Psalm 2: Being a King is Harder than You Think...
Updated: Apr 21
Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. 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.
What would you do if you all of a sudden became a king or queen? I know for me I would definitely start by enjoying my new awesome palace. I would probably throw a party for my closest friends where we could hang out, play some games, and have a delicious dinner. You'd probably never have to pay for anything ever again. I mean, yes you may need to "pay" for things, but in this fantasy, "money is no object." For most of us, when we hear what it would be like to be royalty, we would choose that fantasy in a heartbeat.
But in the words of Uncle Ben (the late great philosopher and uncle to Peter Parker aka Spiderman), "with great power, comes great responsibility." If you have all of that money and power that comes with royalty, there will also be a cost. You're going to be a target for some shady people out there. There will be people who are jealous of your wealth and royalty. I remember hearing countless stories growing up about people who would win the lottery (yay!) only for it to ruin their lives (huh?). They no longer felt safe. They no longer felt secure.
David probably never thought he'd be a king. He was a shepherd boy. Even if someone in his family was brought into a position of power, it would be one of his seven older brothers who were much bigger and stronger than him. But God had a different idea. God saw David's heart. David was going to be king of Israel.
This psalm is anonymous, but it takes inspiration from David's coronation as king of Israel in 2 Samuel 7 where David is given a covenant promise. David will be a king whose reign never ends. His family line will go on forever. Not only that, but out of David's family, there will be a Messiah. A Messiah who saves God's people. This is the hope.
Now David had quite a few perks as king, but it came with the constant threat of enemies rising up against him. The first part of this Psalm describes the enemies out there trying to destroy David and the throne that he represents.
But God ain't worried about these enemies. It says that the Lord "scoffs" at them. You ever hear someone say something so ridiculous that all you can do is scoff? PSH. God then reminds David of His promise, that He will take care of David's enemies. God is the creator and the sustainer, but sometimes He has to be the destroyer. God is a just God who will destroy evil if He needs to. Here God reminds us all that He is powerful and will not tolerate attacks against His kingdom.
But for the Jews reading and praying this Psalm, they would have probably felt kinda hopeless. Remember, many of these were read together during the exile. They watched and saw their kings fall. They don't have a king anymore. It seems like the enemies won.
While this Psalm is clearly hinting about David, it's also clearly hinting at one of David's ancestors. Jesus of Nazareth, the Promised Messiah. While there are things in this world trying to attack Jesus' Kingdom (war, disease, racism, poverty, arrogance, ignorance, religious persecution, etc.) Jesus' Kingdom will never fall.
The psalm finishes off with the phrase "blessed are all who take refuge in him." Refuge is kinda like a shelter or a safe place to escape to. The word "blessed" here is a mirror back to Psalm 1 when it talks about how blessed the people who mediate on God's Law are. Not only are those who mediate on Scripture blessed, but so are those that find their shelter in God.
We may not be kings and queens, but we do live in a world that loves revenge. Revenge is when you get a chance to settle the score. To make things "even." Revenge can never make us truly satisfied. Only God can. When Jesus tells us to "love your enemies," it is not only an invitation to forgive those who wronged us, but it's also an invitation to let God carry out His justice. We are free because we don't need to get revenge against our enemies. Instead we can find refuge in God and let Him take care of the evil in the world in His own time.
Challenge: Write down some of the "enemies" you have, some the grudges you have, and some of the injustices that you yourself have faced in your life. After you write those down, pray and give those over to God. Ask for God to help you forgive them and to instead put your trust in the only fair judge: God Himself.