Notes on Psalm 2: Kiss the Son

1  Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

3 “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”

4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision.

5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

6 “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.”

7 “I will declare the decree; the LORD has said to me, ‘Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

8 ‘Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

9 ‘Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”

10 Be wise now therefore, O you kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth.

11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in him.

The Second Psalm is quite famous and is the most quoted psalm in the New Testament because of its connections to Jesus. It is referred to in the New Testament as a Psalm of David.

This Psalm describes the Lord God fighting to uphold the rule of David and his Kingdom. However, it is more properly a prophecy of the rejection of the Messiah and mankind’s opposition to the rule of God in Christ. Whereas Psalm 1 deals with Man’s personal righteousness or unrighteousness, this Psalm deals with Man’s obedience or disobedience to God’s government – namely His choice of Jesus as the Messiah.

The Psalm has been said to be divided into four sections or stanzas of three verses each. Each stanza tells a part of the story and goes towards the whole. We can examine the Psalm more easily this way. We will also understand it better if we see that there are three different voices speaking here: (1) the heathen nations; (2) the LORD; and (3) the anointed king.

 

1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

3 “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”

A.  This Psalm begins with a question – the writer is amazed that the heathen can imagine something so ridiculous and futile.

B. The heathen here are the Gentiles; in other words, they represent the non-Jewish world which is opposed to Israel’s God and Israel’s King. The “people” means the nations of the world and really means the same as the “heathen.” This is an example of the side-by-side statements that made up much Hebrew poetry.

C. The nations are raging against God in a futile gesture, for no one can resist God’s Power. They plan to overthrow God and His Anointed One, which in the Hebrew is Messiah, or Christ. The Book of Acts tells us that this was literally fulfilled by the opposition of men to Jesus: And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, “Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is; who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, ‘Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.’ (Acts 4:24-26)

D. There is also a fulfillment of this verse to be found in the future, as all the nations of the unsaved, unbelievably, will deliberately stand in opposition to Christ at the end of this age. This is the final manifestation of the spirit of antichrist, which works to inspire hatred of Christ so that men may enjoy sin: And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. (Rev. 19:19)

E. The reference to bands and cords indicates that they do not wish to be held under the dominion of the King any longer; His way of life is contrary to their flesh. As in the Revelation, these nations know that they are consciously rebelling against the God of Heaven and His Son. We are seeing the beginning of this today, where the Gospel is spreading in many nations but there is also a great falling away in many nations which have served Christ as least in word for many centuries. Where they once at least gave Him lip service, now they will give Him no honor at all.

 

4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision.

5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

6 “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.”

A. In this stanza, the Lord reacts to their speech with mocking laughter. In the vernacular of today, we would say that God said, “Give me a break!” How feeble our efforts to mock God and deny His sovereignty must appear to Him who spread out the heavens like a curtain.

B. Violent atheism is making a comeback. Recently people were videotaped intentionally blaspheming the Holy Spirit perhaps in an effort to show that there is no God. From God’s vantage point in the heavens, all of our hard speeches against Him are puny and insignificant.

C. When God speaks, He makes a declaration they do not want to hear, one which vexes them: that He has installed His King on Zion’s Hill – whether anyone likes it or not.

D. Two things irritate the nations: first, that God has the right to make whomever He wishes to be King; and, second, that His King is connected with Zion. The Devil has inspired men to hate the Jewish people as well as the Jewish Messiah.

 

7 “I will declare the decree; the LORD has said to me, ‘Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

8 ‘Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

9 ‘Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”

A. Now the Messiah speaks, and tells of God’s installing Him as King! The Church sees verse 7 as being connected to the Resurrection. It was this event that demonstrated to all Creation that Jesus was the Son of God and God’s instrument to rule over everything He had created.

B. In verse 8 the Son is invited to pray that he may have the inheritance the Father wishes to give Him – to rule the nations. It is not incorrect to pray this in our day in a spiritual sense; for Christ would rather rule over men’s hearts.

C. God has promised the Son (verse 9) that one day His Kingdom will be the only one and there will no longer be any opposition to His Rulership!

 

10 Be wise now therefore, O you kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth.

11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in him.

A. The Psalmist, who is also serving as the narrator of these events, steps back into the conversation and now begins to give advice to the kings, based on the heavenly conversations he has heard.

B. First, they must learn to serve the Lord with reverent fear. They must also worship Him with trembling at His majesty.

C. They must also kiss, or do homage to the Son, lest God be angry that they have refused His choice of a Messiah. The smallest kindling of God’s wrath against these rebels would destroy them.

D. Finally, there is another Beatitude: those who would actually trust in Him will be blessed by Him. Even in the strongest of warnings there is an invitation to worship and to experience the kindness of the LORD!

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Author: Nick

I’m a pastor, a writer, musician, and recovering lawyer. Blessed to serve the people of Harvest Time Church as Associate Pastor. In my spare time I enjoy losing to my wife in Words With Friends.

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