Why do the Nations Rage?
Psalm Two ends a similar way to the beginning of Psalm One. Psalm two ends with the phrase,
“Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:12b). Psalm one begins with “Blessed is the man … his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law, he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2). The two Psalms act as an introduction to the 150 Psalms. Psalm one focuses on a singular man, and as we looked at last week in the sermon. The blessed man is Christ. Psalm one could be called a private Psalm. Psalm two looks at public arena. Psalm two is called a royal Psalm, written by David (Acts 4:25), therefore tied to the covenantal promises of David (2 Sam 7:12-16).
Psalm two teaches us about rulers; kings and queens, presidents, prime ministers, war lords, majors, governors, judges, employees, and even ourselves. Ultimately Psalm two teaches us that The Lord Rules and reigns, our Response to take refuge in him. Throughout history this Psalm rings true. We see times of depression, recession, success, wartime or peace. We know the Lord rules and reigns in times of rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, food and drink, health and sickness and riches and poverty.
Rulers; Vs 1-3
Nations rage. People plot. The Kings across the earth place themselves and they consult with each other to take down the Lord’s anointed. The rulers sit in the seat of Scoffers (Ps 1:1). They are against the Lord and his anointed. The ESV study bible says “Samuel anointed both Saul (1 Sam. 10:1) and David (1 Sam. 16:13), setting them apart as king, whose task was to rule Israel and to embody covenant faithfulness. The word Messiah comes from transliterating the Hebrew word for “Anointed,” and the word Christ comes from translating “Anointed” into Greek.” Throughout history many rulers and kings have not been pro-Christianity but anti Christianity. Persecution happens throughout the world today and we should be reminded of this reality, and sadly generations to come might face persecution in America.
Reigns (Vs 4-6)
However, the Psalm does not end from the perspective of man but rather shows the small men who plot and set themselves. The Lord ‘laughs’, and holds them in derision. The Lord is amused by their plotting and taking counsel. Like a parent who overhears a child planning a prank on them. They think they are been sneaky. Similarly, two men playing chess together and the first man thinks he has won the game, however the second man begins to laugh, his opponent had played right into his plan, “check mate.” The Lord begins to speak in wrath and with his fury. The men and women who once felt powerful tremble. The Lord sets his king, unlike the kings and rules who set themselves (Ps 2:2). Kings and rulers are like water in his hand (Pr 21:1). We have seen this in the Bible over and over. Pharaoh vs the Israelite slaves or the fortified city of Jericho vs sojourners who lived in tents. Even today a congregation of believers vs the world. The Lord rules and reigns over everyone. This beings us great comfort in times of uncertainty, times of panic, times of concern, times of sickness. The Lord rules and reigns.
Ruled and Reigned (Vs 7-9)
Verse seven is a great messianic verse that could have it’s own post, see here. Psalm 2 is quoted in the New Testament in Acts 4:23-25, speaking of Christ’s death and resurrection, and the churches persecution.
Acts 4:23–31 ESV
When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,
“ ‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—
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, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
The Lord rules and reigns and shows he is sovereign over all things even kings and rulers. God has set his own king, Jesus Christ, the son of David, the stump of Jesse, the anointed one. The Heidelberg Catechism speaks of Christ as our anointed one. Question 31, Why is he called Christ, that is anointed? “Because he has been ordained by God the Father, and anointed with the Holy Spirit… our eternal King, who governs us by his Word and Spirit, and who defends and preserves us in the redemption obtained for us.” Psalm two points us to Christ as our king and ruler. That the Lord has anointed him, his begotten son as the King. His possession will be the nations and the ends of the earth (Matt 28:19-20).
Refuge in Him (Vs 10-12)
A refugee is one who flees their home land due to peril, war, devastation, they willfully leave. They would leave their homeland hoping to take refuge in another city or nation. They would prefer to be homeless than at home. They would rather be sojourners then citizens. We need to be pilgrims, sojourners, refugees. Serving the king, Christ, with fear, and rejoice with trembling. We approach the throne and are subject to the Son, he holds out his hand pierced for our transgressions and we cannot but on bended knee kiss his hand in adoration and subject to him. We become citizens of his kingdom, we become his subjects. We become blessed because we take our refuge in Him.
How can we find comfort knowing that God rules and reigns?
In what ways does this psalm point us towards Christ?
How does Christ rule in your life? How are you subject to his decrees?
 Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 943.