A Call for Nations to Submit to Christ
May 20, 2014 Pastor: Don Green
Topic: Midweek Sermons Scripture: Psalm 2:1-12
Psalm 2 is where we're at tonight and what a delight it is to bring this Psalm to you. When we taught Psalm 1 two days ago on Sunday, we said that the first two Psalms kind of stand like pillars that frame the entrance into the rest of the Psalms. You really have to understand the first two Psalms in order to understand the rest of them because they build the foundation, they lay the foundation that everything else is built on in Psalms 3-150. What we saw on Sunday was that Psalm 1 contrasts the righteous man and the sinner. It speaks and addresses righteousness on an individual level. If you look at Psalm 1:1, "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, But his delight is in the law of the LORD," verse 2. In verse 6, "For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish." So Psalm 1 addresses the individual and it addresses the individual in terms of how he responds to the written word of God and we saw that really the dividing line of eternity is established by the way that a man responds to the word of God. That's the point of Psalm 1. That's the first pillar that frames the entrance into the rest of the Psalter.
When you come to Psalm 2, you find that there is a different contrast that is being made. It's more global; it's more cosmic. And it relates the response not to the written word of God but to the Incarnate word of God as we will see. Psalm 1 addresses the response to the written word of God, Psalm 2 addresses the response to the person, the Incarnate word of God as we're going to see. Psalm 2 speaks not about individuals, but it speaks about nations. It speaks about the righteousness or even more particularly, the wickedness of nations and how God responds to wicked nations. So we go from the individual to nations; we go from the written word to the Incarnate word in Psalm 2. So you see the vastness of the themes that frame the entire Psalms.
One of the things that I would say, one of the initial things that that says to us as we do a systematic study of this book, is we all have a tendency and I include myself in this and one of the things that this opening teaches us, we all have a tendency to read the Psalms and want to interpret them in light of our immediate individual circumstances. We want immediate relief from the anxiety or the discouragement that we feel based on our immediate circumstances and the Psalms provide that for us. But what I want you to see is that the intention of the Psalms is global; it's universal; it's vast and spans eternity. So if we're going to understand the Psalms rightly on their terms not ours, we need to start with what the Psalms are saying and then draw our application rather than coming and saying, "I have this immediate need. How can the Psalms help me?" Let's let the Psalms speak on their own terms and what happens when you do that is if lifts your mind into a completely different realm, into another realm of thought that deals with the character and the purposes of God and his faithfulness to his people and his ability and his intention to judge the wicked and suddenly you're viewing life through a completely different prism than simply, "How can I get through today?" You know, I get a little spiritual caffeine from reading 2-3 Psalms in the morning. That's not what we want to do. We want to let the Psalms speak for themselves and when we do that tonight coming to Psalm 2, this is amazing because what Psalm 2 is if you want to title your notes, if you're taking notes tonight, we can title Psalm 2 as "A Call for Nations to Submit to Christ." A call for nations to submit to Christ. We're going to see this as we go through.
Now, one of the key principles to interpreting the Bible that you've heard many, many times is that we need to let Scripture interpret Scripture. You let the Bible inform your understanding of an individual passage and that is extremely important to do as we approach Psalm 2. You see, when you look at Psalm 2, it does not have an inscription that identifies who wrote it or that gives the background of the Psalm like many of the other Psalms do, even Psalm 3 which we'll see next week. It says that it was written by David at the time that he was fleeing from Absalom, his son. That really zeroes in and helps you understand what the occasion of the Psalm was. You don't have that in Psalm 2 but as you go to the rest of the Scripture, particularly in the New Testament, you find something remarkable that opens up the key to understanding this whole Psalm and to understand that there is a broad sweep that is in play here.
Turn to the book of Acts 4:25. I want to just show you one particular thing here to start with. In Acts 4:25, we'll come back to this toward the end of the message as well, but in Acts 4:25 it says that the "The Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, 'Why did the Gentiles rage, why did the peoples devise futile things?'" They're quoting from Psalm 2 and they attribute Psalm 2 to the Holy Spirit speaking through David and so when we read Psalm 2 by itself isolated in its context, we don't know who the author is; it doesn't state that explicitly. When you go and let the rest of the Scripture inform your understanding, you see that David wrote this Psalm. We have it on the authority of God; we don't have to speculate about it. David wrote this Psalm.
