The Trinity Speaks in Psalm 2
This is another fascinating Psalm for a variety of reasons. If read straight through, it can almost be confusing. That is, until we understand that in all likelihood, the Godhead is speaking among themselves.
Beyond this, the true impact of who God is – along with the absolute power that He wields – is on display in this Psalm. Regardless of what humanity tries to accomplish against God, it will not only come to nothing, but because the plans of man are so puny and finite compared to the infinite awesome power of God, that He is forced to laugh at the attempts man conspires against God. This is His first reaction. It is not His final and last retort.
Let’s take a look at Psalm 2 to understand what God is talking about among the Godhead.
1Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
2The kings of the earth take their stand
and the rulers gather together
against the LORD and against his Anointed One.
3“Let us break their chains,” they say,
“and throw off their fetters.”
4The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
5Then he rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
6“I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
7I will proclaim the decree of the LORD:
He said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have become your Father,
8Ask of me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession,
9You will rule them with an iron scepter;
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
10Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11Serve the LORD with fear
and rejoice with trembling.
12Kiss the Son, lest he be angry
and you be destroyed in your way,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
This is a wonderful Psalm that not only proves that God is in charge of all outcomes, but that He has absolutely no match from anything or anyone. The whole Psalm points to the overall mentality and condition of this world that denies God and is a constant struggle to overthrow Him. Psalm 2 points to and describes the rebellious nature of humanity.
We see this daily with our leaders; those who have been elected or appointed to lead are often far more concerned with their own agendas. They do what they can to grab power and sway and live lives that are fully in rebellion to God and His will. Their arrogance often knows no bounds. Yet, not only is God not impressed, but He responds to that attitude in paragraph two.
Juxtaposed against this rebellious, worldly attitude, Psalm 2 also declares the reality of the coming Messiah from God’s perspective. Because the true King of the earth is coming and His Kingdom will prevail, God warns humanity to discontinue the rebellion and to bow to the true King.
The Psalm has been broken up into four paragraphs by translators, so let’s begin with paragraph one. The first paragraph, containing three verses presents God’s warning to the people of this earth. He rightly asks why people here on His Creation, are so angry that they plot to overthrow God in vain? The sense of course is that this will never be accomplished, yet most of the world moves ahead with this insane plan anyway because their hatred of God is so entrenched in their souls.
Verse 2 points out that there will come a day when the rulers and political leaders of the countries of this earth will gather themselves together in a paltry attempt to stand against God! The imagery that is conjured up is so implausible and embarrassing that God is left to simply ask, “Why are they doing that?” He doesn’t ask this question because He doesn’t know the answer. No, He asks the question because He wants us to understand that it is such a huge waste of time that will only result in the death of all those who try something as foolish as attempting to stand against Him.
I believe the other reason He asks a question is because God is speaking among Himself, the Godhead. I am well aware of how people who do not grasp the Trinity in Scriptures feel about my understanding of this Psalm. They are more than entitled to their opinion. It is not necessary that the Psalm be understood this way, but it appears to make more sense to me that way. In the end though, the truth of the matter is that the overarching understanding of Psalm 2 is that God’s viewpoint of man’s stupidity and arrogance.
As for me, there appears to be legitimacy here when it comes to understanding that this is one of those times when the inner counsel of the Godhead is revealed to us and it is done so purely for our benefit. Either God is speaking to Himself in third Person, or the Holy Spirit is the One asking the questions here in paragraph one.
The scene described here in the first three verses of Psalm 2 remind me of the coming Battle of Armageddon that takes place at the very end of the Tribulation period. This is when Jesus returns physically to the earth and destroys the Antichrist instantly. Antichrist has gathered all of his troops of many areas of the world in an attempt to keep Jesus at bay. It simply does not work. We learn about this coming battle in Revelation 16.
But notice that after God asks this rhetorical question about why the people on the earth are wasting their time plotting against God, the second paragraph tells us of God’s response. We are told that God laughs. This is not a laugh of someone who finds something hilarious. This is laughter based on scorn. To God, the idea that any part of His Creation can successfully rise up against Him is so implausible that God’s reaction is scornful. It’s like watching the smallest dog you can imagine that has absolutely no teeth barking its head off at you in the weakest of attempts to scare you into taking it seriously. It simply doesn’t work and the longer the little dog barks, the more annoying it becomes.
More than one commentator has pointed out that the reason God laughs at those who are in active rebellion to Him (the wicked) is because He knows their appointed day is coming. It is a day when they will fully realize just how weak their position against God is and how little their rebellion has done, except to themselves.
