Psalm 2: God's King Reigns

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Sun, Jan 18, 2015

Psalm 2:1-12; 6a

"I have installed my king..." (Ps 2:6, NIV). For the Lord declares, "I have placed my chosen king on the throne...." (Ps 2:6, NLT).

Theme. The God who reigns is the God who loves you. Happiness happens when you let God reign, when you let God be God. Though God gives you freedom, it is wise to use your freedom to let God reign. For though the world opposes and rebels against God, God's appointed king still rules and reigns.

Homework from Psalm 1: Reflect on the Bible verse(s) that are memorable to you and that transformed your life.

  • Thank God for Jessica Sun (Isa 30:15), Taniesha Robinson (Jn 15:5), Yohan Hwang (Rom 12:2) and Jim Cook (Ps 1:2 being one of the three main pillars of the OT), who shared their joyful reflections on meditating on God's word.
  • Pray that our Sunday worship services may be a collective, communal experience and like participatory theater where everyone participates (NOT performance theater where one person blabs unilaterally).

Psalm 1: The Secret of Happiness addressed several points:

  • Two types of happiness: hedonia (self-gratification, pleasure attainment) and eudaimonia (human flourishing, well-being, wholeness).
  • How true happiness and blessedness happens: Love Scripture and meditate on it often (Ps 1:2). "A man is what he thinks about all day long." Ralph Waldo Emerson. See D is for Daily.
  • What our expression of loving God should be: Delight in God's word, since we delight being with and listening to those we love.
  • Loving Scripture necessarily includes loving God and loving others: God who is love (1 Jn 4:8, 16) compels us to live for others (2 Cor 5:15) and to love others (1 Jn 4:10-12; Jn 13:34), even the wicked (Ps 1:4-6), instead of despising them as the Pharisees and Bible experts did. Because of God's love through Christ, we live a life filled with love (Eph 5:2, NLT).
  • Only Jesus. Not any of us, but Jesus is the only person who truly and fully loves God, loves others--including his enemies--and delighted in God day and night without fail.

Happiness. From Psalm 1, we learn that happiness comes from loving God, loving others and loving Scripture. Psalm 2 teaches us that happiness happens when we allow God to reign, when we allow God to be God (Ps 115:3; 135:6).

Four voices in Psalm 2. In Psalm 2 the psalmist declares, "God's King Reigns!" God's king will rule, regardless if the kings and nations of the world oppose and rebel against Him. A longer title is "The world rebels, yet God's King still rules." The four natural sections (strophes, stanzas, scenes) of Psalm 2, each with three verses and each from a different voice, are:

  1. God challenged (Ps 2:1-3): Mankind's voice exposes human rebellion. Historically kings and nations of the world oppose God and revolt against God.
  2. God laughs (Ps 2:4-6): God's voice expresses divine reaction. Nonetheless, God installs his King. This is heaven's perspective on mankind's revolt.
  3. God decrees (Ps 2:7-9): The Son's voice establishes divine rule. Regardless of human rebellion, God's King rules and reigns and declares that it is so.
  4. God exhorts (Ps 2:10-12): The psalmist's voice exhorts human responsibility. The psalmist, speaking on God's behalf advises and summons man to serve God's King.

Ps 2:6-7 is the centerpiece. Ps 2:6-7 is the answer awaited in verses 1-5 and expounded in 8-12.

I. God Challenged (Ps 2:1-3): The voice of mankind exposes human rebellion

The senseless rejection of God's rule and ruler. In Ps 2:1-2 kings of Gentile peoples who are vassals of the Davidic king propose a revolt to throw off Israelite rule. "Plot" is Ps 2:1 is the verb translated "meditates" in Ps 1:2. It conveys the idea of murmuring or muttering to oneself. Man can either meditate on God's word, which brings peace or joy, or murmur against God's rule, which is always an act of futility. In Ps 1:3 they speak their goal, which is a typically blind reaction to God's easy yoke and "cords of compassion" (Hos 11:4). Samuel had anointed and set apart Saul (1 Sam 10:1) and David (1 Sam 16:13), as king to rule Israel and to keep their covenant with God faithfully. The Hebrew word “Anointed” is traslated into Greek as Christ and from which the word Messiah comes from. For the Gentiles to rebel against the heir of David is to rebel against the Lord who installed him; it is also to cut themselves off from knowing the one true God.

Calvary is predicted. In Ac 4:25-26, the early Christians saw the persecution they faced as the same kind of foolish rebellion, with the roles of kings and rulers fulfilled by, respectively, Herod and Pilate, and those of nations and peoples by the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, united against the Lord's anointed (Christ in Greek). Ac 4:28 points out the quiet sovereignty of God, while 1 Cor 2:8ff describes the obtuseness of man. Every grand alliance against heaven will show, in time, this predictable double pattern.