Now David was, as you know quite well, David was the premiere king of Israel. God anointed him as a shepherd boy while Saul was reigning and David eventually inherited the throne of Israel. God made him king and God helped him in the midst of various kinds of oppositions and threats to his reign. So as David wrote this Psalm, he had a familiarity with kingship and he had his own set of circumstances that would inform his understanding of what it meant for God to help a king which on the surface, is the subject of Psalm 2. God installed David as king and God assisted him in his reign and protected him form his enemies.
Now, that is the way that some people limit, pretty much, the way that they interpret Psalm 2 and they just give secondary application to the way that it applies to Christ but ultimately, beloved, and now we start to dive in and this starts to get very exciting, ultimately this Psalm could not be primarily about David for at least two reasons. First of all, it describes a worldwide revolt in verse 1 that does not fit the circumstances of David's reign. Look at Psalm 2:1, "Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed." It's sweeping in its scope. It's universal. It's global in what it is saying and I don't believe that that fits with anything that we could identify with David's reign. But more than that as you let Scripture interpret Scripture, you find that Scripture on at least ten occasions attributes Psalm 2 to be a prophecy, a description, a discussion about the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture tells us that. We should understand Psalm 2 in that light. Let me just give you a couple of examples and then we'll see more as we go through the text of the Psalm. Turn to the book of Hebrews 1. This is all by way of introduction; it's all necessarily brief. But this gives us a running start into the proper way to understand Psalm 2. Hebrews 1 is a discussion about the Lord Jesus Christ and the superiority of the Lord Jesus Christ. You see in 1:1, "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son." It's discussing the Lord Jesus Christ, "in whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world." Now watch this in light of what we're discussing here tonight. In verse 5, as he's discussing the excellencies of Christ, he says in verse 5, "For to which of the angels did He every say, 'You are my Son, today I have begotten you?'" That's a quote from Psalm 2:7 and it says that this verse is the Father talking to the Son, talking to the Lord Jesus Christ. He goes on and says, "And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, 'And let all the angels of God worship him,'" quoting from a different Psalm. But here we see in Hebrews 1:5 saying, "Psalm 2 is about Christ." This is the Father speaking to the Son, the Son of God, God the Son, the second member of the Trinity. Then you go on and look at chapter 5:5 and you see this repeated again. Hebrews 5:5, we're letting Scripture interpret Scripture here to kind of set the framework for how we approach Psalm 2. It says, "So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him," God said to Christ, "You are My Son, today I have begotten you,'" again quoting Psalm 2.
So what we have here in front of us and you'll see this more as we go along this evening, what we have in front of us is a Psalm written about a thousand years before the time of the earthly life of Christ that is discussing, it is a prophecy about the Lord Jesus Christ and that's what we're going to see. Go back now to the Psalm. Psalm 2:7 is what was being quoted. Psalm 2:7, "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son.'" In verse 12 it says, "Do homage to the Son," and so you have an Old Testament reference to the Son of God here in Psalm 2. That is the subject; that is the topic.
Now watch this, here's what that means for what we are reading in Psalm 2, remembering that this is one of the framing Psalms, this is an introduction to the entire Psalter so you would expect a theme of massive universal importance at the start of such an important book in the Bible and that's exactly what you find. That is exactly what you find. What we're going to see is that Psalm 2 is referring to a revolt against Christ, not just a human king. This is not simply about a human tussle between world rulers on a human horizontal level. This is a vertical revolt of the nations against the rule of God that is being discussed in Psalm 2. We are lifted into a supernatural transcendent realm by what is said in verse 2. And what you find in this supernatural transcendent realm of Psalm 2 is how God views the revolt of nations against him. You see the revolt of nations, the rebellion, the mutiny of nations against the sovereign of the universe and this lays out the response of God to that rebellion.
So what we're about to see is that Psalm 2 helps us understand our world completely and it calms our hearts about the future. I don't know about you, I have gotten sick and tired of reading about the latest court ruling that again affirms homosexuality and homosexual marriage and all of that. It is such an open rebellion against the word of God and it is obvious that there is an unstoppable momentum, humanly speaking, to what is happening there and it is an open rebellion against God's word. There is no question about that and if you're like me, from time-to-time you read this and you know what's coming when they say, "Another ruling is about to be announced." You know what's going to happen and it starts to get a little bit deflating because you realize that the tide has turned and it is against the principles of morality that we hold dear.
