Two weeks ago we started a series from the Psalms called, “Psalms of Life”. The message was titled, “The Blessed Life”. I didn’t mention at the time that this study series was born out of my reading and taking notes over the last few years from a small pocket Bible. I am still working through the final part of the psalms but it has been a very enjoyable exploration of these ancient songs and prayers of God’s people.
In the first episode, we referenced part of our text for today in Psalm 2 when looking at some of the beatitudes that are found in the psalms. If you have a Bible, please turn to the second psalm now. Notice the last part of the last verse,
“How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!”
In Who? We could have titled this message Part 2 of The Blessed Life, but instead I have titled the message, “Refuge in the King of Kings”, because that is the focus here. Some believe Psalm 1 and Psalm 2 are one continuous reading starting and ending with a blessing, but we will view this as a separate psalm with a similar blessing.
While the psalms are all separate pieces of music, they do tend to have familiar messages and themes. The Psalm that we are going to look at today is a coronation psalm where one is anointed (chosen), crowned (kingship/son-ship) and is given supreme rule to judge and destroy any and all who oppose their reign (authority). Those that come under their rule are blessed and find refuge.
Psalm 2 was written by King David, although it had nothing to do with what was occurring in his own life personally or even during his lifespan, but it is a Messianic psalm looking to the coming of Jesus, the Christ (Anointed Messiah and King/Son of God). The reason we believe it was written by King David does not come from the psalm wherein most have a heading telling us who the author is. We believe this was written by David because of what is plainly stated by inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Acts 4:25-26 :
"Who by the mouth of your servant David has said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?"
This is a direct quote from Psalm 2:1, and notice it is attributed to David. What is important for us to document is the context where this Psalm is quoted in fulfillment. In Acts 4, the followers of Jesus were out proclaiming the gospel and boldly declaring the resurrected and reigning Christ. They were causing the leaders and rulers to panic because they were doing notable miracles which gave testimony to the word they were preaching and many people believed in the Lord. This caused the local authorities to threaten them to no longer speak of the name of Jesus. They prayed to God and asked Him to take note of the threats against them and continued the spreading of the gospel. The church in the face of these trials was growing (multiplying) and thriving because Jesus is on His throne and His disciples were taking refuge in Him. If the gates of hell cannot prevail against the church, neither would these earthly rulers issuing vain threats.
This is going to be a powerful message for us to apply to our lives today, since we are seeing similar trials in the Christian community all over the world. There are two other places in the New Testament where this specific Psalm is quoted to add context and meaning for our study together. In Acts 13:32-33, Paul states,
“And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is written in the second Psalm, ‘You are my Son; Today I have begotten you’".
Then in Hebrews 1:3b-5,
“When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten you’?"
Now let’s turn our attention to the text in Psalm 2 and study this passage in greater detail. We are going to hear 5 different voices in this psalm that will help us to comprehend the message within its lyrics. We will hear the voice of the psalmist, David, the voice of the rulers of the earth, the voice of God the Father, then Christ the Son, who is the King in heaven, and then finally the Holy Spirit at the conclusion.
Listen carefully as we read:
1 Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, 3 "Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!" 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. 5 Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, 6 "But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain." 7 "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the [very] ends of the earth as Your possession. 9 'You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.'" 10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. 11 Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling. 12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish [in] the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!"
The Voice of the Psalmist, David – verse 1
“Why are the nations in an uproar?”
Anyone that has ever tried to live for God has had to ask this question. The actual question being presented is, why are the nations making so much noise as in raging like a mob? Yelling angrily as in a tumult? Ranting and raving as in an agitated assembly? The word nation here is also interpreted “heathen” in some versions. These are a rebellious people or at least those that are outsiders from God’s own people. One perspective to consider is to read this as someone outside of the commonwealth of Israel, looking in on God’s people or as a sinner looking in on the saints. This will help you to see both sides and make the text more applicable to life.
