of his resurrection.
- The 2nd Takeaway is a point of comfort. The Psalm talks about the gentile (non-Jewish) kings who were whipping things up together and competing amongst themselves to show themselves all-powerful against the Lord or his will.
- vv.4-6 however shows us that God is not disturbed by the machinations of mankind against him or his order. There is a confidence in knowing that his plan will ultimately prevail, despite how things look on the outside. That’s pretty relevant to the world in which we live in today.
- The 3rd Takeaway: There have been times where I’ve been like those gentile kings… furiously trying to do things according to my will, on my timeline, using my resources. There is blessing, however, in serving the Lord with fear (healthy awe or respect), in submitting to Him: his plan, his timeline & in his strength.
Food for Thought…
Our world is furiously raging, and people do think vain thoughts (thoughts centered on themselves). Rather than trying to throw off the Lord’s lordship… there is blessing in seeking refuge in him.
Heaven knows we all need a little refuge…
spiritually, mentally, physically & emotionally.
If you’re not someone who typically spends time reading the Bible…
would you care to join me over the next couple of weeks?
please continue with this gentle reminder of restoration for our spirits.
Bless your heart Michele… thanks for the word of encouragement! 🙏