Well, when you come to Psalm 2, you're lifted out of that discouraged realm and you start to see the situation for what it really is and the thing about homosexual marriage in our day and age is simply an illustration of broader things as we're going to see. But we must, we must view the world, we must view the accelerating wickedness of the world in light of Psalm 2 if we are going to prosper spiritually. This Psalm tells us how to think. It pulls back the spiritual veil and lets us see into the realm of what's really happening and it tells us the outcome before it happens and in knowing the outcome, we find our rest. In knowing the finale before it happens, we find our peace and we don't have to get troubled by the latest news cycle. We can live above that. In fact, we should live above it in light of what this Psalm has to teach us and so that's what we're going to see in the remaining time that we have this evening.
Here's the thing, just by way of the structure of this Psalm in terms of the text, what you have in Psalm 2, you have four stanzas that have four different speakers being quoted or stating things. There are four stanzas of three verses each of approximate equal length and you get to the heart of understanding this Psalm when you realize that. Four stanzas, four speakers and that's kind of how we're going to build tonight's outline. So we're going to see four different speakers. This is such a cool Psalm. First point tonight, the first speaker we could describe in this way, what you see in the first three verses is the conspiracy of the nations. The conspiracy of the nations. Psalm 2 opens with the nations rejecting God and rejecting his ruler. Let's look at the first three verses again,
1 Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, 3 "Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!"
Here's what I want you to see as we being in this section, this stanza, as we consider the conspiracy of the nations: I want you to see that this a universal rebellion that it is describing. It's the nations plural that are in an uproar. The peoples are planning; they're plotting; they're doing something and they're doing it against the Lord and against his anointed. It's a picture of utter rebellion by the inhabitants of earth against God and against his Christ. That is what is the context here and the nations are rebelling because they want to be free from what they consider to be the yoke of God. They do not want to be in subjection to the one true God. They do not want to live in submission to his law. They want to be their own ruler, their own boss, their own king. They want nothing else except to throw off and to overthrow and to commit mutiny against God. When it says they are taking counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed, the word "anointed" is the word that's used for the Messiah, the one who has been set apart by God. Kings used to be anointed with oil when they were coronated into their throne. The word came to be used about the coming Messiah. And so to rebel against God, to rebel against his anointed one is to rebel against God himself and the Psalmist looks on this situation, looks on it prophetically and says, "Why are they doing this? What is the point of this? Why would they rebel against God when that cannot possibly have success? This is blindness. This is madness. This is folly. This is foolishness. Why are they doing this?"
You can see the rebellion that is in there and the blind hostility against God in verse 3 when it says, "Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!" That has a reference, it's a metaphor to the way that animals were directed in agriculture back in that time. Wooden yokes were put on the necks of the animals and they would be guided by these cords and leather straps that were used to hold the yoke in place and to direct them. So the yoke became a symbol of submission; that animal was in submission its owner; it was under the control of its owner. So the metaphor that's being used here is, "We are under this yoke of the rule of God. We do not want this yoke upon us. Let's rip it apart, cast it away from us so that we can finally be free." This is a statement of blind mutiny that says, "We will not have this one reign over us." The nations are rebelling against the reign of God in Psalm 2. They hate him. They hate his people. They hate his law.
This is universal. You don't often hear teachers go to Psalm 2 to teach about the universality of sin. There are other places in Scripture where you could go for that, to Romans 3 and other places in the Scripture but this is a statement of the universal rebellion, the universal sin of man and it is one ugly picture. If you think in the simplist of terms, world history is the story of man's sin against God, his rebellion, his mutiny. Adam and Eve rebelled in the Garden. It didn't even take long. You barely get out of Genesis 2 before the rebellion took place. The Tower of Babel was rebellion in Genesis 11. The nations opposed Israel, God's chosen people and then Israel itself became a nation which sinned against God and had to be taken into exile as punishment. When God came to earth in the person of Christ, what did they do with him? They rebelled and they crucified him. It wasn't just the Jews, it wasn't just the Romans, they were in concert together. In fact, as you let Scripture interpret Scripture, you see that fact being brought to the forefront by the apostles as they interpreted the life of Christ in light of Psalm 2.