  • Their anarchy (1).
  • Their arrogance (2).
  • Their (foolish) announcement (3).

II. God Laughs (Ps 2:4-6): The voice of God expresses divine reaction and installs his King

God prevails. God, in essence, confounds the wise (1 Cor 1:20), for heaven always triumphs over the arrogant (Col 2:15; Rev 11:18; 18:20). The Lord is not dismayed, and neither do his people need to be. In fact, God laughs at the rebels and declares his firm purpose to establish the throne of David as he has promised. This is authenticated by God's promise (2 Sam 7:13ff). The next verse, Ps 2:7, shows just how far-reaching this promise was.

  • God's amusement (4).
  • God's anger (5).
  • God's announcement (6).

III. God Decrees (Ps 2:7-9): The voice of the Son who establishes divine rule

Now the Lord's Anointed speaks. The king recalls what God had said at his coronation. Lying behind this is the promise that the line of David will last forever before the Lord (2 Sam 7:16) and that the obedience of the peoples will come to the ruler from the tribe of Judah (Gen 49:10), together with the very purpose for choosing Abraham and his offspring (Gen 22:17-18). Ps 2:7 is the divine oracle spoken when the king took his throne. This psalm is for the crowning of a king. In 2 Sam 7:14, God says that he will take the heir of David as a “son.” The people as a whole are called the “son of God” (Ex 4:22-23; Ps 80:15; Hos 11:1), and the king is called the “son of God” because he represents and embodies the people (Ps 89:27). Heb 1:5 brings Ps 2:7 together with 2 Sam 7:14 showing that Jesus is the messianic heir of David (the Son of God), into whom God has also included the priestly office. In Paul's sermon in Ac 13:33 (and in Rom 1:4), Paul portrays the resurrection of Jesus as his coronation, his entry into his Davidic rule.

Ps 2:8 expresses the primary messianic picture of the OT: the heir of David who will lead his people in bringing the light to the nations, by making them his subjects. This is how the nations of the earth will find blessing for themselves in him (Gen 22:18; Ps 72:8-11, 17. Thus Paul looks forward to the obedience of faith among all the nations (Rom 1:5; 16:26).

  • His position (7).
  • His possessions (8).
  • His power (9).

IV. God Exhorts (Ps 2:10-12): The voice of the psalmist who exhorts human responsibility.

  • Demands stated (10-12a). The five commands that may be grouped into two logical categories of obligation [Wise up (10), Worship (11-12a)] are:
  1. Be wise.
  2. Be warned.
  3. Serve the Lord with reverential awe (Ps 2:11, HCSB).
  4. Rejoice with trembling.
  5. Kiss the son.
  • Dependency solicited (12b).

Psalm 2 speaks of the everlasting succession of the Davidic kings of Israel. The NT reveals that ultimately Christ himself is the King who fulfills Psalm 2.


  • What Bible verse(s) are delightful and memorable to you (Ps 1:2; 119:97)? How have they transformed you?
  • What are two concrete evidences that you love God (Ps 1:2; 1 Jn 4:10-12)?
  • Why should Psalm 1 not be read with dichotomous, divisive, dualistic thinking?
  1. Divide Psalm 2 into 4 equal parts of 3 verses each. Notice the voice of each part. Give a title to each part.
  2. To whom are the nations and the kings of the earth conspiring against (1-2; Ac 4:25-26)? What do they want (3)? Why?
  3. How does God respond to their rebellion (4-5)? What does he do (6)?
  4. What does the Lord decree (7; 2 Sam 7:14)? How will this be fulfilled (Ac 13:33; Heb 1:5)?
  5. What did the Lord promise his king, his son (8; Gen 22:18)? How (Mt 28:18; Eph 1:20-22; 1 Pet 3:22; Rev 1:5)? What will happen to the nations (9; Rev 2:26-27; 12:5; 19:15)?
  6. What are the 5 exhortations that the psalmist gives to kings and rulers (10-12a)? Why should we take refuge in the Lord (12b)?


  1. Motyer, J Alec. The Psalms. New Bible Commentary. Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1994.
  2. Kidner, Derek. Psalms 1 - 72: An Introduction and Commentary. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1973.
  3. Psalm 2 -- The Ultimate Victory of the Messiah.
  4. Psalm 2. D.A. Carson. 3 NT texts. Heb 1:5 (Ps 2:7; 2 Sa 7:14, 1-17: 1-10 [A king with religious initiatives rebuffed]; 7:11-14 [A king suitably broken given superb privileges]) - superior over angels; Heb 5:5 (Ps 2:7) - high priest; Ac 13:32 (Ps 2:7) - raised from the dead. Psalm 2 can be broken down into 4 parts:
    1. God challenged (1-3).
    2. God laughs (4-6).
    3. God decrees (7-9).
    4. God summons (10-12).
  5. ESV Study Bible: Psalm 2.

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