Look at the current events in the news, and this question is just as pertinent and important for today. Why is marriage no longer held in honor between one man and one woman for life and people are claiming “free love” or "Love is love"? Why is homosexuality and sexual sin being paraded in the face of plain teachings against such immoral behavior in the word of God? Why are we still listening to the arguments and outcry of the misled that say, “My body, my rights!” and they follow through in murdering the innocent in abortion but we don’t hear the cry of God’s words about the sanctity of life or the cry of the unborn that He fashioned in their womb? How do we still have to deal with matters of race wars, when we are all Adam’s race and are one blood? Jesus died for all to save every soul among men. We are all precious to Him. Why do we allow secular humanism to direct our thoughts based on man’s reasoning. Why do the heathens of this world remove the Bible (God’s wisdom) and prayers (communication with God) from schools, while teaching as scientific fact that we all arrived here by a BIG BANG and evolution from some lesser organism over millions of years instead of by our loving Creator in six days just as the book of God reveals. The Ten Commandments are no longer in our court houses or our hearts and these commands are broken every day. Because we no longer want to be governed by the decrees of God, the name of God is slowly being erased from every place where in His name we once claimed to trust. Jesus used to be spoken about openly everywhere and now we settle for the fact that this is the world that we live in where He is ranked right next to Buddha, Muhammad, and other erroneous teachers of false belief systems that stand opposed to truth. These are men and not the only begotten Son of God. The only time that the name of God or His Son seems to be spoken is when we are using their names in vain. We need to reiterate the words of this psalm and ask similar questions about why the nations are in an uproar. What’s with all the chaos in this world? The answers are before us today! We need to pay close attention to this word from God!
People in the world that are not taking refuge in Jesus spend all of their days looking for ways to speak out against the way that is right. You may recall from Psalm 1 how the wicked that sat in their seats were scoffers and we were instructed not to join them. They speak against the ways of the righteous, which are also the ways of God. Some may try to refute the point and say that most people love God and love Jesus. Some would say as many as 95% of people agree. The simple fact is while there are many people that claim to love God and His Son, their lives are spent rebelling from the Father’s will and the teachings of His Son, Jesus. They strive to live morally good lives apart from coming in humble submission to God and the Savior, and no one can be good apart from His saving grace and abiding Spirit that are extended to us through our obedience to the gospel. By not being dedicated to the Lord we stand in opposition. If we are not with Him we are against Him. The mind of man is already an enemy of God and is at enmity with God. We don’t get to go to heaven and skip out on the service to the one who is reigning on the throne.
While a large majority would say they believe in a God and His Son Jesus, they are doing no more than the demons that believed and trembled but never obey Him. Our faith is seen by our conduct based on a loyalty to the directives of our King, Jesus. The nations are in an uproar because they are against God and against His Messiah. Loyal allegiance is the only way to prove this to be false.
Those that live the blessed life do not join the riotous in their murmuring, complaining, cursing, lying, and blatant blasphemies against God. Those who are righteous are like David and they ask the tough questions and find the answers provided here in Psalm 2.
Why are the people devising a vain thing?
Vanity of vanities! All is vanity! Says the preacher (Eccl. 1:2), but in his conclusion to the question about the purpose of man on earth he says we must,
“Fear God and keep His commands, for this is the whole duty of man (or man’s all). For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Eccl. 12:13-14).
There are actually people that sit around scheming for how they can do evil? At the time of their evil planning, the end result was not anticipated to be in vain. Making such plans would be worthless. The literal rendering of this text is to meditate on doing a vain thing. Remember that the blessed are those that meditate on the word of God and take great delight in His commands from Psalm 1. The wicked are deep in thought about how they can pursue more wickedness (Psalm 83:3).
David wants to know the answer to these two questions and as He often does, he lays them before the Lord in song lyrics as in a prayer in this second psalm. This is a heartfelt cry from David who was inspired to write about the sinful world around him and through the eye of faith and divine inspiration, he was able to reveal the saving plan of God in the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
The harsh reality is that sinners are opposed to Christ, and all of their plans will be ineffectual and nothing will save the unsaved if they choose to ignore that Jesus is Lord, the King of Kings and take refuge in Him.
The Voice of the Rulers and Kings of the Earth – verses 2-3
The Earthly Kings Take Their Stand Against the Lord (God the Father)
I can’t even imagine trying to stand in the presence of God and yet there are leaders, rulers, kings, princes, peoples etc. that show by their arrogant rebellion against truth that they have no regard for God’s will. They are puffed up, prideful and pursuing personal pleasures over God.
The proper response in the presence of God is to fall face first in worship, prostrating ourselves in humility with a reverent spirit. While it used to be common for leaders to be prayerful, people were humble and Bible believing, churches zealous for God to reign supreme over their lives, the focus has turned to what pleases the people and will get you the most votes, make you more money, gain you more popularity and quite pointedly glorify self instead of honor God.
But don’t make this apply only to presidents, governors and other politicians in office, for even you and I can believe in our hearts that we are ruling our own lives and we don’t need to surrender to the Lord. We can try to make the world revolve around us, while serving our own selfish fleshly desires as well. This text applies to us in such cases. Not only can we turn against the Lord God, but we also become a traitor and enemy of the cross and the Christ who died for us. Those who turn away from Him, are worst than those that never swore allegiance and vowed to be faithful and true to God.