Turn back to Acts 4 with me and you'll see this. The crucifixion of Christ was a partial fulfillment of Psalm 2 and it was an outworking of this principle, this conspiracy of the nations against God and against his Christ. Look at Acts 4:25 as Peter and John are speaking and they said in verse 25, "The Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, 'Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples devise futile things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.'" Now, look how he works out the meaning of that Psalm in light of the crucifixion which had just taken place a few weeks earlier. He says in verse 27, "For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel." Everybody was in on it. "To do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur." People who should have been enemies, Herod and Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles and the Jews, found their unity in their common hatred of Christ and their desire to crucify him, to silence him, to put him to death so that they would no longer have to see him. Crucifixion was their hope, their opportunity to cast aside this one who asserted his Lordship over them, who asserted his Lordship over the nations, his Lordship over the Sabbath. They said, "We don't want this man. Let's kill him!" and everybody agreed and said, "That's a good idea. Let's join together," and everyone joined in together, the nations of the time, the peoples of the time, found their unity, found their common purpose in putting Christ to death, casting him aside and manifesting in the most clear possible way that when God is in their midst, what men want to do is kill him.
That's what you see going on in Psalm 2. This is no modest rejection. This is not a two year old crying because he can't get his toys or whatever. This is the wickedness of man on full display in all of its hostile murderous intention. Today, the defiance of the nations continues. False religion abounds. False religion at its heart is nothing more than rebellion against the true God. There is no merit. There is no redeeming virtue in false religion. It does not do any good to say, "Well, at least they worship somebody. At least they pray." No, what they are doing is they are rebelling against revealed truth to set up their own god. They are setting up their own god in opposition to the one true God. This is nothing more than a conspiracy against the true God to silence him, to elevate something else of man's imagination over the one true God so that the one true God would not be in his rightful position of rule and sovereignty in their lives.
Christians are martyred. God is banished from public discourse and as we said earlier, the world is in the process of embracing, enshrining homosexual perversity as a human right to be celebrated and paraded. Let's see that for what it really is. All of that stuff has a common theme. Psalm 2 tells us to look at all of those different manifestations of false religion and flagrant sin and murdering professing believers and trying to silence them in public discourse. Psalm 2 says, "Look at all of it and understand that these things are related. They are connected together by the desire of peoples of all cultures, languages and races. Their desire is to silence the one true holy ruling sovereign God."
So brothers and sisters in Christ, we look out on the world in light of Psalm 2 and we see that the rebellion of man is unspeakably great. We sometimes talk about living the Christian life in a hostile environment and that's very true but when you let Scripture interpret the environment around us, we see that the hostility is deeper than just what we see on the news cycle. There is a supernatural element to it and it unifies men on a common purpose of casting aside God and his law because they will not and do not want to submit to him. And here we are just individual believers, a small group of believers in a metropolitan area of two million people in a country of 330 million people or whatever and a world of seven billion and you start to feel kind of small and intimidated by what's going on because you realize you can't stop that force of what's happening. On a human level, it's discouraging to see men with authority lie and distort. To see that the truth that is meant to set people free mocked and scoffed in such open levels and you just kind of feel helpless and discouraged about it. The question that we should ask at that point and the question that we should ask at this point in the text then is not how do I think about this? How do I feel about this? Or, what can we do to stop this? We can't do anything to stop it. That should be evident by now. Evil men are going to proceed from bad to worse. The question that we should ask is: what does God think about this? What does God think when he sees this mass of human rebellion manifesting itself? What is God's attitude toward the conspiracy of nations against him? The conspiracy of those who have multiplied nuclear arsenals at their disposal, who control the news and entertainment outlets and just pour the sewer in more and more day-by-day? What does God think about that rebellion? Is he threatened by it? Is he discouraged by it?
Verses 4-6 give us the answer. It's point 2 here tonight. We saw the conspiracy of the nations and what we're going to see now in verses 4-6 is the contempt of the Father. The contempt of the Father. As we move into these next three verses of Psalm 2, the scene has shifted. The scene has shifted from an earthly view of the nations and it takes us, as it were, into the heavenly realm. We're no longer looking at things horizontally, we're looking at things vertically and the Psalmist is telling us what God thinks about this rebellion against him. What we're going to see is that God dismisses it out-of-hand with utter derision. He is not threatened by it at all. Look at verses 4-6 with me,
"4 He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. 5 Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, 6 "But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain."
