Psalm 2 and The Messiah

Psalm 2 is the second most quoted and alluded to Psalm in the New Testament and for good reason! The Psalm is centered around the Lord’s Anointed One and the rebellion of man. There is no shortage of descriptions in the bible when it regards to the use of this very illustration. Psalm 2 is one of several royal Psalms. The royal Psalms were Psalms which dealt with the role of kings in terms of their relationship to God in worship and how they handled the people. While this Psalm itself may have ties to an Israelite King, the point of the Psalm is to stress Jesus Christ.

The Psalm begins by posing a saddening and demoralizing question. The Psalmist seeks to know why the world is an uproar and why man devises a vain thing. We do not have to wait long for an answer as we are told that the kings and rulers of the earth are in rebellion against God and His universal and sovereign reign. The wording in v.3 leads us to imagine a picture of a people who cannot stand God’s laws and principles. They describe it as if it was a straitjacket and fetters and cords that restrain them from who they really want to be and do what they really want to do. Why is the world in an uproar? Why is it on fire? Because people are sinning and every waking hour that they have to spare they want to sin (Prov. 14:12; 16:25; Matt. 7:13-14). They want no part of God and His reign and rule. A man who breaks away from God becomes a slave of sin (Rom. 6:16-23).

Man’s uproar is aptly described as vain because it has no weight against God. God’s response is one of laughter and scoffing. He is pictured in Heaven sitting on the throne and there is no doubt that He is in absolute control (Rev. 4). God is laughing but God is also furious. His anger is kindled because man has the audacity to believe they can overthrow Him and do whatever they please with impunity. There is no such thing. When God speaks, they are terrified. God laughs at man’s vain upheaval but when He speaks, they are terrified. How powerful is the God who reigns in Heaven! God installs His King on His holy hill (Zion). It is rather interesting to note that the uproar in vv. 1-3 is caused by a group of kings and officials and in v. 6 God installs one King upon Zion that will ultimately resolve man’s greatest problem.

The relationship that is shared between God and His Anointed is an intimate one. It is true that the kings in Israel’s history had this kind of a relationship (2 Sam. 7:14) with God but it was often tainted by sin. This particular King would surpass all kings. Verse 7 is one of the most quoted Old Testament verses in the gospel accounts. It is used to refer to Jesus repeatedly when He was baptized and at the transfiguration. Both these settings emphasized Jesus as King. Jesus as King would mean He would be in control of all the nations, their affairs and their fates. He would be the heir of all things (Heb. 1:2). The reign of the Lord’s Anointed is described as one of great strength and power. Thus, these nations who stand against Him, with His great strength and power He will effortlessly shatter them as if they were pottery.

The Psalm closes with a strong warning to those who cause an uproar. They are encouraged to consider their stance and their deeds in light of God’s Anointed and who He is and what He is capable of doing. It is stressed three times in the last two verses that the nations should seek to worship the Son. It should not be in a rote, apathetic fashion but with reverence. If not, His wrath will be revealed. A final note of comfort and encouragement is stated to all those to seek Him. They will find refuge for their souls (Psa. 46:1). May we all seek God and find refuge for our souls in Him!