The Rulers Take Worldly Counsel Together against the Christ
Notice how these rulers work together with worldly counsel (foolishness to God) to conjure up their ideas for how they should rule in this world. Again, we need to make personal application of this truth for how we try to be autonomous and rule our own lives. We have an anarchist spirit which often turns into the spirit of the Antichrist. We overthrow all authority over us. Take responsibility for those areas where you are living in opposition to Christ the King.
A group of foolish people, even when working together, can only produce folly. If they do not seek the will of God and follow Christ as the Savior, they will be lost. We need the King of Kings to lead us all back to God. No one comes to the Father but through Him. There is no other name given among men by which we can be saved. He is the way, the truth and the life (Acts 4:12; John 14:6). He is the final spokesperson for God (Heb 1:1-2). He is the only sacrifice that can remove sins and save our souls. He is the Lamb of God! Stop rebelling against Him!
“Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!”
The Father and His beloved Son are viewed as one by the use of the word “their”. They have in mind to rule and reign as Father and Son, but the world and its rulers seek to reject their authority completely. They want to be completely independent but it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps (Jer. 10:23). We need to be governed by the authority of God who knows what is best for us as our Maker and Sustainer. We need the wisdom of God to guide us through this thing called life. If we could have made it on our own, we wouldn’t need the Bible (the inspired revelation of God), we would have no need for Christ to shed blood and offer forgiveness and there would be no use for new mercies each day. Be honest, you can’t make it on your own. It’s those that squirm in the seat as I say these words that are trying to do it all by themselves. You will forever be lost, wandering aimlessly, with a God sized hole in your spirit and a soul that longs for a Savior!
This statement made by these sinners can be summarized by saying, “we no longer want anything to do with God and His Son Jesus the Christ.” The “bands” or “fetters” here are the same as used in a yoke placed on oxen so that they are driven where the farmer/owner would direct them. The “cords” are stronger like rope intertwined and this would be used to fasten the yoke to the oxen. They wanted to free themselves of this restraint not realizing that the yoke was a blessing because they were led in the right direction. The fact is that the yoke of the Lord is easy and the burden is light (Matthew 11:29). His commands are not burdensome but a gift to us (I John 5:3). The world says we want all ties severed and we do not want to be bound to follow any of the divine decrees of God or His Son. We want to be at liberty to do things our way and no one is going to reign over us. We want to be in charge! The problem is that the government of God and His Christ are the same and to that government (rule, reign and authority) there shall be no end (Daniel 2:44; Isaiah 9:7). We will be judged by the Lord one day and His words will determine the outcome of that judgment (John 12:48). There is no condemnation for those in Christ, so the benefit of following Him and staying under His leadership is that we will know the joys of one day hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servants, you have been faithful in a few things, I will set you over many things; enter into the joy of your Lord (master)”. Those who refuse the Lord and Christ as King will never hear these words, but will be turned away to wrath and eternal separation from God and they will be cast into hell with the devil and his angels.
From the time Jesus was born, they sought to kill him and put an end to his life. This was their vain plan to keep Him from reigning. He was hunted and had no honor in his own country, ridiculed, despised and rejected, smitten of men and afflicted, beaten, bruised, spat upon, mocked, scorned, whipped, nailed to a cross, humiliated, pierced through, and eventually died by crucifixion. When he stood before Pilate and was questioned about being a King and he did not deny it, but confirmed it. Pilate found no fault in Him. Yet they still crucified Him as a criminal with an inscription above His head that said, “The King of the Jews”. The difference was that His kingdom was not of this world. He reigns from heaven and is seated upon the throne of our hearts. This meant that even if they took His physical life, that His reign and rule would not be ended, but started by that very death when He was resurrected and exalted to the right hand of God the Father. This leads us to verse 4 where we see the Father on the throne.
The Voice of God the Father – verses 4-6
God remains seated in the heavens on His throne.
He follows through on His plans in spite of those that plan vain things to thwart His efforts. (See Acts 4:28). When man persists in wickedness in a controlled anger to be just, the Lord burns in wrath toward the evil doer because it is what they deserve. God’s disposition in this psalm says a great deal about His character. He is not shaken to stand and take action.