God looks at all of that rebellion and he laughs at it. This is the only place in the Bible that talks about God laughing and it's a laughter of derision. It's a laughter of contempt. He responds to them not with physical destruction at this point but simply with the spoken word and with utter certainty, with no doubt about the outcome, he says, "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy mountain." Zion being a reference for Jerusalem. He says, "I have already determined who the final reigning King will be and you can't stop it." God determined before time began that Jesus Christ would reign over the earth from Jerusalem. Nobody can stop that. This was settled by God's decree in eternity past. Can you imagine from that perspective how foolish, how silly, how ridiculous it is for men to think that they can cast this off? That they can somehow stop the decree of God from being implemented on his time table? This is foolishness. These men depend upon God for their next breath. They live and breathe and have their being in this God of the Bible. They can't get outside that. They can't rise up in rebellion against him. He can withdraw the life-breath from their nostrils at any time. On what basis do they think their conspiracy could ever succeed? It's just the blind hostility like that of the men at Sodom in Genesis 19, just blindly going after and attacking that which they can't see with no possibility of success. It is utterly foolish. It is doomed to fail. That's why God can laugh at it.
Beloved, I want you to think about this for a minute with me. You know, at Truth Community, we believe the Bible, right? This is our authority. We read the Bible and we say, "That's true." This is what happened when it speaks about historical events, it's not talking about allegories or things like that. It's describing time and space historical events that happened. Well look, when we read Scripture together and one of the things that I’d encourage you to do if you don't do it is to make it a lifetime habit to read through the Scriptures cover-to-cover multiple times through your life so that you get the big picture settling into your mind. When we think about the sovereignty of God over the nations, we can say this a little bit colloquially, "God makes his living by casting down world rulers." He's done it all the time. He's done it throughout history. He confused the languages at Babel in Genesis 11. He drowned the Egyptian army in the Red Sea in Exodus 14, the strongest army on the earth at the time. It was not a problem. In Isaiah 37, he struck dead 185,000 Assyrians and sent Sennacherib home where he was soon murdered by his own kin in Assyria. He made Nebuchadnezzar eat grass like a cow, the king of the earth at the time. He was eating grass, humbled by God. An angel of the Lord in the book of Acts, chapter 12, struck Herod after he refused to give God the glory and Herod was eaten by worms. You could multiply the illustrations biblically in almost every book of the Bible.
God allows wicked people to prosper for a time but they never have the final say. God has complete power. It is not an effort for him to cast down a world ruler. I think about John Kennedy in that context and I’m not attributing his assassination to the direct judgment of God but look, you've all seen that Zapruder video where he's driving through Dallas. He is on the top of the world. He's got a beautiful wife. He's President. Adoring crowds. The next minute he's dead, shot by an assassin. His earthly rule was meaningless and powerless when God determined it was time for him to be done. Nothing stopped that bullet. His worldwide power, his worldwide fame was powerless at an assassin's bullet. That's true of every world ruler. Beloved, it is true of every wicked person that rises up and rebels against the rule and the law of God.
Think about it in terms of Christ and the crucifixion again. That was the world's best shot. They killed him. Three days later, he's out of the grave. The crucifixion of Christ and the resurrection should settle in our minds as believers in Christ, it should settle in our minds we should always go back and say, "God can take the worst shot that men can give him and he triumphs over it effortlessly." He came out of the grave having been crucified and their best effort was shown for naught. They couldn't even kill him right. What makes them think that anything else is going to succeed?
What's the point of this? What's the point of this laughter and God scoffing at them? Speaking to them and declaring his decree? What's the point at this juncture in the Psalm? The point is this, quite simply: man cannot overthrow God. Man cannot thwart the sovereign will of a reigning God. The creature cannot stop the hand of the Creator. What he has determined will come to pass without fail. God's in control. And so while they're fighting around with their little Star War lasers against one another and shaking them at heaven, God looks down at all of that and laughs at it. "Do you think that frightens me? Do you think that threatens me? No way." You put the futility of man's best shot against the sovereignty of God and you realize, "This is a joke." They're shooting a pop-gun against a cannon of sovereignty. Of course it's doomed to fail. It could come out no other way and so God righteously looks at that with contempt, with derision and says, "Your rebellion is not worthy of my attention. I just scoff at it."