This second paragraphs appears to support the notion that the Father is speaking. The very last line of the paragraph reads, “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill,” and the King here is obviously referring to Jesus. The incarnation, the sinless life, the mission of Jesus – all of it – is completely supported by God the Father. Everything Jesus did brought full glory to the Father, as it was meant to do.
The fact that God the Father refers to Jesus as “my King” also tells us that as King, the Father appointed Jesus to rule the earth. He currently sits at the Father’s right hand. One day, this same Jesus will return to earth to establish His physical Kingdom over which He will rule for 1,000 years.
In this paragraph, it appears that Jesus is responding back to the Father. Once again, those who disagree that this paragraph represents another Person of the Trinity are certainly entitled to their opinion. However, here God testifies to the reality that He declares what God (the Father) has decreed about Him (the Son).
Jesus also seems to be speaking here because of the statement, “He said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father’.” Obviously, the Person speaking is referring to another, then refers back to Himself. Nonetheless, the Person speaking is simply confirming what He heard from God the Father about who He is (the Son) and the mandate given to Him.
The interplay here is interesting. The Father looks to Jesus and says, “Ask of me.” This love and affection that goes from one to the other is beautifully illustrated in this brief dialogue. Moving onto verse 8 we read that the Father wants to give His Son all the nations of the earth as His inheritance. The Father also warns that He (the Son) will rule them with a rod of iron. I believe this references the coming Millennial Kingdom when Jesus will establish His physical rule here on this earth (cf. Revelation 2).
There is absolutely no chance that this will not occur. It is definite and fixed. It will be a time of immeasurable blessing throughout the earth and any problems that occur will be handled immediately and with such force needed to achieve the desired result. Hence, the statement that Jesus will dash them to pieces like pottery.
Thus, to some, Jesus’ coming rule will seem to be harsh. That is because at times, it will be necessary since fallen human beings will still be living on the planet at that time when Jesus reigns. The possibility of rebellion will be ever-present during Christ’s rule. He will keep everything in check as it happens and punishment will be meted out quickly and justly.
This last set of statements are warnings for the people of the earth. It appears that the Holy Spirit is speaking here. In any case, God is warning humanity to do what is right and honor God the Son. We are told to worship Him, to submit ourselves to Him in humility and to come to love Him. Those who do not will be destroyed. Those who take refuge in Him will not only be spared, but will be blessed.
It is interesting that the very first statement of this last paragraph is God’s call to the rulers of this earth to “be wise” or to “wise up.” Most of us have probably heard our parents or some other adult tell us to “wise up” as we were kids. We were likely doing something stupid and what the adult meant was that we should open our eyes to the dangerous realities of what we were doing. Wisdom tells us to move away from those actions and that direction entirely.
This is what God is telling the rulers (and all people) of the earth. Wise up, He says. Make a wise judgment and understand that the actions you are planning based on your rebellious nature are not wise at all. They will do only harm. God is warning the people of this world to understand who He is and that His plans and only His plans will come to fruition. We need to hear that and let it sink in so that people will come around to see God’s point of view.
It is this type of wisdom that results in understanding that will save our lives from destruction. God is patient. He is giving us every opportunity to change our minds about Him. He could have destroyed us all yesterday, or last year, or generations ago, but His timing is impeccable and it is based on His love and patience He exercises toward all of humanity.
God also wants us to know that His wrath can appear in an instant, without warning. If God does pour out His wrath onto a rebellious and sinful world, the fault is ours, not His. He continues to give warning after warning about His plans for this world. Too many ignore those warnings and because of it, perish into an eternity without God and His salvation.
Those who take refuge in Him do so because they have received the salvation He constantly offers us. That salvation protects from His wrath. Those who take refuge in Him will never experience His wrath. That is His promise.
Psalm 2 is a warning to the world to change directions. It is a constant cry from God’s own mouth to make a hasty retreat from our rebelliousness and humbly submit ourselves to Him. In doing so, we not only receive salvation, but we come under His constant care and protection.
God holds His hand out to us, never pulling it back…for now. There will come a day when His hand will pull away and with it the invitation to receive life eternal. That day is not today, but it is coming. Have you turned from your own personal rebelliousness? Have you humbled yourself under His mighty hand that in due time, He would lift you up? Have you come around to understanding that there is nothing you can do to help yourself, but that salvation is something that must be received from Him?
We are either on God’s side or Satan’s. There is no middle ground. There really is no sitting on the fence. Anyone who honestly believes they are sitting on the fence is simply deceiving themselves. It’s one or the other and if you are not for God, you are against Him. It is that simple really. If you stand against Him, you have absolutely no chance of survival. It is only when you stand with Him that you are gathered like a hen gathers her chicks under the full protection of His mighty arms.
God wants you to move to His side. Will you do that? I pray you will.
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