He is not intimidated by the stand taken by kings and rulers of the earth and their foolish counsel. He remains seated on the throne of heaven, unscathed by their scheming. He knows that He is Creator of all and He bows to no one or allows them to have authority over Him. He is over all things and His perfect will is going to be done. Amen! We are taught to pray for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
The Father laughs at and scoffs the scoffers (Proverbs 1:26; Psalm 37:13; 59:7-9)
God even laughs and scoffs back at these sinners in return, because one day they are going to have to face their ignorance or in some cases arrogant disregard for the fact that God revealed His perfect will for how we ought to be governed and live our lives on this earth. Their day is coming and they will be punished. There will be no excuses. God commands all men everywhere to repent and come under His authority (Acts 17:30-31).
This is one of the rare occurrences where we learn that God laughs at those who would exalt themselves and think for even a brief moment that they have the right to disobey the Lord. He does not laugh because He finds it funny. He sits in disdain for those who would show little respect for Him as the great I AM, first and last, beginning and end, Creator and everlasting God. God holds them in derision or in contempt. It is like walking into a courtroom and mocking the judge who is getting ready to pronounce judgment. What a laughable and foolish choice!
God in anger terrifies them with a pronouncement of Christ as King
To make it clear that there is a King of all Kings in heaven that has supreme rule over all kings of the earth, God in anger and a fury of wrath informs them that Jesus has been crowned and is reigning over all things. He will reign until the last enemy is destroyed and he makes everyone his footstool. They would be under His feet. He would be enthroned in Zion on the hill of holiness. This is not in the literal city of Jerusalem but in the heavenly Jerusalem, where God and His Anointed dwell eternally. (See Heb 12:22-29)
This is terrifying to those that think of themselves as the ultimate authority once they realize that they are subject to the Christ, the Anointed (Messiah) of God. In order to approach the holy hill, they would need to cleanse their hand and heart of their wickedness and come in obedience to the Christ who has been enthroned above. He is the King of the heavenly kingdom, the church, and is Head over all things. Until this becomes clear, we have completely missed the point of Jesus life, death, burial, resurrections and ascension to the right hand of God.
The Voice of the Son / King / Messiah – verses 7-9
Jesus tells of the decree of God that He is His begotten Son
God declares to Jesus that He is the beloved and only begotten Son. We know that his birth was a virgin birth when the Holy Spirit caused Mary to be found with child. This child was to be named Jesus. He would be called Immanuel (God with us) and He would save the people from their sins (Matt. 1:21-23). This idea of son-ship was often coupled with kingship. This declaration must have been made to Jesus before coming in the flesh, but then it was fulfilled after His incarnation (John 1:1-3, 14). We know that the plan of redemption was an eternal one before the world began (Ephesians 1:4-12), so in the wisdom of God He had already appointed and anointed His Son to become King. We hear this message confirmed at His birth, His baptism, and on the mount of Transfiguration,
“This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, listen to Him”.
So when Christ makes statements about being glorified with God the Father like He was before coming to earth (John 17:4-5), we begin to understand where this decree was first proclaimed that He was to be known as the only begotten Son of God, the Messiah and King of Kings (See Matthew 1:1; Hebrew 1:1-5).
He is King of Kings because he is a Son of the Most High, but He is considered the Son of God because He was crowned King through the anointing of God. The actual coronation took place following His resurrection and ascension, but in God’s plan He was appointed to take that seat on the throne at God’s right hand as an inheritance (Ephesians 1:20-22).
Jesus will be granted all the nations from one end of the earth to the other
Jesus would be given the nations as an inheritance. These are the same nations (heathens) that were in the uproar from verse 1. Heathen is the same as Gentile, signifying those that were not Jews. Satan once offered Jesus the earthly reign over all the kingdoms of the world if only He would bow down and worship him and Jesus replied that you should worship the Lord God and serve Him only. That is because He can grant anything as the heavenly Father and by inheritance because Jesus was the Son of the Father. The nations were already His to rule and reign over. This rule was a heavenly rule and not from an earthly throne.
This idea of the nations being the inheritance speaks to the great commission where the gospel (good news) concerning Jesus would be preached in the entire world in hopes that they would put trusting faith in Christ and be saved by the blood of Jesus. This gospel was to reach the uttermost parts of the earth. Those that never obey the gospel will be destroyed by Jesus when He comes in flaming fire in retribution upon the sinner.
Jesus Will Destroy the Enemies of God Like Clay Pots With His Rod Of Iron
Jesus will rule the enemies of God and since they choose not to submit to the Son of God, He will break them. The rod is represented by the words of His mouth, which we are told will judge us (Isaiah 11:4; John 12:48). In Revelation 19:15, we learn how this is ultimately fulfilled,
“From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.”
