I’m glad that you all came back. Some of you might not have been here last week. If that is the case we welcome you. But I know that some of you were here last week, and I was a little scared you might not return.
Last week we studied Psalm 1 and we saw how God promised to prosper those who fear him. It reinforced the teaching with the image of a lush and prosperous tree
But you might have been quite disappointed over the course of the week. You might have wondered, “Where’s my happiness?” And you might not have been inclined to come back, thinking I’m some charlatan.
Well, I’m glad you came back. Because this is where Psalm 2 comes in. Psalms 1 and 2 serve as the introduction to the whole Psalter. As you read through the Psalms, what you find is that the God fearing man struggles. He struggles a lot. That’s because there are wicked people in the world. And these wicked people are making life tough for him. Their sins impeding upon our happiness.
And a lot of our troubles come from oppression. Oftentimes our happiness is hindered because these wicked people are in positions of power. Since they hold these positions of power, they make life quite difficult for God’s people.
And that’s why Psalm 2 is a compliment to Psalm 1. This Psalm presents us with the absolute authority Jesus Christ has as the King of all the earth. This Psalm is considered a Messianic Psalm. That’s because it talks a lot about the Messiah. He is mentioned in verse 2. The word anointed is the word Messiah. Towards the end of the Psalm we are told to “kiss the Son lest he be angry.” That’s a reference to Christ, who is the Son of God.
So this Psalm is explicitly messianic and it is here to remind us of the sovereign rule of Christ over all the rulers of the earth.
And it is only appropriate that this be our text this Lord’s Day. This Tuesday we will be going to the polls to elect those we desire to be our governors. And it is good time for us to remember the rule of Jesus Christ is unbreakable, unbearable, and unbelievable.
I enticed you last week by saying that this Psalm is God’s word to Donald Trump. Well, it is actually God’s rule to every leader. It doesn’t matter if it is Trump, Hillary, Obama, or Pol Pot. This text is here to remind us that God is Sovereign and all the rulers of the earth need to know that His reign is unbreakable.
I. God’s rule is unbreakable [1-3]
Look at the first three verses of the Psalm Verses 1-3 tell us about how all the nations and kings of the earth are opposing God with the utmost vehemence. Look at the words that it uses. In verse 1 it says that the nations are raging against God. It also says they are actively plotting against him.
Verse 2 says that the kings of the earth set themselves against God and take counsel against him. The idea is that these kings are forming an alliance with one another in order to try and overthrow God. They are depicted as combining resources so as to mount a powerful and strategic attack.
Now, notice what this means. It implies that all the nations are bound to be God’s vassals. They are under God’s authority and therefore they must be subject to His law. They are to acknowledge His rule and they are to abide by His commands.
So this means that every nation of the earth is not allowed to make up their own laws and govern as they please. They are required to submit themselves to the rules and regulations spelled out in Scripture.
So President Obama isn’t allowed to do his own thing. And whoever comes into office next, be he Trump, Cruz, or Hillary, each of them is to govern this nation on the basis of Scriptural principles.
But, of course, this passage is saying that all the nations of the earth are not doing that. They are raging against God. So that means they are not living in submission to God’s law word. They are rebelling against His authority.
But look at the first word. The first word is key. It’s the word “Why?” It is put as a question. Why are you doing all this? Why are you making such a fuss? Do you really expect to accomplish anything? The word why reveals how utterly foolish and futile their alliances and strategies really are. It reminds us that God rules the earth and his rule cannot be broken.
I really like verse 3. In verse 3 the nations speak and say, “Let us burst their bonds and cast away their cords from us.” This is basically saying that God has all the rulers of the earth on a little leash.
If you have a dog, you are the master of that dog. You rule that dog. And one of the ways you show your ownership of that dog is by putting him on a leash. Now, the dog might not like you. He might lash and whip around. He might try to get away from you by wiggling out of that leash. But typically that doesn’t happen. When you have that leash on him you have mastery of that dog.
