Psalm 2 and the King
Psalm 2 is one of David’s royal psalms. Imagine, after having become king (and even prior), how many enemies he would have had. The nations, in an uproar, devising evil, take their stand together against God and His anointed in order to cast off the fetters of the king’s (ultimately God’s) rule. God answers back through His own laughter, scoffing, and anger. But His concrete answer is this: “I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain” (v. 6). God does not back off at all but pushes forward His King who speaks on behalf of God.
God gave the decree: “You are My Son, today I have begotten You.” This King, God's very Son, would take the ends of the earth as His possession and rule with a rod of iron to shatter the nations like earthenware (vv. 7-9). The warning has been given to the nations. They must respond with proper respect and worship or they will be judged and smashed. “Kiss the Son,” they are told, or He will be angry and they will perish in their way (vv. 10-12).
Notice how Psalm 2 picks up on the themes of Psalm 1. Psalm 1:1 and Psalm 2:12, forming brackets (an inclusio), speak of the blessed who come to God and take refuge in Him. The ideas of 1:1 are repeated in Psalm 2, showing how the concept of the way of the wicked moves from individuals to a national level. The righteous man is the one who delights in God’s Law and who will then speak God's decrees. Together, these two psalms show that the truly blessed are those who 1) submit to the rule of God, 2) love His word, and 3) refuse to take their stand with the wicked.
The rule (kingdom) of God is paramount here. Two places in the New Testament will sufficiently demonstrate this.
1. Acts 4:23-31. When Peter and John were threatened by the council, they went to their brethren and prayed. In the prayer, they referred back to Psalm 2:1-2. But now instead of applying the wicked mentality to the gentiles, they apply it to the Jewish rulers who have rejected the rule of Jesus Christ. By rejecting Christ’s rule, they have rejected God’s rule -- they have rejected the Kingdom of God. How ironic that Psalm 2 would come to be applied to the Jewish rulers who were supposed to be looking for the kingdom! They did indeed take their stand with wickedness in rejecting Jesus as King.
2. Paul quotes from Psalm 2 in his sermon of Acts 13. The good news concerning God’s promise to Abraham is fulfilled in Jesus “in that He raised up Jesus, as it is written in the second Psalm, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’ As for the fact that He raised Him from the dead…” The idea of “begotten: here is not a reference to the origin or birth of Jesus. Being Himself the Creator, Jesus was not created. Neither is it speaking of His birth through Mary. Rather, this is a royal description of God bringing out His King as a proclamation of the reign of the anointed One. This is God showing His King to the world as a testament to His power and sovereignty. What event did this with such power? The resurrection! Jesus was of the physical lineage of David, but “declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 1:3-4). Peter preached the same message, that Jesus was raised up and exalted to the right hand of God as both Lord and Christ (the anointed the King, Acts 2:29-36).
The Kingdom of God is paramount because God has made His rule known by raising Jesus from the dead. He had demonstrated His rule many times or other ways, but the resurrection is most powerful of all statements. Death is conquered through Jesus Christ! He reigns and rules over all the nations. And as Psalm 2 indicates, the very ends of the earth are now aware of the rule of the Christ.
When we come face to face with the Kingship of Jesus, we are left with two options: 1) We can go our own way, reject His rule, and be shattered in judgment; 2) We can “kiss the Son,” submit to His rule, and find blessings beyond what we imagine. The Kingship of Jesus is nothing to trifle with. What God is offering through Him is a salvation and forgiveness that will give us eternal peace with Him. To reject that smacks of such ingratitude that all we can expect is to kindle His wrath. Take your refuge in Him. Submit to the King and be blessed.