BOOK ONE Psalms 1–41
The previous psalm was moral, and showed us our duty. This next one, Psalm 2, shows us our Saviour. The Kingdom of the Messiah, the Son of David, is prophesied. This psalm, as with the previous is very fitly situated in the beginning of this book of devotions as it shows us the requirements for our acceptance with God. As well as being subject to the precepts of His law, so likewise we should be subject to the grace of His gospel, and come to Him through the name of a Mediator.
PSALM 2 – A Psalm of David
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.
Heaven and hell in contest
Henry says – Here is the very great struggle regarding the Kingdom of Christ, hell and heaven in contest. The seat of the war is this earth, where Satan has had a long usurped kingdom and exercised dominion. This is to such a degree that he has been called the prince of the power of the very air we breathe and the god of the world we live in. He knows very well that, as the Messiah’s Kingdom rises and gets ground, his falls and loses ground. Therefore though it will be certainly set up. It shall not be set up tamely.
There is a mighty opposition toward the Messiah and His kingdom, Ps. 2:1-3. One might have expected that so great a blessing to this world would be universally welcomed and embraced. But it proves quite the opposite. Never has anything been so tyrannical opposed with so much violence as the doctrine and government of Christ—a sign that it was from heaven, for the opposition plainly originates from hell.
The age old enmity
It is the heathen, as the devil’s instruments, who are to appear as adversaries to Christ in this opposition. Though they love liberty, yet they are averse to the liberty Christ came to proclaim. Though His Kingdom is not of this world, yet the kings of the earth and rulers are up in arms immediately. Such are the effects of the age old enmity in the seed of the serpent against the seed of the woman.
The enemies of the church are numerous and potent. Who it is that they quarrel with, and muster up all their forces against? it is against the Lord and against His anointed. Christ is both authorised and qualified to be the head of the church. Yet there are those who are against Him because they have a rooted enmity to the Spirit of holiness. Those who do evil rage at the light. It creates in them the utmost uneasiness, and fills them with indignation see Luke 13:14; John 11:47; Acts 5:17, 33; 19:28.
They take counsel together
They imagine or contrive ways to suppress the rising interests of Christ’s Kingdom and are very confident of their success. It is a resolute and obstinate opposition. They set themselves, set their faces as flint in defiance. They are proud and daring, like the Babel-builders, and will persist in their resolution, come what may. It is a combined and confederate opposition. They take counsel together, to assist one another in this opposition carrying their resolutions unanimously. Councils are called, cabals are formed, and all their wits are at work to find out ways and means of preventing the establishment of Christ’s Kingdom, Ps. 83:5.
Let us break their bands asunder (Ps. 2:3). They will not be put under any government. As children of Belial they cannot endure the yoke. They will not restrain their corrupt appetites and passions and reform their hearts and lives. Truly they will not have this Man to reign over them, Luke 19:14. Christ has bands and cords for us. Those who will be saved by Him must be ruled by Him. Why do men oppose faith? because they resist its restraints and obligations they will cast them away as far as they can.
The moon walks in brightness, though the dogs bark at it
It is a vain thing to oppose it. When they have done their worst, Christ will have a church in the world and that church shall be glorious and triumphant. It is built upon a rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The moon walks in brightness, though the dogs bark at it.
Those who make this mighty struggle are the people and kings of the earth, who, being of the earth, are earthy. But He whom they contest with is one that sits in the heavens, Ps. 2:4. His power is such that He can overcome them and all their attempts. He sits there, as one easy and at rest, out of reach of all their impotent menaces and attempts. There He sits as Judge in all the affairs of the children of men, perfectly secure in the full accomplishment of all His own purposes and designs, in spite of all opposition, Ps. 29:10. The perfect repose of the Eternal Mind may be our comfort under all the disquietments of our mind. We are tossed on earth, and in the sea, but He sits in the heavens, where He has prepared His throne for judgment.
God laughs at them
The attempts of Christ’s enemies are easily ridiculed. God laughs at them as a company of fools. He has them, and all their attempts, in derision, and therefore the daughter of Zion, has despised them, Isa. 37:22. The attempts of the kingdom of Satan which in our eyes are formidable in God’s are despicable. Sometimes God is said to awake, arise, and stir Himself up, for the vanquishing of His enemies. Here He was to sit still and vanquish them. In God’s omnipotence His operations create no difficulty at all, nor the least disturbance to His eternal rest.
