Psalm 2: God, I Trust in Your Word

Because we believe in inspiration, we know that what the human writers of the Bible wrote was exactly what God wanted it to say: it is the Word of God. In order to know what a human writer means, we must examine what he has written and determine his intent. In order to know what God means in the Bible, we must also look at what the human writer has written and determine his intent. This is what inspiration teaches us.

The Psalms can be categorized in many different ways. We could group them by their literary components, such as acrostic psalms (where each line begins with a different letter of the alphabet, such as 119). We can also group psalms by their usage, such as the "Songs of Degrees" (120–134) or "Hallel Psalms" (113–118). Another way to categorize the Psalms is by content, such as penitential psalms (34, 51).

One type of Psalm is the theocratic kingship psalm, identified by its emphasis on Israel’s king. The theocratic kingship psalms are sometimes called "messianic psalms," because they deal with God’s "anointed" (Hebrew, messiah). In this case, the "anointed" is God’s king, David, but as we will see, the promises God gave to David extend to his dynasty.

The key feature of the theocratic kingship psalms is an emphasis on God’s promised Davidic dynasty and his universal kingdom, which flow from the Davidic Covenant in 2 Samuel 7:12–16. God had promised David that his dynasty would reign forever over a universal kingdom, and these psalms are based on that promise. They talk about Israel’s king, sometimes referring to him as "David" (representing David and his descendants), other times as "the king," and other times as the "anointed" (or "messiah").

Many of the theocratic kingship psalms were written by David himself, the king of Israel. As he writes, he refers to himself as God’s anointed king, but as we look back with the advantage of progressive revelation, we see that some of these things (such as an eternal and universal kingdom) will only be realized in the reign of the ultimate Son of David, Jesus Christ.

In Psalm 2, David reflects on a rebellious uprising of some of the surrounding nations he had conquered. In light of his enemies’ rebellion, David comforts himself in the faithfulness of God to the promises he has made. God has promised David an eternal and universal kingdom, and although the situation appears grim from a human perspective, David affirms his trust in God’s Word.

What the Enemies of God's Anointed Say (vv. 1–3)
"We do not want God or the ruler he has appointed to reign over us" (vv. 1–3). By rejecting God's anointed king, they have rebelled against God. These nations have rebelled against David, God's anointed, and they have rebelled against God.

What God Says (vv. 4–6)
He laughs at their ineptness (v. 4). He is angry with their rebellion (v. 5). He has promised to uphold his anointed king (v. 6). God is in complete sovereign control of the situation.

What David Says (vv. 7–12)
God has promised to establish and guide the kingly line of David (v. 7, 9). God has promised David and his descendants that they will rule the whole world (v. 8). Because God is sovereign, and because he has promised this to David and his descendants, the nations should submit to God's anointed king (vv. 9–12). Therefore, the nations should fear God and submit to his anointed king.

In conclusion, we should ask the question, "In what way does this Psalm describe or facilitate worship?" (since that is what the psalms do). I believe that this Psalm describes the confidence and trust in God's Word that is the foundation of true worship. David, in the face of seeming difficulty and trouble, turns to God's promise and his reaction demonstrates his trust in God and what he has said he will do. This kind of trust or faith is foundational to worship. Hebrews 11:6 says, "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." Psalm 2 demonstrates a trust in God's Word that is foundational to worship.

A final question that needs to be answered is, "Wasn't David writing this Psalm about Jesus Christ?" After all, many translations capitalize the word "Son" in verses seven and twelve. Indeed, this Psalm is quoted three times in the New Testament, applying the Psalm to Jesus (Acts 4:25–26; Acts 13:33; Heb 1:5). Does this not mean that David was writing the Psalm with Jesus Christ in mind?

The short answer is no. David was writing with himself (as God's anointed king) and his promised dynasty in mind. Do these verses apply to Jesus Christ? Yes, because Jesus was "the Christ" (the messiah), these verses rightfully apply to him as the ultimate Son of David. In fact, he will be the one who will reign over the entire world from Mount Zion (none of the Davidic kings accomplished that feat) and he will of course be the one who reigns forever.