April 10: Psalm 2
Vindication of the Lord’s Messiah
77.77 D Spanish Hymn (Come, Christians, Join to Sing/How I Love Thy Law, O Lord) Aberystwyth (Jesus, Lover of My Soul), p. 189
Why do heathen nations rage? Why do people folly mind?
Kings of earth in plots engage, rulers are in league combined;
Then against Jehovah high, and against Messiah’s sway,
“Let us break their bands,” they cry, “Let us cast their cords away.”
But the Lord will scorn them all; He will laugh Who sits on high,
Then His wrath will on them fall, terribly then He’ll reply:
“Yet according to My will I have set My King to reign,
And on Zion’s holy hill My Anointed I’ll maintain.”
His decree I will make known: unto Me the Lord did say,
“Thou art My be-lov-ed Son; I’ve begotten Thee this day.
Ask of Me, and Thee I’ll make Heir to earth and nations all;
Them with iron Thou shalt break, dashing them in pieces small.”
Therefore, kings, be wise, give ear; hearken, judges of the earth;
Serve the Lord with godly fear; mingle trembling with your mirth.
Kiss the Son, His wrath to turn, lest ye perish in the way,
For His anger soon will burn. Blessed are all that on Him stay.
Psalm 2 begins: “Why do the nations rage, and the people devise a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed.” The early Christians knew the meaning of these words, and they included them in one of their earliest recorded prayers (Acts 4:24-27). The context of this prayer was the persecution of the Church by the authorities at Jerusalem. That is to say, the psalm’s meaning, to those Christians, was not something in the distant past; it was something contemporary to ongoing Christian history. Psalm 2 is about messianic conflict; it is a Christological interpretation of history. The Messiah proclaims: “The Lord said unto Me: ‘You are My Son; this day have I begotten You.’” These words, partly reflected at the Lord’s Baptism (Matt. 3:17) and Transfiguration (Matt. 17:5 and 2 Peter 1:17), came to express the essential Christological faith of the Church. This verse is cited explicitly in the apostolic preaching (Acts 13:33) and directly answers the major question posed by Christian evangelism in every age: “What do you think of the Christ? Whose Son is He?”
“This day,” God says, “today have I begotten You.” So, early in the Book of Psalms is the Christian mind elevated to eternity, that undiminished “today” of Christ’s identity – Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Therefore, we sing with the psalmist, “Be wise now, you kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth; worship the Lord with reverence, and rejoice with trembling; Do homage to the Son…Blessed are all that put their trust in Him!”(Reardon, p. 3-4)