They are justly punished, Ps. 2:5. God is justly displeased with them and will make the most daring sinners to tremble before Him. Their sin is a provocation to Him. We cannot expect that God should be reconciled to us, or be well pleased with us, but in and through the anointed One. If we reject Him, we sin against the remedy and forfeit the benefit thereof. If God even speaks to them in His wrath, even the breath of His mouth will be their slaughter, and consumption, Isa. 11:4; 2 Thess. 2:8. He speaks, and it is done. He speaks in wrath, and sinners are undone.
Christ is King
As a Word made us, so a Word can unmake us again. Who knows the power of His anger? The enemies rage but God will bring them to their wits’ end. He will set up this Kingdom of His Son, in spite of them. The day is coming when vexation against God’s people shall be recompensed to them.
(Ps. 2:6): Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion. David was advanced to the throne against all opposition. The Lord Jesus is exalted to the right hand of the Father and has all power in heaven and earth, and is head over all things to the church. This despite the restless endeavours of His enemies to hinder His advancement. Jesus Christ is a King, and is invested by Him who is the fountain of power. God is pleased to call Him His King, because He is appointed by Him. He is His King, for He is dear to the Father, and the one in whom He is well pleased.
Christ’s throne in the hearts of believers
Christ did not take this honour to Himself, but was called to it: I have set him; His commission He received from the Father. Christ, being raised, is fixed: “I have set Him, I have settled Him.” He is set upon Zion, the hill of God’s holiness, a type of the gospel church. Christ’s throne is set up in His church, that is, in the hearts of all believers. The evangelical law of Christ goes forth from Zion (Isa. 2:3; Mic. 4:2). Zion is the head-quarters of this general, the royal seat of this prince, in whom the children of men shall be joyful.
We are to sing Ps. 2:1-6 with a holy exultation, triumphing over all the enemies of Christ’s Kingdom (not doubting that they will all quickly be made to be His footstool). We are to pray, in firm belief of the assurance here given, “Father in heaven, Thy Kingdom come; let thy Son’s kingdom come.” We have heard what the kings of the earth have to say against Christ’s kingdom, and have heard from Him who sits in heaven. Let us now hear what the Messiah Himself has to say for His kingdom, to make good His claims. It is what all the powers on earth cannot contradict.
Had lain in the bosom of the Father
The Kingdom of the Messiah is founded upon a decree, an eternal decree from God the Father. As a result of the counsels of the divine wisdom and the determinations of the divine will. Determined before all worlds, neither of which can be altered—the precept or covenant. A federal transaction between the Father and the Son concerning man’s redemption. It is represented by the covenant of royalty made between David and his seed, Ps. 89:3. This our Lord Jesus often referred to as that which God governed Himself; This is the will of Him that sent me, John 6:40. This commandment have I received of My Father, John 10:18; 14:31.
It was what the Father decreed to the Son, who had lain in the bosom of the Father from eternity. He came into the world as the prophet of the church, to declare Him, John 1:18. The fountain of all being is, without doubt, the fountain of all power. Christ has a title by inheritance (Ps. 2:7): Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee. This scripture is quoted (Heb. 1:5) to prove that Christ has a more excellent name than the angels, but that He obtained it by inheritance, Ps. 2:4. He is the Son of God, the only begotten of the Father, John 1:14. As the Son of God He has the same nature with the Father. He has in Him all the fullness of the godhead, infinite wisdom, power, and holiness.
The Father loves the Son
He is the Son of God, and therefore dear to Him. His beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased. Because the Father loves the Son He has given all things into His hand, John 3:35; 5:20. The Father made the worlds by Him and so it is easy to infer that He also governs them. For He is the eternal Wisdom and the eternal Word. His Kingdom is grounded upon His Sonship: This day have I begotten Thee as quoted in (Heb. 1:5). He is the brightness of His Father’s glory and the express image of His person.
