SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP SERVICE, 20 November 2022
Sermon Text: Psalm 2:1-12
I. The rebellion of nations and peoples
II. The divine derision of the rebels
III. The declaration of God’s decree
IV. The summons for the rebels
We’re looking at the second psalm, following last week’s study on the first one. And these two psalms are together a colourful introduction to God’s wisdom that saves sinners. The first psalm displayed a contrast between the righteous and the wicked through a picture of a tree that was planted by streams of water and of chaff that the wind drove away. It was about the deep chasm between prosperity and vanity, between vibrancy in life and lifelessness, between blessedness and desolation.
The second psalm we’ve just read contrasts between the ungodly rebellious world and God in heaven and His Anointed righteous King. Whereas the first psalm guides us to examine two ways of men, thus, urges us to choose the way of the righteous, this second one brings us from earth to heaven so that we could witness a meeting room of the kings and peoples of the earth as well as the secret place of God the Most High. By letting us hear the voices from both places, this psalm presents to us the way of life and blessings, thus, urges us to come to God’s Anointed King and vow to Him in worship, thus, live rather than to die in sin.
So, let us humbly follow the Spirit of God and hear what He speaks to us.
I. THE REBELLION OF NATIONS AND PEOPLES
The first place the Holy Spirit leads us to is a meeting room where human kings and peoples’ representatives meet, like the assembly hall of the United Nations. As those gathered people confer, they have only one agenda and that is – as v. 1 writes – to plot against the Lord God Almighty and His Anointed. V. 3 tells us what they say in full agreement, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” There is no one who says ‘Nay’ to this alliance.
What do they want to burst and cast away? It’s the ‘bonds’ and ‘cords’ of God and His Anointed. Here, ‘bonds’ and ‘cords’ mean devices for arresting and binding criminals. These devices the kings and rulers of the earth deeply hate.
These bonds and cords they loathe are the rules and laws of the Almighty God. What they refuse are not only the commands and warnings codified and recorded in the Bible, but also His righteousness imprinted in human conscience. They despise these rules and laws because they always look for sin but God’s laws constantly disturb their conscience and His rules restrain their mind. So they conclude almost instantly in full agreement to break and cast all bonds and cords away.
What they’ve done according to their hatred toward God and His Anointed is declared clearly and officially by the Apostle Paul in Acts 4 in these words, “Rulers of the people and elders … let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that … Jesus Christ of Nazareth … you crucified.” As the ultimate goal agreed among all rulers and kings, they rejected and crucified God’s Son, Jesus Christ!
You hear that the rulers and kings of the earth do this, and you might think in your mind and say, ‘That’s most likely because all politicians are like that; they’re weirdos and selfish and deceitful.’ In a sense you’re right. Daniel Andrews is the Premier of VIC and what he has said and done is a typical example. Among many things he said and did, in Oct this year, he said in derision that orthodox Christian teachings on human sexuality and sanctity of life were ‘appalling views’ and I quote his words directly, ‘that kind of intolerance and hatred is just wrong.’ I personally received an email from a local politician not too long ago which contained the same view of Daniel Andrews in words and expressions.
But if you think that only rulers and kings of the earth would like to break the laws of God, you’re wrong because they’re simply representatives of all in humanity. All people alike hate God’s rules and laws, and none is there who delights in God’s righteous law – unless God intervenes and renews the sinful hearts of some people.
People’s wish to burst the bonds and cast away the cords of God is widely spread, and everyone is deeply saturated in it. For example, when an employer pays less amount of wage to an employee, that employer breaks God’s righteous and universal rule. When an employee doesn’t do his best at work, he breaks God’s righteous laws. A child’s rebellion against his parents is also his wish to cast away God’s righteous law. A cheating husband, a teacher teaching her class atheism or Darwinian evolutionism, a gossiper, a liar, an angry person, someone who is indifferent to others, being selfish, and so on and on are all those who fully agree with the rulers and kings of Ps. 2. In this way, all in humanity do agree and seek to burst God’s laws and rules – unless God graciously and powerfully intervenes their lives! Human history is, therefore, the story of rebellion against the Lord God and His Anointed, and such is the truth we witness from the first three verses of Ps. 2.
II. THE DIVINE DERISION OF THE REBELS
Having shown us this meeting room of the kings and rulers of the earth, the Holy Spirit takes us to the secret place of the majesty of God Most High.
