Theology and Politics from a Conservative, Biblical Perspective
Psalm 2 is an amazing Psalm on so many levels. It provides us the perspective of man’s arrogant thinking. It highlights how God sees all of man’s attempts to come out from under God’s rule. It speaks of God’s omnipotence and sovereignty. It notes man’s (and Satan’s) ultimate and final defeat. It highlights the huge gap between puny man and awesome power of God Almighty. It unfolds Messianic prophecy that will be fulfilled.
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 that sitteth 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 hath said unto 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 ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (Psalm 2)
The 12 verses in Psalm 2 tell us about man’s unrelenting (and seemingly unstoppable), arrogance toward God and God’s response to it. God will only let it go so far before He puts a complete halt to it and the sense here is that it is so effortless on God’s part that He simply laughs at all of man’s efforts to push God away. Psalm 2 underscores the truth that God has created and He has created all things to bring Him glory. All humanity will laud and honor Him either willingly or unwillingly, but it shall be done.
It appears as though there is a conversation going on between the Trinity here. There’s certainly the two perspectives occurring within the Psalm. Dr. J. Vernon McGee speaks about two cameras, one highlighting man’s perspective on the earth and one highlighting God’s perspective from His throne in heaven. It’s a remarkable Psalm and as a Messianic Psalm that speaks of prophetic fulfillment at the end of this current age.
Psalm 2 refers to man’s agenda, which is to be free of God’s rule. That’s really what it’s all about. Imagine that; the created attempting to be free of the Creator. How stupefying is that to believe? Yet, this is humanity’s goal, led there by Satan himself.
On one hand, God has a detailed plan of redemption that He unfolded. He revealed much of it to us long before it occurred, which came together in the life, death, and resurrection of God the Son. Now, because all of this is behind us, we look to the day when Jesus will physically return and be the ruling King over all the earth!
On the other hand, Satan has been working very diligently to ensure that Jesus as Ruler of the earth never happens. Whom do you believe will win? It’s really a no-brainer, isn’t it? The Bible has revealed to us throughout that God wins. There is no contest at all, either between Satan and God, humanity and God or Satan with humanity and God. God expends very little effort in the war started by Satan. God allows him to attempt to bring his (Satan’s) plan of world dominion to fruition in order to cast him down publicly so that the entire world will know and understand just who God is and it is not Satan (or man)!
During King David’s day (and he is the assumed author of Psalm 2 based on the testimony of Acts 4:25), the Holy Spirit prompted David to see a larger picture and gave him an eyeful about how desperate humanity is to throw off the “bands” and “cords” (Psalm 2:3) of God’s rule. This has been Satan’s goal since he first fell and after he managed to succeed in getting Eve and Adam to fall, he put his plan to use humanity to help him break free of God’s rule. That’s what it’s all about. Satan wants to be God (Isaiah 14:14) and he’ll use humanity in his attempt to make that happen. Will he succeed? Psalm 2 tells us he won’t.
The people of the earth, kings and rulers, “imagine a vain thing.” Clearly, the meaning here is that what the people imagine is certainly arrogant, but beyond that, it is something that will never happen! It is vain in that sense. It cannot be completed simply because God’s plan and His sovereignty rule. There is no question except to those who have chosen to not believe God and to side with the enemy of our souls.
[A vain thing is]…a thing which [the people] cannot accomplish. It cannot mean that they were engaged in forming plans which they supposed would be vain – for no persons would form such plans; but that they were engaged in designs which the result would show to be unsuccessful. The reference here is to the agitation among the nations in respect to the divine purpose to set up the Messiah as king over the world, and to the opposition which this would create among the nations of the earth. 
There is absolutely no chance of the people’s “plans” coming to fruition (or Satan’s). None. God will establish His plans whether people work with Him or against Him. Isn’t that at least part of the lesson with Pharaoh of old who did everything he could to try to stop Moses and the Israelites from leaving Egypt? So ludicrous is the idea that people actually think they will successfully come against God that He responds to such lunacy in verse 4.
God laughs…heartily. It’s the only time we can truly call this actual “holy laughter” because it is God who is literally belly laughing at the preposterous idea that puny man can come out from under His rule! Unlike what has been termed “holy laughter” that began in Toronto or elsewhere during gatherings of people, this laughter is not made up of men and women laughing hysterically and uncontrollably, allegedly under the power of the Holy Spirit, falling on the floor or over each other. This laughter comes only from God Himself, as a response the absurd idea that humanity can remove itself out from under God’s sovereignty. In fact, so absurd is the idea that God laughs and He laughs in derision at people who even think they can try it (v. 4). But His mirth quickly gives way to supreme anger (wrath, v. 5; in His time, though it appears to take quite a bit to bring His wrath about in our time).
Verses 5 and 6 are God’s resolute and final response to man’s heinous arrogance. Not only does He allow Himself to become angry at the consistent human rejection of Him and His love, but He responds to us by speaking to us. This “speaking” is done in several ways.
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world, (Hebrews 1:1-2).
Ultimately, God has spoken and the promises recorded and fulfilled in Scripture are the final word on the subject, even though some are still in front of us and yet to be fulfilled. Originally, God spoke through His Creation. After the fall of humanity, God began speaking directly to certain individuals and after Israel came into being (also by divine plan), God began using prophets to carry forth His Word. Ultimately, God spoke through God the Son Jesus, as the final Word. This still stands true today. God has spoken and as far as He is concerned, His Word carries the weight of His plans and is a done deal; what He has opted to do and how He will bring things forth.
In Psalm 2, God spoke through King David, explaining the overall picture that will transcend all evil plans in attempts to keep God’s plan from happening. Ultimately, God the Father will install God the Son as ruler from God’s “holy hill” (Zion), where He will rule with a rod of iron (v. 9; see also Revelation 2:27), for 1,000 years. The fact that God has decreed that the rejected Messiah will be the physical ruler of the earth is a true vexation to all those who want to circumvent God’s plan. These people (along with Satan and his angels), want nothing to do with God. They want to throw off God’s sovereignty, as if they really could do that.
Christian, do you doubt that God is ruling? Are you concerned that it does not appear that God is truly sovereign? Either He is fully sovereign or He is not at all sovereign. There is no middle ground here, folks. God’s plans and purposes are either being accomplished or they are not. It is one or the other. Do we actually “help” God with His sovereign plans? In other words, are His sovereign plans dependent upon humanity or will His plans be accomplished in spite of humanity’s opinion?
Think about that and we’ll be back with Part 2 of this series next time.
 http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-2.html (Barnes Notes)