That’s the picture here. All the nations are writhing like mad dogs trying to shake loose God’s rule, but they can’t do it. God has them on his little leash and they can’t break it.
This is the passage by the way that the early church quoted in the book of Acts. You remember that Peter and John were put in prison for having preached the gospel. But they were eventually let go. And when the people heard this they quoted this passage. They knew that it was completely futile to try and oppose the name of Christ and the proclamation of his kingdom.
More than that, they went on to lump Herod and Pontius Pilate in with the religious leaders—the very guys who had Christ killed.
So think of that. At the very moment when the rage of the world was at its height—at the very moment they thought they were casting off the bonds of God, they were actually fulfilling God’s plan and doing what he wanted them to.
This just reminds us that God’s rule is unbreakable. My friends, remember that God is sovereign over every nation. Every nation is obligated to submit to King Jesus. Our presidential elections are upon us and God’s word to every candidate is that they are obligated to obey and enforce His law. They are not permitted to deviate from Scripture.
But you can also be assured that when they do not—when they rebel against His law and try to overthrow God’s authority—you can be assured that their efforts will be futile. Our God is completely sovereign over them and they are ever on his leash.
But notice that God’s rule is not just unbreakable, it is also unbearable.
II. God’s rule is unbearable [4-9]
Verses 4-9 tell us how God treats these wicked kings who are raging against him. And when you read these words you find that these kings suffer tremendously at the hand of a just & powerful God. The suffering that is described in verses 4-9 is simply unbearable.
You know one of the most scathing ways to treat someone is to mock them. Taunting someone can often be so unbearable, especially to proud people. It will simply drive them crazy. And that’s exactly what God does. Verse 4 tells us how God teases them.
A. The wicked are teased
It says, “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.”
When I was younger, I used to get very upset with my bigger brother. I used to get so mad that I’d go after him. I’d try to hit him and knock him out. But you know what he used to do to me? He’d simply put his hand out and stick it on my forehead. So there I’d be, swinging and fighting, but I couldn’t touch him. And you know what he’d do then? He’d laugh hysterically. And that only made me even more mad.
That’s the picture here. God sees these rulers ranging and fomenting with anger and he just laughs. He finds it downright comical.
I never knew what it meant when it says that God holds them in derision until this week. I got to study the word derision, and I found that it means “to stammer” and “to talk in a mocking way.” I think of it as taking your finger and rolling it back and forth over your lips. You know how you did that when you were kids? When your friend got mad at you and you taunted him like that.
God is up in heaven laughing and mocking these arrogant leaders. He knows that they are nothing in comparison to his sovereign might.
But he takes it one step further. Not only does he taunt them, but he also terrorizes them.
B. The wicked are terrorized
Look at verse 5. It says, “Then he will speak to them in his wrath and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
Yes God will make fun of them, but eventually a time will come when his anger will burst forth upon them. And when that does, they will be utterly frightened. The word I have translated “terrify” (some of you may have the word “vex”), but it means “to cause to tremble.” In other words, these people will be so scared that they will not be able to function because fear causes their muscular system to break into panicked spasms.
Why are they shaking? It is because Jesus sits upon the throne. They will break forth into a wild frenzied panic because Jesus is the King and ultimate ruler.
You remember when Jesus was at his most vulnerable moment in his earthly life. He was in the Garden of Gethsemene and the mob had come out to arrest him. The book of John tells us how that encounter went. The mob came forward asking for Jesus and Jesus responded by saying, “I am.” John tells us that the mob tumbled backward and fell to the ground. They were simply overwhelmed and could not even hold their ground for another second.
The presence and power of Christ, even in his hour of betrayal, was simply too much for them to handle. It was completely unbearable. And what you see there in that incident is just a microcosm of what happens every single day.