On judgment day, there is no escaping the striking words from His mouth and His ruling with a rod of iron. He will be the judge on that day by God’s divine appointment and is confirmed by the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 17:30-31).
Under His rod of iron, with the government on His shoulders, He will crush them like brittle clay pots (Isaiah 9:6). It will not be a pleasant day to say the least for those that fall under the wrath of God. We are but earthen vessels made from dust (clay). To the dust we shall return. Our only hope is that the spirit which God has made to dwell in us with be influenced by His Spirit through the teaching of the word of God and we can be saved from the wrath to come.
This leads us to our final point where we hear directly from the Holy Spirit five words of advice to find salvation instead of eternal damnation.
The Voice of the Holy Spirit – verses 10-12
Use wisdom and discretion. Acts like you know the difference between right and wrong. Don’t just have wisdom, but use it by demonstrating it through obedience to the Son of God
Hear the warning! This is the first step to making a change. Hearing is sometimes the hardest part. Most people turn their ears off before ever allowing the truth of Jesus to have an impact on their hearts.
Take the warning! Just like they took their stand and took counsel together against the Lord and His Christ, here they are admonished by the Holy Spirit to take the warning. There will be no other prophet, Messiah, or voice from heaven. In these last days God has spoke to us in His Son. This is the last call! Are you in Christ or are you outside of Him?
Worship with Reverence
We need to show obeisance to the Son and to the Father with godly fear and awe. To worship is to humble yourself showing that you recognize the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as worthy of praise. Those that spend their days worshipping their own appetites and have no regard for God in worship are not living to honor Him or His Son through a life of humble service and adoration. Praise for God is born out of pure respect for Him.
Rejoice with Trembling
Rejoicing in the Lord is important but we do it with respect. Trembling is often substituted with the word “fear” and this fear is backed by a spiritual understanding that God is awesome and we are not worthy to approach His throne. He invites us to come boldly to His throne in Christ, but we also come in the spirit of reverence, recognizing that we are approaching the Father through the Son, Jesus Christ. Our rejoicing is an expression of joy that God has smiled on us.
Do Homage to the Christ
Another rendering of this text is, “Kiss the Son”. It was not uncommon when a foreign king lost his battle with another king that he would kiss him on the face, garments, or feet to show that he surrendered completely and accepted that he was in submission to him. It was also a sign of acknowledgement of surrender and loyalty to the king.
We surrender to Christ and kiss him not as in the case of Judas where he was being deceitful and betraying the Lord but in a kiss that shows genuine love for the Lord and total surrender. We will either kiss Christ Jesus as Lord and King or we will be found kissing false gods (See I Sam. 10:1; I Kings 19:18; Hosea 13:2; Job 31:27)
To do homage is to show special honor or respect. Just as we adore God, we show the same respect to the Son of God whom He has appointed and anointed as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The other option is to have the Son become angry with you and you perish. God loved the world so much that He sent His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16) Those that reject the Christ, have no other hope for salvation and they will be lost (John 3:36).
Here the Spirit reminds us all that His wrath may soon be kindled. While the Lord is slow to anger and His loving-kindness immense, there does come a time when He will no longer tolerate a rebellious and sinful people. Consider any delay as the longsuffering and patience of God toward you.
Blessed Are They Who Take Refuge in Him
When one acknowledges Jesus as King of Kings, the Son of God, the Messiah, they will find rest and peace in Him and in the Father. Have you taken refuge in Him?
"Blessed are those that take refuge in Him!", David says. Again, we can either take a stand against God, and take counsel with others against Christ OR we can humble ourselves and find solace in Him. The choice is yours today.
If you have never kissed the Son in sweet surrender, today is the day to make Him Lord of your life, ruler of your heart, and Savior of your soul. If you believe that He is the Christ the Son of the living God and you are willing to turn from your sins in repentance, confess His Lordship, and be baptized in His name, you can have your sins forgiven and start serving Him today. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Please contact me if I can assist you or reach out and I will get you connected with a good church that teached the truth on matters of salvation and they will assist you.
If you are already in Christ, but you have lost your way or you are struggling spiritually to remain committed and you need the encouragement of your brothers and sisters, we want to pray for you, we will go to the throne with your requests. God will forgive you, strengthen you, and uphold you. Please send any prayer requests to me and I will add them to our list.
The heathens of the nations surrounding us will continue to make noise and downplay the importance of serving Jesus and honoring God, but we must give Him all the glory, honor and praise in spite of what the world around us decides to do with Jesus.
What will you do with Jesus today? Let me know how I can help you take refuge in the King of Kings.