In what we read from vs. 4-6, we see God responding to the universal rebellion. But as He responds, neither does He attempt to persuade the rebels, nor is He enraged by their impudent upheaval. Instead, He laughs at them in derision. All of humanity have joined in rebellion, demanding God’s resignation and stepping down from His throne. But God derides them and scorns them.
How can this divine derision be pictured? Doing so is impossible, but let me try to describe it. Over the past two months, North Korean regime has fired quite a lot of missiles and some of them were ICBMs – that is, Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles. They fired them to provoke mainly the USA and secondarily South Korea. In response, the US government has deployed a few days ago two B1 bomber aircrafts to Japan. If you don’t get the picture, it simply means that those two US bombers could fly over to Pyongyang, the N Korean capital, and drop bombs, not giving any chance to the N Korean Army to defend themselves. The N Korean leaders know this, and most likely their ‘supreme leader’ must have evaded his palace and relocated to a secret bunker. In a sense, the leaders of the US laugh at N Korea’s firing missiles, laugh at their plan, considering it as a child’s play.
God laughs at the rebels in derision and despises their commotion because their efforts are futile and in vain. None can escape from the control and power of God’s laws.
Then, God opens His mouth and, as v. 5 describes it to us, He will do that “in His wrath, and terrify them in His fury.” But you should know that making His speech in wrath and bringing terror to the rebels do not mean that He is suddenly angry at the rebellious kings and rulers. Rather, God’s derision continues; He still laughs at their foolish and childish play. But this expression pictures that, when the righteous God speaks, His voice will surely sound to the ears of sinners like a roaring sound of doomsday, and His words piercing arrows that cut and break everything in their paths. It’ll surely bring dreadful terror!
What He opens His mouth and proclaims is the inauguration of His Anointed, Jesus Christ, as the King of the world. He says something like this: ‘Ah, is that what you rebellious kings and rulers and nations and peoples want? But listen to Me; I have already set My King and it cannot be reverted as you know well.’ Surely, this terrifies all nations and peoples because once the Almighty God says or does, that can never be altered but carried out and accomplished! So, the rebellious nations and peoples will see their doom!
III. THE DECLARATION OF THE ETERNAL DECREE
Letting us see and hear this from the secret place of God Almighty, the Holy Spirit turns our eyes to God’s Anointed as He makes His inauguration speech to all His subjects. In this speech, He announces God’s decree. In a sense, it’s a repetition of what God has already said in v. 6, but in more details, specifying His power and authority. Moreover, what the Son shall do with the rod His Father has given Him, that is, to break the rebels and sinners, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Again, this will surely add greater terror to the ears and hearts of the wicked on earth.
IV. THE SUMMONS FOR THE REBELS
Having let us see and hear all, the Holy Spirit speaks to us and all people in the world in the last three verses, that is, vs. 10-12. It’s a conclusion of all we’ve seen and heard so far in this psalm. Moreover, this is the ultimate purpose of showing us all scenes and letting us hear voices from the earth and the heaven.
It is the summons and invitations for the kings and rulers and nations and peoples to come to the Son and live. It is an urge for all to stop rebelling against God and His Anointed because their rebellion is a fool’s play as God has already set His Son as the King of the world and given Him all nations and their inhabitants as His possession. God warns people to stop kicking against the goads because their rebellion will bring them their inevitable doom and no one will enjoy sin’s eternal damnation in hell. But come to the King, Jesus Christ, and you’ll find the only refuge in Him.
In fact, this summons from above, this invitation issued to all nations and peoples, which is the main message we hear today has been announced from the very beginning of this psalm. See how it began and it was with a question, “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?” Why are you in rage, plotting in vain, rather than coming to the Son and taking refuge in Him? It is freely available; the way to God’s Anointed is wide open; the King will welcome all who come to Him and will provide His life and eternal dwelling place. So, come!
This is what Peter, James and John testify in Mt. 17. They report to us what they heard on the mountain and the voice from above said, concerning Jesus, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him”! That voice from above sums up the message this second psalm conveys. Why are you vainly raging against God and His Son, Jesus Christ? Why do you reject Him and His offer of freedom from sin’s accusations and death? Come to Him, instead, and listen to Him, believe in Him, and receive from Him His lasting life! ***