In the turmoil and tension of our world, one comforting truth that should settle and strengthen us is that our Jesus reigns. No matter what is going on around us in the world, within us in our hearts, or about us in our lives, Jesus reigns. Psalm 2 tells us about that.
The Psalm begins with a complaint about the rebellion of the nations against the Lord (Yahweh) and his anointed king (the son of David, see 2 Samuel 7:11b-16). “Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples 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 us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!’” (Psalm 2:1–3). Luke tells us that the early Christians understood that this Psalm speaks of Jesus and the cross. In Acts 4:25–28, we read “the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the people devise futile things? The Kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ.’ 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 purpose predestined to occur.”
Notice the emphasis of this early Christian prayer. The terrible injustice of the cross, the evil plotting against Jesus, was all part of the plan of the Father. While it may have looked like God’s plan had failed and his enemies had triumphed, it had not and they had not. God was and is in control. In fact, the rebellion of nations against God and his Christ was just a part of God’s sovereign plan.
Psalm 2:4–6 tells us the response of God to the rebellion of his enemies. “He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, ‘But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.’” That is, while the plan of the nations was to unseat God’s anointed, it was God’s plan that his anointed would be seated on the throne to rule and reign. Where is this announced to all the world? In the resurrection of Jesus.
Psalm 2:7–9 explains this: “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your posses- sion. You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’” Acts 13:33 says that this is all about Christ and means “that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘You are My Son; Today I have begotten You.’”
What is our response to this? Repenting of our sin and trusting in God’s Son. Psalm 2:10–12 exhorts: “Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” There are only two options: worship the Lord and do homage to his Son, Jesus, or perish in his wrath. As Derek Kidner says: “There is no refuge from Him, only refuge in Him.”
But for all those who do trust in Christ, this Psalm offers a world of comfort and consolation as it delights in God’s sovereignty, and his sure and certain promise to his Son, the King, Jesus. No matter what is happening in your life, your God is in charge and he has made a promise that Jesus has fulfilled and that you can rely on. Jesus is risen. God has declared him King. Nothing can thwart his rule, or his purposes of grace. You can count on it. Our Jesus reigns and shall reign, and “blessings abound where’er he reigns: the prisoners leap to lose their chains, the weary find eternal rest, and all who suffer want are blest” (Isaac Watts).