God’s Promise to His Anointed
1 Why do the nations conspire,
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and his anointed, saying,
3 “Let us burst their bonds asunder,
and cast their cords from us.”
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord has them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 “I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.”
7 I will tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron,
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
with trembling 12 kiss his feet,
or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way;
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Happy are all who take refuge in him.
Psalm 2 falls under the category of royal psalms. They are called “royal” psalms because they deal with the spiritual role of kings in the worship of God. The common element found in these handful of psalms is the charge of a ruler to rule his people in subjection to God’s will and law. The royal psalms are scattered around the entire collection of psalms in a way that suggests that these psalms are not only poetic relics from the days of the Davidic dynasty, but are also expressions of the ongoing hope that God will continue to manifest God’s sovereignty, in concrete ways, in the life of God’s people and in the life of the world in general.
When we say that we are “one nation under God,” or inscribe the words “in God we trust” on our currency we are echoing this prayer that ultimately we are being led by God and that our country’s leaders are seeking God’s wisdom and guidance for the future. This grouping of psalms is important theologically because it reminds us that ultimately God is in charge and all leaders on all levels should be subject to the coming kingdom of God.
Most scholars believe that Psalm 2 was written by King David at his son Solomon’s coronation ritual. The questions that today’s psalm opens with are timeless: who rules the world and who is really in control? Nations and leaders can plot and conspire but we must never forget that it is God who rules the world. This should be a comfort to those who put their trust in the Lord and a discouragement to those who think that the world revolves around them or that they are in charge of the universe.
God, these royal psalms remind us that we are mere vessels for your good work. Help us to have a healthy view of ourselves and the leaders in our community, remembering that above all else, you desire a servant’s heart. Amen.