1 Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
3 “Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
5 He rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
6 “I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
7 I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
8 Ask me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You will break them with a rod of iron;
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
12 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.
One of the things I love about the Psalms is that there are so many questions. It echoes life, doesn’t it? How many of us have cried out to God, “Why?” or “How?" or “How long?” If you have not yet questioned God, you will.
Here in verse 1 of the 2nd chapter, we get the first inquiry of the Psalms. It is more of a rhetorical question than a pleading inquiry. The writer alerts us to the dangers of living in a world where God’s people are surrounded by hostile nations and peoples who do not worship God. Ultimately, God will have the last word, as verses 4-9 remind us. And God will demonstrate power not through a show of force, but rather through the appointment of a king, a representative of God to rule on earth. While we can look back to see these words as pointing to Jesus, at the time of the writing, the Psalmist was more practically focused on a living king in the line of David who would rule from Jerusalem. The “Son of God” phrasing was not meant literally, but to designate God’s human agent who would rule His kingdom. Again, we can look back and see the beautiful way this writing was meant in practical terms, and how it comes alive in prophetic terms.
This Psalm was probably prayed many times as a means to call on God for a literal King after the fall of Israel’s monarchy in 587 BC. The people of God were scattered with no real home or leader. They desperately wanted God to restore their place in Jerusalem and their kingdom with an anointed ruler.
When Jesus arrived, he restored not only Jerusalem but every nation with a new kingdom. Jesus’ first proclamation was that of the Kingdom, “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:15. Each time we pray the Lord’s Prayer we are praying the same as the Psalmist, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We are here to proclaim the good news, and to do our part in pointing others toward it. The anointed King has arrived. God’s kingdom is here on earth, and it is a place to find refuge.
Dear Lord, let me hear your word anew. Guide me to open my heart and my soul to your ways. Please hear my prayers, my cries, my celebrations, and my worries. Be with me as I navigate this world. Show me how to use my whole life to serve you and your purposes. Thank you, Lord, for this day. Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.