But look at what it says in the next couple of verses. Verse 7 says, “I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
C. The wicked are terminated
It is not enough that these wicked nations are teased and terrorized. They are ultimately terminated. Christ destroys them. He breaks them to pieces like a piece of pottery.
Look at the history of the world. It is the story of Christ disposing of dictators and despots. The testimony of Scripture is this: Tyrants and tormentors eventually come to an end.
And the promise here is that, once they are removed, Christ will have full rule over the entirety of the earth.
But we cannot downplay what happens to these nations and rulers. When you consider everything that is said here you find that Jesus shows no mercy whatsoever. Those nations who continue to rise against Jesus Christ will not be treated kindly. They will feel the scepter of Christ come down upon their skulls and they will be laid to waste.
God is sovereign and those who opposed him will not only find that his rule is unbreakable, but they will also find it to be unbearable.
But I want you to notice one other thing about God’s rule. It is almost shocking how this passage ends. As a matter of fact, after all that has been said, it is downright unbelievable.
III. God’s rule is unbelievable [10-12]
In verses 10-12 the Lord addresses all the kings of the earth, and what you find is that he offers them a second chance.
Look at verses 10-11. It says, “Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”
This is not what you would expect to hear after the first 9 verses of this Psalm. Any typical king, if there was a mutiny of this degree among his subjects, would have them all destroyed. And we see that’s exactly what he said he would do. Jesus was presented as ruthlessly smashing his enemies to smithereens.
So the last thing we may expect is his offering his enemies a chance to live. But that is what he does. In verses 10-12 God offers his enemies terms of peace.
Now granted, the terms of peace are nothing more than unconditional surrender. That’s what it amounts to when it says serve him, take joy in him, kiss him. Kissing him is a form of homage. It is recognizing him as your Lord—your authority. But they still get to live!
Not only do they get to live, but they get to rule!
It is unbelievable that he grants them life, but it is even more unbelievable that he allows them to continue in office.
You’ll notice that nothing is said here about their removal from office. As a matter of fact, God allows these leaders to “serve him.” They don’t have to step down or resign. They are not deposed from office, but instead, they are given the chance to be godly leaders. As long as they promise to bring themselves and their nation into subjection to Christ, they get to continue to serve.
There is one other thing that is worthy of notice. It is the very last line of the Psalm. It says, “blessed are all who take refuge in him.”
It is unbelievable that they get to live. It is unbelievable that he lets them continue to rule. But here’s another unbelievable things: He promises to bless them.
This, of course, is a reference back to Psalm 1. It is the idea of blessing (prosperity and happiness) that Psalm 1 spells out. The Lord says, “If turn from your evil ways and serve me, then I will have compassion on you. I will not destroy you. More than that, I promise to bless you and prosper you.”
This is why it is unbelievable. Every human institution puts countries in subjection in order to leach off of them and suck the life out of them. They impose heavy taxation and demand all kinds of tribute. But God doesn’t do that. He promises to bless them and prosper them.
You want to make America great again? This is how you do it. It is not by building a wall. It is by bowing before God and acknowledge Him as your only sovereign.
And here is the most unbelievable thing in it all: Jesus promises to be your refuge.
You know what a refuge is? It is a place you go when you are in trouble. It is a place where you are kept safe. So if there is a storm, you take refuge under a pavilion or in a house.
The fact that the Lord promises to be your refuge means you will be safe from all your enemies. Most of all, you will be safe from God himself.
That’s the most unbelievable things about this passage. It tells you that the sovereign Christ will be the one who shields you from his own wrath by taking it upon himself.
When Jesus was on earth, he was teased and taunted. They mocked him and laughed at him, wrapping him up in a robe and placing a crown of thorns on his head.
The terrorized him and vexed him as they beat and whipped him. Relentlessly and ruthlessly they dug into his flesh and caused his body to shake.
Then they crucified him and terminated his life.
And because he suffered and died, he now allows anyone who takes refuge in him the opportunity to experience the blessing of life.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.