So beloved, what you and I need to see is, and what I hope you sense welling up in your understanding and in your heart is, a sense of confidence, a sense of strength in the midst of this wicked world in which we live where you say, "Yeah, from my perspective, this world's rebellion looks intimidating. If there were men setting torches to our church and we were locked inside, their might be a little bit of a fearful component to that. Christians have died under worse circumstances than that illustration but where we find our strength, where we find the truth, where we find our confidence, is looking at it from God's perspective and from God's perspective this is no threat at all. Their rage is doomed to failure. So we don't have to be stressed out over the latest news cycle. We know the outcome. It could be no other way. It is an utter impossibility to think that rebellion against God could succeed in the end and we have to view life from that way. We have to look at the world around us from that perspective and say, "It doesn't matter how bad it looks right now. God is still in the heavens. God still reigns from his throne. The outcome of this is certain even though it looks bad at the time."
In that way, Psalm 2 builds on the end of Psalm 1. Look at the end of Psalm 1 with me. This is the same principle that we talked about Sunday morning. This is building on it and taking it from an individual to a global level. Psalm 1:6, "The LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will," what? "Perish." It will perish. Psalm 2 is an application of Psalm 1:6 and it doesn't matter how big and powerful the men are who are rebelling, they have no power against a sovereign God. Their rage will fail. Their conspiracies will be exposed. And when God speaks, it says in Psalm 2:5, their rebellion will turn to terror. That's the outcome of their rebellion for them. They go from uncontrollable rage to uncontrollable fear whenever God determines to speak and they realize that their plots are in vain. Of course God views them with contempt. They are mere creatures who cannot begin to assault the citadel of heaven.
So we've seen the conspiracy of the nations; the contempt of the Father who is speaking to his Son there. That's why we say it's the contempt of the Father because what we're going to see here in verse 7, you see in verses 7-9 the third point of this Psalm: the conquest of the Son. The conquest of the Son. Here in verses 7-9, the Son is describing, he's quoting the Father. This is the Lord Jesus Christ describing the basis upon which he will reign and he says, let's look at verses 7-9. He says,
7 "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son," so it's the Father speaking to the Son and he says, "Today I have begotten You. 8 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 9 'You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.'"
Who holds the throne to reign over the earth? Who is going to fulfill this decree? It is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Here's the thing, beloved: he has the right to rule because the Father gave it to him. The God of all sovereignty said, "I will have you ruling on my holy hill." There is no higher court of appeal. There is no one to challenge that. God in his unchallenged, unsurpassed supremacy says, "Christ will rule on the earth. I have decreed this. Thus shall it be." No man can speak against that and so Christ here in verses 7-9 is describing how he has the right to rule. He says, "I have this right because my Father gave it to me and no man can change God's eternal decree." There is nothing to argue about. There is nothing to talk about here. We're wasting our time thinking it could be any different. And the resurrection was a day which particularly manifested his Sonship.
Turn to Acts 13. If ever there was a display that the Son of God has power to rule, it was after his resurrection when God manifested the uniqueness of his Son in a unique way on earth and it is tied in the context of the resurrection. Acts 13:30, "God raised Him from the dead; and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people. And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm," here it is again, "You are My Son; today I have begotten You.' As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: 'I will give You the holy and sure blessings of David.'" God has displayed Christ as the resurrected one. There can be no question about his sovereignty, his majesty, the certainty of the outcome. If death could not hold him in prison, then nothing else will either.
Going further as we continue to let Scripture interpret Psalm 2 for us, the book of Revelation assures us that the Son will receive this gift of the nations in the end. Before we go to Revelation, let's go back to Psalm 2 again where the Father bids the Son to ask. He says, "Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession." The nations belong to Christ. We as believers wouldn't want to be out from under that but the outcome of nations, the future of nations, is to belong to him, not to be independent. There is no way around this. This is the decree of God. Psalm 2:9 anticipates their rebellion. It anticipates that there will be a conquest involved in this when it says as the Father is speaking to the Son, he says, "You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware." It has the picture of the nations like a piece of pottery and the Son holding it and their rebellion is in his hands and he throws it on the ground and it shatters never to be restored. Utter, total sovereignty. Utter, total victory expressed when the nations are cast down and shattered by the power of Christ.
