Psalm 2 | From Rage to Order

DAVID GOFF | may 6, 2020


Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”

 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
 “Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”

“I will declare the decree:
The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ”

Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges 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,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.


Psalm 2


This past week, inside Michigan’s state capital, hundreds of protesters gathered to protest the governor’s extended “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order to combat COVID-19. “Let us work! Let us work!” the protesters chanted, showing their rage at the tightened and extended order.


While many of us have differing opinions on the appropriateness of such a protest - there is one thing many of us have in common with this motley crew. That is, we don’t like submitting to authority.


The most dangerous example of this is when we resist submitting to the ultimate authority, God.  When we resist submitting to God, we will find that our plans for independence will ultimately fail, and we will not be ready when Christ returns.


In Psalm 2, we see people who also desired freedom from accountability to God. Yet we also see that God the Father, will send his Son to bring an end to their rebellion. Yet, at the same time, He is also gracious to call us to trust in Christ to know the blessing of a relationship with Him.


Let us now look at three truths about rebellion we find in Psalm 2:


Man rebels against God


In the first three verses of this Psalm, we see the people and rulers of the unbelieving nations of the Earth plot a rebellion against God and his anointed. The rulers say, “Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us” (3). In other words, they were saying, let’s be free of the oversight and restrictions of the instruction and word of the Lord. Let’s remove these chains once and for all!


There are many reasons why people rebel against the authority of God. Some do so because of the difficulty of keeping Christ’s commands. Others do so in response to the hypocrisy they see in others. But, more often than not, most rebel to dive headfirst into earthly pleasures and pursuits. No matter the reason, the Bible calls this rebellious, self-sufficient attitude sin.


Calvin, elaborating of the effect of our rebellion, said this:

“All who do not submit themselves to the authority of Christ make war against God…It is in vain for them to profess otherwise.”  


When we rebel against God, we make a mess of our lives and become enemies of God. Despite all of our rationalizing and plotting, we can’t get away from the fact that we are answerable to our maker. All of our attempts at breaking free from God are a vain thing (1).


You might be wondering how God will respond to those who demand independence from Him?



Christ will bring order


Following the rebellion of the people and their rulers, we now see God assert his authority over them all. We see at first that God the Father responds to their rebellion by scoffing at them.  The Psalmist describes His response, “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall hold them in derision” (4). Despite the nations raging together in opposition - God is not worried, nor are his plans frustrated.


Yet, the Father’s response quickly turns to displeasure as he announces that his King will sit on the holy hill of Zion (6). This sovereign King (Jesus) will possess the earth and bring order to those who rebel against his rule. In Act 17:31, it says that when Christ comes again, he will judge the world in righteousness.


Gilbert summarizes the judgment in the following words:

“When we sin against Him, breaking His law, worshipping idols, searching for satisfaction in created things rather than in Him, we reject His kingship over us and thereby make ourselves liable to His good and righteous judgment.” (The Gospel, 74)

In our life, we can try to push Jesus out of the picture - we can reject his kingship over our lives. But, we only do so in vain, for we all are accountable to God.


To his enemies, he will dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel (9). The judgment will be most terrible, and it will be just. The return of Christ is impending, and we need to be prepared for his return.


Now that we know we are accountable to God, what do we need to do now?



We are called to respond


As we come to the last big idea of Psalm 2, the Psalmist now calls us to respond in wisdom to Christ. Raging against the authority of God in the act of rebellion is both a vain and sinful act. To pursue such a path with our life is to arouse the displeasure of God upon his second coming.


But God is gracious, and his words of warning offer grace to those who would turn from sin and trust in Him. God is calling us to serve and fear Him with rejoicing. Yes, rejoicing!


How about you? Have you pushed Jesus out of your life? Have you sought to live outside of His authority? When we do so, we can be sure all our plans are in vain. Today, He offers you the grace of the gospel. I invite you to respond in faith to Jesus today. “Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him” (12).



David Goff is the Associate Pastor of First Baptist Church, Washington MI