A Portrait of Divine Authority.

Certain events in life forcefully remind us that we are not in charge. Psalm 2 reveals who is in charge: Jesus Christ, God's Son.

While Psalm 1 focuses on the righteous individual, Psalm 2 focuses on the wicked as a group, multiple nations. The righteous person is secure, but the wicked are in uproar and chaos. The righteous one meditates on God's Law, while the wicked plot to overthrow it. God responds differently to each. Psalm 2 answers the question of what becomes of the wicked. Then it instructs God's people in how we are to interact with them.

Challengers to the One in Charge (Psalm 2:1-3)

The challenge to God's authority begins in their thoughts. They are devising and plotting with the same detail as the righteous in Psalm 1:2, but their thoughts are on vain, empty things. The best ideas of the world are useless if they are opposed to God. Believers have much better things to think about! (See Psalm 19:7-10.)

The result of wicked thinking is that the nations are in a restless uproar. Their thinking makes them feel like they are in bondage. (See Romans 1:18-32 for a New Testament parallel.) This influences their speech and leads to their action in verse 3: seeking to break free of the authority of God and His Son.

Characteristics of the One in Charge (Psalm 2:4-9)

What is God's reaction to the plot of the wicked? He laughs, not because their actions are funny, but because they are ridiculous. People intimidate us, but God is not threatened. The wicked nations are like a child raising a fist toward their father who is much bigger and stronger; their arm cannot even reach.

God is in control. He has plan, and it is moving forward. Our response is to worship Him.

God's Son has divine authority (verse 7). He is not the Son physically; He had no beginning but was forever the Son. John's Gospel clarifies the word "begotten" to have not a temporal meaning but an emphasis on Jesus' unique relationship with God the Father. (See John 1:1-4, 14, 18, and 5:18.) He is the only One equal with God, and He shares His divine traits.

God's ridiculing laughter then turns to anger. The Son has authority to destroy the wicked and will use it definitively. He is pictured using the strongest material available at that time – a rod of iron. Rebellion against God has no strength; it is fragile as a piece of pottery.

Conduct towards the One in Charge (Psalm 2:10-12)

God declares how He wants to be worshipped: with reverence. There is a difference in our appearance, punctuality, and behavior when we are making a court appearance in contrast to attending a Fourth of July picnic. Similarly, our worship must be reverent, not casual. Careful planning when we come to worship shows that we honor and esteem our Lord.

Reverent worship does not mean there is an absence of joy. Many people want to approach worship like they approach going to a party or watching a sports event. Some approach worshipping God like they're going to see a judge -- with complete sobriety and fear and a total lack of joy. They're only there because they have to be. Biblical worship also includes joy! God deserves this kind of worship because of who He is and what He has done. He is our only audience.

Application Points

  • What do you think about? What keeps you up at night? What thoughts do you wake up to? Your thoughts influence your speech which influences your actions.
  • In Revelation 2:26-27, the church is pictured exercising the authority of God's Son. What a tremendous future for those who are surrounded by seemingly winning rebels! The weight of new responsibility often grows us. How do you live in light of this future? Do you show more allegiance for the rebels or for God?
  • Is your worship both reverent and joyful?
  • The worshipper takes refuge in God. The rebellious seek refuse from Him, but it is not to be found. Which are you? Do you raise a fist to God or have you bowed your knee to Christ's authority? Your ultimate destiny depends on your response.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Acts 4:25-31 – Rebels always have plans that threaten God’s plans, but God’s plans remain.
  • Hebrews 1:1-4, 5:5-10 – There is no one greater than Jesus Christ.
A Hymn to Encourage: "Bow the Knee" by Ron Hamilton

What a privilege to come into God's presence,
Just to linger with the One who set me free.
As I lift my eyes and see His awesome glory,
I remember who He is and bow the knee.

Bow the knee, bow the knee;
He is King of all the ages; bow the knee!
God alone on His throne,
See Him high and lifted up and bow the knee!
Kneel before Him; all adore Him.
As you live to love Him more, bow the knee.

In His hand He holds the power of creation.
With His voice He spoke, and all things came to be.
Yet He hears each simple prayer I bring before Him
When I humbly seek His face and bow the knee.