The book of Revelation speaks of this. Turn to Revelation 2, again, applying, interpreting Psalm 2 and applying it to a time still future to us. Revelation 2:25 where Christ is speaking to the church. He says, "'Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. 'He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and He shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father." We don't have time to go into this but Christ is saying that he's going to share this victory with his people and he takes Psalm 2 and he says, "This is what I’m going to do and I’m going to share this with you, my people." The rod of iron, vessels broken to pieces. That the picture of rebellious nations at the end of the age.
Look at Revelation 12:5, "She gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne." At the end of Revelation, it tells us that Christ will ultimately overcome the nations with a display of sovereign force that will end their rebellion forever. Look at Revelation 19:11, "I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses." He is riding in for his final conquest in sovereign majesty and power. Verse 15, look for the echoes of Psalm 2, "From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "King of kings, and Lord of Lords." There may be earthly kings but there is one King with authority over all of them and that is our Lord Jesus Christ and he will have victory in the end. He will conquer the rebellion and he will conquer it by force in the end time.
So Psalm 2 is teaching us that Christ has this authority because God has given it to him. God has given to him the nations, they belong to him. It is an act of utter wicked rebellion that the nations try to cast that off and Psalm 2 tells us that Christ will surpress that rebellion so that the Father's decree is carried out to perfection and men will not thwart that plan at all. We've just gotten a preview of world history, the culmination of world history from Scripture. Nations have no hope when Jesus strikes them. What a turn of events. The nations shaking their fists and then the Son appears and the Son puts their rebellion down and that which belongs to him by eternal decree, he will possess in time and he will be recognized as the one true sovereign over all the earth. Majesty. Glory. Dominion and power to him forever and ever. Amen.
What does it mean for today? We've seen the conspiracy of the nations, the contempt of the Father and we have seen the conquest of the Son but the Psalm isn't over yet. There are three more verses to go. There is one more voice from which we must hear. Point 4 here tonight: the counsel of the Spirit. The counsel of the Spirit. In light of this prophetic preview of what is going to happen, the Spirit of God now addresses the nations and calls them to wisdom and repentance. Before I read verse 10, let's go back to Acts 4:25 because I understand that the Spirit of God is not explicitly mentioned in the text of Psalm 2 so you wonder, "Why are you saying that this is the Holy Spirit speaking here?" Well, let me remind you of Acts 4:25 one more time. Again, we're letting Scripture interpret Scripture here this evening. Let me remind you by Acts 4:25 that it's the Holy Spirit through the mouth of our father David who is speaking in Psalm 2. So what you have here is you have a Trinitarian display, a Trinitarian discourse in Psalm 2: the Father speaks, the Son speaks and now the Spirit speaks in verse 10 and listen to what he says. The preview of world history is now done and the Spirit of God is now making application to the world, making application to the nations and he is speaking to them in these final verses, making an appeal that they would respond in wisdom and in repentance. Look at verse 10,
10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth.
Let's stop there. He's saying, "Look, this is what's going to happen and here you are in your rebellion against this sovereign God. Listen, it's time for you to wake up and get smart. It's time to be wise. It's time for you to be discerning about your position. You cannot possibly win and so why continue the battle? Show discernment about your hopeless position and do this," verse 11,
11 Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling.
This is a call to repentance. This is the Spirit speaking to the nations saying, "In the midst of your rebellion, I call you to repentance. Turn from your rebellion and worship the Lord who is sovereign over you, who has declared his intentions and who will bring wrath upon you unless you repent." That's our message to the rejoicing homosexual activist in the world today as their agenda advances at breathtaking speed, "Don't be fooled by your success. It's temporary and the wrath of God is against this. While you have time, repent and submit." But here the Spirit is speaking to the rulers of nations and saying, "You worship the Lord with reverence. You rejoice with trembling." It's an invitation. It's a warning and it's an invitation at the same time. It's an appeal that's saying, "Even after all your wicked mutiny, God will still receive you. God will still have you come. It's an invitation to repentance and forgiveness that after all of your wicked rebellion, God will still have you. He would rather have you as part of the nations that his Son receives and loves rather than whom he conquers by force." It's an incredible statement of the grace and mercy of God. It's a statement from the Spirit of God to the nations, "You do not have to be shattered. If you come to Christ, he will bless you."
