The God of the Bible—our God—is absolutely sovereign over the nations of the world. There is no nation, government, political party, or ruler that can escape His scrutinizing oversight. He raises and lowers kings. And yet, somehow, in the mystery of His unfathomable ways, while reigning over all He at the same time holds governmental rules completely responsible for their decisions, whether good or evil, whether coming forth from rebellion or submission. And all of this is working toward the end of glorifying His chosen King whom He has already established as the ruler of heaven and earth. This is the point of the second song in the book of Psalms. Here we find great assurance that God’s sovereignty will reign over whatever changes take place due to this year’s elections.
Psalm 2 is a Royal psalm. It speaks of the reign of an earthly, human king over the people of Israel while at the same time looking forward to the future, ultimate reign of the Messiah, the coming King. The movement of the psalm consists of 4 parts.
The Rebellion of the Nations (vv. 1-3). The psalmist presents the deep rebellion of the nations against Israel’s God. It is Israel’s earthly king who they think they stand against, but ultimately it is God whom they oppose and who will fight against them. “His Anointed” is their king, but ultimately this title refers to Messiah. In fact, the title “Messiah” comes from the transliteration of the Hebrew word for Anointed. So, this psalm speaks of a real conflict in real time in the day in which it was written. But ultimately it looks forward to the judgment and reign of God’s final King.
How ridiculous can this be? That the nations of the earth would think they could rise up against God? This is the all-powerful and just God! This is the One who raises His voice and the earth melts (Ps 46:6). There is no nation on earth powerful enough to withstand God’s judgment. O, nations of the world, take heed. Bow down before Him before it is too late. All God has to do is raise His voice and the earth melts. He who made the earth by the power of His voice can, with that same voice, in the blink of an eye turn it into running lava. Psalm 2 is prophetic of the end time when the nations will rise up against King Jesus (Rev 20:7-9). No nation, no government, no ruler can stand against the Almighty and survive.
The Response of the Almighty (vv. 4-6). To the Lord, the rebellion of these foolish leaders is a joke. He laughs at them. Not only does He laugh at them, but He scoffs—He mocks them. This is a suitable response from God because He is absolutely sovereign over the nations of the world. The fist-clenching of these rebels against God is about as threatening as an ant shouting threats against our boot as it descends to the ground.
God speaks to them in His anger. God’s wrath is His holy hatred for sin and His will to punish it and all evil-doers. Asaph prayed to God in Psalm 76:7, “You, even You, are to be feared; and who may stand in Your presence when once You are angry?” God is King. No one shall ultimately stand against Him. If God is not worried about the future of our nation or world then should we be? God is resolved. He has already taken action. He has already “installed [His] King upon Zion” (Ps 2:6). He is not nervous. His plans are not threatened by the rebellion of the nations. He has already decreed that His Son will be King. When God decrees something to happen it is as good as done. It is as if it has already happened. The man who wrote these words takes great comfort in knowing this. By rehearsing these truths his heart is stirred up with faith in God’s deliverance, protection, and the ultimate reign of His King. We must learn to do the same.
The Rule of the Anointed (vv. 7-9). The Son of God, the Anointed One, now speaks about the Lord’s decree: “I have installed My King.” The immediate meaning of this pertains to David, whom God referred to as a son when He made a covenant with him (2 Sam 7:12-17). But this decree is also clearly the commitment of God the Father to God the Son, as Hebrews 1:5 indicates.
In eternity past, the Father delegated His kingly rule to His Son. So, in verse 8, God encourages the Son to ask Him for all the nations. Ultimately, this request will be fulfilled by the gospel being taken to the ends of the earth and some people from every nation being saved. But the rebellious will also be judged. God says to His Son, “You will break them. You will bring judgment to their rebellion” (Cf. Rev 19:11-21). The Father “has given all judgment to the Son” (Jn 5:22). In light of the warnings of God’s judgment to come, man is responsible to repent and worship the King of Heaven.
The Responsibility of Mankind (vv. 10-12). The world’s leaders are called upon to show “discernment,” to display wisdom and prudence in the carrying out of the authority delegated to them from God (Rom 13:1-2). The judges of the world must “take warning.” All must worship with fear and “do homage” to the Son. Many translations read, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry.” All must bow to the Son of the God, the King of Kings. He is to be feared. He alone has the power to judge and to destroy.
But this One—the coming King—not only has the authority to judge the world and to hold all rulers and nations and people accountable. He is also the One who chooses to display mercy. He becomes the hiding place for those who repent and believe. “How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” By faith in the person of Jesus Christ, the righteous Judge of Heaven becomes our gracious Advocate.
God is sovereign over the nations of the world. None will escape His judgment for their wickedness. In a world of change, uncertainty, and fear we must remember that His plan to bring good to His people, glory to Himself, and final justice at the end of this world will be accomplished. There is no doubt about it.
The fruit of this year’s elections may be good, rotten, or a mixture of both. But one thing we know for certain. God is in charge and His will is going to be accomplished. Chiefly, we must remember the means by which His plan will be carried out—His Son who is the Anointed King, the Righteous Judge, and the Gracious Savior to those who willingly take refuge in Him.
Have you taken refuge in Jesus, the King of Kings?