It was by the resurrection from the dead, that sign of the prophet Jonah, which was to be the most convincing of all. Here He was declared to be the Son of God with power, Rom. 1:4. Christ is said to be the first-begotten and first-born from the dead, Rev. 1:5; Col. 1:18.
Immediately after His resurrection He entered into His mediatorial office. It was then that He said, All power is given unto Me. He was given a title by agreement, Ps. 2:8, 9: that the Son must undertake the office of an intercessor. Isa. 53:12; Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, because He made intercession for the transgressors. He shall be a priest upon His throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both, Zech. 6:13.
It shall be victorious
The Son, in asking the heathen for His inheritance, aims not only at His own honour, but at their happiness in Him. So He ever lives to intercede for them and is therefore able to save to the uttermost. Those in the uttermost parts of the earth shall be His possession, and He shall have multitudes of willing loyal subjects among them. Christians are the possession of the Lord Jesus. God the Father gives them to Him when by His Spirit He works upon them to submit to the yoke of the Lord Jesus.
This is in part fulfilled. A large portion of the Gentile world received the gospel when it was first preached, and Christ’s throne was set up where Satan’s seat had long been. But it is yet to be further accomplished when the kingdoms of this world shall become the Kingdoms of the Lord and of His Christ, Rev. 11:15. It shall be victorious: Thou shalt break them (those of them that oppose Thy Kingdom) with a rod of iron, Ps. 2:9. It will not be completely fulfilled till all opposing rule, principality, and power, shall be finally put down, 1 Cor. 15:24; Ps. 110:5, 6.
Those that will not bow shall break
The enemies of His kingdom are like a potter’s vessel before Him, suddenly, easily, and irreparably dashed in pieces by Him. Rev. 2:27. Nations shall be ruined, rather than the gospel church not established. “Thou shalt have power to do it; none shall be able to stand before thee.” Those that will not bow shall break. He that has power to destroy them shows that He has no pleasure in their destruction. He offers them into a way to make themselves happy, Ps. 2:10. Those that would be wise must be instructed. They are truly wise that receive instruction from the Word of God.
We are exhorted to reverence God and stand in awe of Him, Ps. 2:11. God is great, and infinitely above us, just and holy, therefore we ought to fear Him and tremble before Him. Yet He is our Lord and Master, and we are bound to serve Him. He is our friend and benefactor, and we have reason to rejoice in Him and these are all very well consistent with each other. Even kings themselves, whom others serve, must serve and fear God. There is the same indefinite distance between them and God that there is between the meanest of their subjects and him.
His eye is always upon us
We must rejoice in God, and be in subordination to Him with a holy trembling, as those who know what a glorious and jealous God He is, whose eye is always upon us. Our salvation must be worked out with fear and trembling, Phil. 2:12. With a holy fear for ourselves, lest we come short, and a tender concern for the many precious souls to whom His gospel and Kingdom are a savour of death. Whatever we rejoice in in this world, let it be with trembling, lest we be puffed up with the things we rejoice in. To rejoice with trembling is to rejoice as though we rejoiced not, 1 Cor. 7:30.
To welcome Jesus Christ and to submit to Him, Ps. 2:12. This is the great duty of the Christian which is required of all. It is our wisdom and interest to do it. Kiss the Son. Christ is called the Son because so He was declared (Ps. 2:7), Thou art My Son. He is the Son of God from eternity and is to be adored by us. He is the Son of man (that is, the Mediator, John 5:27), and so is to be received and submitted to.
Kiss the Son
Our duty to Christ is here expressed figuratively: Kiss the Son, not with a betraying kiss, as Judas kissed him, and as all hypocrites do who pretend to honour Him. But to really kiss Him with a believing kiss. A kiss of agreement and reconciliation. Let the quarrel between us and God terminate. Let all acts of hostility cease, and let us be at peace with God in Christ, who is our peace.