Look at verse 12,
12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled.
There's not much time. This could happen soon. While there is still this day of mercy, do homage to the Son. Most of the modern translations translate this as "kiss the Son." King James, New King James, English Standard, NIV, "kiss the Son." Pledge affectionate allegiance to him. Submit to him. Bow before him in love before he makes you bow by force. This is an invitation, a sincere offer of forgiveness from God to rebellious nations, "Just come to my Son and we will wipe the slate clean. Come to my Son and there is forgiveness. I'm withholding my wrath a little while longer so that you will come." and the Spirit of God ends it with this promise at the end of verse 12,
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!
It's a promise of blessing upon the repentant. You know, when we call people to repent, we're not simply warning them of judgment, we're extending to them a promise of blessing. There is a double-edged sword in the gospel, a warning of judgment but a promise of blessing, "Just come to Christ."
All of you here that know the Lord Jesus Christ, you would testify to the truth and the fulfillment of God's promise when you put your trust in Christ, wouldn't you? Haven't you found that God has blessed you in your Christian life? Haven't you found that when you turn from sin to Christ that he received you with open arms, that he showered his love upon you, that he purified your conscience and he gave you a sense of love and joy and peace and reconciliation that turned your world upside down, right? You can speak from experience to the truth of the way Psalm 2 ends. "I've been blessed by taking my refuge in Christ," and what the Spirit of God is doing is looking out on a wicked world and saying, "It's not too late. Your rebellion can't succeed but God will receive you. Take your refuge in him. Come to Christ and be saved."
At the end of this Psalm, it's hard to know where to turn in worship. Do you turn and worship God and his sovereign decree before the beginning of time and realize the greatness and the vastness of that? You worship there at that aspect of his throne. You look at Christ risen from the dead, conquering one day in glory and you worship that aspect of God on his throne. And yet with all of the righteous motivation that he has to judge the world now, you see him appealing in grace, offering forgiveness to these foolish rebels and says, "Come to my Son and I’ll forgive you. I will bless you despite your rebellion. Just come to my Son and kiss him. Bow before him. Give your allegiance. Lay down your weapons of warfare and you will find blessing by taking refuge in the mercy and grace of my Son." From the sweep of eternal sovereignty and majesty, from one end of eternity to the other, then you see this in the middle of it. What kind of God is this? That in wrath he displays mercy? Habakkuk 3. That in wrath he extends the opportunity of reconciliation?
"Who is like this God?" the prophet Micah said. In Micah 7, "Who is like this God who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of his possession? He does not retain his anger forever because he delights in unchanging love." Perfect holiness and a perfection of grace. The majesty of God in its multifaceted splendor on display for us to worship, for us to take our own refuge in, for us to abide in peace.
Let's pray together.
Father, we interpret world events through the prism of this Psalm. You will prevail even if wicked men prosper for a time and yet you withhold your judgment in an extension of grace, as you offer grace to rebellious nations and rebellious men, "Come to my Son and receive forgiveness and eternal life." Yes God, even in this room, you offer that same offer of mercy to sinners here who have not yet received you.
My friend, if that's you, you should seek his salvation while you can. Your rebellion and dismissal of God's word and the Lord Jesus Christ cannot succeed in the end. You are doomed to failure on your present path. The Spirit says, "Come. Find refuge in Christ and be blessed." Why would you turn away from blessing? Why would you turn away from supreme happiness when the alternative is utter destruction at the hand of a holy God? Come to Christ and be saved.
Father, for those of us that know you, who have been on the receiving end of your redeeming grace and mercy, we worship you. We are astonished at the greatness of your sovereignty and we are astonished at the greatness of your grace and mercy to sinners like us. We worship you. We honor you. We separate ourselves from this ungodly world. We want no part of their thinking, their philosophies and their raised fist against heaven. Father, as the Spirit bids, we come and we kiss the Son. We yield our affectionate allegiance and our glad obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ tonight and we thank you for including us in your plan to give a redeemed people, redeemed nations, as it were, to Christ. We bless your name. In Jesus' holy character and shed blood we pray. Amen.