Psalm 2 "Why are the nations in an uproar and the people's devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 'Let is tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!' " Psalm 2:1-3
Psalm 2 is an interesting Psalm and one that we think of in connection with Jesus. However, the person described as "the Anointed" in this Psalm hardly paints a portrayal of the man that we see in Jesus. The man described in Psalm 2 sounds like a violent authoritarian. But let's begin at the beginning. I don't know when this Psalm was written but there was hardy ever a time in the history of ancient Israel that she was in the position of power while her enemies were trying to fling off her "fetters". There were maybe a few nations that might have said that kind of thing when David and Solomon were kings, and maybe that is when this Psalm was written, but nations in this position with Israel are extremely hard to find. I don't believe that this Psalm is in any way describing past events within Israel. Rather, this Psalm is anticipating the coming reign of the messiah. In that day, says the Psalmist, God will laugh at Israel's enemies and simply point to the Messianic King and say, "This is MY king on MY mountain. I have given him the whole world. So unless you want your little skulls crushed, you'd better cower before Him and do him homage." That is my paraphrase of the rest of the Psalm and I think the meaning is fairly accurate. When Jesus finally did come, He wasn't quite what people expected, nor what many people wanted, which is why many people rejected Him as Messiah altogether. Think about Jesus' teaching to the disciples, saying, "You have heard it said that you should love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Then you will be children of your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:43-45. Jesus is saying to the disciples and by extension to the Psalmist: "You've got it quite wrong. God isn't quite the way that you have imagined Him." We see this too when the disciples, James and John want to call down fire on the Samaritan town that wouldn't let Jesus pass through. Jesus rebukes then and tells them "you don't know what spirit you are of. For the son of man did not come to destroy people's lives but to save them." Luke 9:56. So what do we do with this Psalm? Do we disregard it as being incorrect and out-dated? No. It is important to be reminded at this point that the Bible is not meant to be a collection of moral teachings nor of facts that can be declared right or wrong, nor ancient prophecy in the likeness of fortune telling particular events.. The Bible is ultimately a narrative and this is an indispensable part of that narrative. Within this Psalm we find the expression of the hope of Israel that a messiah would come and deal with the problem of evil in the world and who would set up God's kingdom in the world so that the world would be made right again. It is the concept of the nature of this Kingdom that Jesus challenged, not the fact that it was coming. This is also not to say that God doesn't have wrath or will not ultimately destroy those who refuse His Lordship. But it is to say that it looks significantly different than envisaged. And why wouldn't it? As Jesus told Pilate, "My kingdom is not derived from this world." John 18:36. That is to say, Jesus' kingdom does not spring up out of this world's way of doing things. This kingdom originates in heaven and brings heaven's ways of kingdom to earth. Naturally, we are going to need new frameworks to incorporate this radical gospel. So, in the end, does the Messiah have fetters for the nations? Is He a threat to those who disregard Him? The answer has to be yes! Jesus was not crucified because He was a wimp. Jesus was crucified because He was a threat to the power-grabbing people of the world. Jesus' earliest followers were persecuted and martyred and Christians are martyred today, not because we are passive people, but because we follow the world's true Lord and our presence threatens those who want to be the final authority. The world is constantly trying to throw off the "fetters" of the Messiah, but they will never succeed, because these are the fetters of truth. When the Kingdoms of the World say to our Lord "What is truth?", the Messiah is the embodied answer. Pilate tried to be rid of the truth by crucifying Him, but it only displayed the power of the truth. The Messiah wins and the Lord laughs at His accusers. "As for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My Holy mountain...take warning, O rulers of the earth!" Know for sure that your sin will find you out, But know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free!