Those who worship idols kiss them, 1 Kgs. 19:18; Hos. 13:2. Let us study how to do honour to the Lord Jesus, and to give unto Him the glory due unto His name. We must worship the Lamb, as well as Him who sits on the throne, Rev. 5:9-13. “Kiss the Son; enter into a covenant of friendship with Him, and let Him be very dear and precious to you. Love Him above all, love Him in sincerity, love Him much, as she did to whom much was forgiven, and, in token of it, kissed His feet,” Luke 7:38. Kiss Him with a kiss of allegiance and loyalty, as Samuel kissed Saul, 1 Sam. 10:1. Submit to His government, take His yoke upon you, and give up yourselves to be entirely devoted to His interests.
The Son is the Mediator
If we refuse to do so we shall run into ruin: “Kiss the Son; for it is at your peril if you do not.” “It will be a great provocation to him. Do it, lest He be angry.” The Father is angry already; the Son is the Mediator that undertakes to make peace. If we slight Him, the Father’s wrath abides upon us (John 3:36). Additionally nothing is more displeasing than to have the offers of His grace slighted and the designs of it frustrated.
The Son can be angry, though a Lamb, He is the lion of the tribe of Judah. The wrath of this King of kings, will be as the roaring of a lion and will drive even mighty men to seek in vain for shelter in rocks and mountains, Rev. 6:16. If the Son be angry, who shall intercede for us? There remains no more sacrifice, no other name by which we can be saved.
Yield to Christ
Christ is the way, take heed lest you be cut off from Him. It intimates that they were, or at least they thought themselves to be in the way, but, by neglecting Christ, they perished from it. They are not far from the kingdom of God and yet never arrive there. Yet if we yield ourselves to Christ we are sure of happiness. Those who trust in Him, and so kiss Him, are truly happy. Blessed will those be in the day of wrath, who, by trusting in Christ, have made Him their refuge. When the hearts of others fail them for fear they shall lift up their heads with joy. Those who now despise Christ and His followers will be forced to say, to their own greater confusion, “Now we see that blessed are they, and they only, who trust in Him.”
In singing this, and praying it over, we should have our hearts filled with a holy awe of God. But at the same time borne up with a cheerful confidence in Christ, in whose mediation we may comfort and encourage ourselves and one another. We are the circumcision, that rejoice in Christ Jesus.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Fear The question now is one of fear. You come so close to Him, so near You’re on the edge, the very brink But then you turn away and sink Back into your old self again. The promised life is yours, but then You say you’re happy as you are, The pain, the suffering in your eyes, Those years of hate, deceit and lies. He sent His Son on earth to heal To open eyes that could not see, To clear your mind and set you free. Repent right now, forget, forgive Then He will show you how to live. By the late Andrew Feakin [passed away 16th March 2019]
Prayer for the Day
Father, I come to You. I understand fully that those who are to be saved by Christ must be ruled by Him. May I be one who easily submits to His rule in my life. Help me keep in mind that Your mind is in perfect repose, let this be my comfort in all the tensions of my mind. Your power is such that when You speak, it is done. May the throne of Christ be fully established in my heart. May I be one who frequently sings with a holy exultation of the triumph over all the enemies of Christ’s Kingdom (not doubting that they will all quickly be made to be His footstool).
Remind me to pray, in firm belief of the assurance given, “Father in heaven, Thy Kingdom come; let thy Son’s kingdom come.” Let me be among those who are wise and instructed by You. May I be in reverence before You and stand in awe of You. Give me a holy fear of You and a trembling heart before You. That I should be kept from conceit and deceit. May I work out my salvation with fear and trembling with a holy fear for myself, lest I come short. Grow in me a tender concern for the many precious souls to whom Your gospel and Kingdom are a savour of death. Help me to lead others to welcome Jesus Christ and to submit to Him.
May I really kiss the Son with a believing kiss. A kiss of agreement and reconciliation. I chose this day to enter into a covenant of friendship with Him, and let Him be very dear and precious to me.
To love Him above all and love Him in sincerity and love Him much. May I take His yoke upon me, and give up myself to be entirely devoted to His interests. May I take heed lest I be cut off from Him. Let me not be as one who comes so very close to the Kingdom of God, but never enter in.
I chose to trust in Christ and make Him my refuge. In singing this Psalm and praying it over let my heart be filled with a holy awe of You. But at the same time be borne up with a cheerful confidence in Christ, in whose mediation I may comfort and encourage myself and others. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
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