Tuesday, June 30, 2009

psalm 2: victory of our King

psalm 2
why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?
the kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying:
"let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us."
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
the LORD shall hold them in derision.
then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
and distress them in His deep displeasure:
"Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion"
I will declare the decree:
the LORD has said to Me,
"You are My Son, today I have begotten You.
ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance,
and the ends of the earth for Your possessions.
You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.
now therefore, be wise, o kings;
be instructed, you judges of the earth.
serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
kiss the Son, let He be angry,
and you perish in the way,
when His wrath is kindled but a little
blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.
there is so much about the character of God to discover in this passage!  psalms are wonderful beautiful things but can be frustrating because they are poetic in form and nature.  poetry by nature is heavily symbolic, often devoid of explicit meaning, and thus subject to different interpretations. indeed this is often part of its appeal. however, when we're considering scripture, that characteristic of poetry can be frustrating because ambiguity and symbolism can become a curse when we're trying to find a definite meaning. although God's word is living and active, we do not want to take to much license with interpretations-God's word is not subjective.
still, poetry and song are integral parts of knowing and worshipping God.  there is a cry, a desire, woven into our souls that yearns to know and to worship the LORD. music, art, and poetry express these deep things of the heart that we have difficulty communicating, thus they are a gift from the LORD.  do not fear them or worry if the "meaning" escapes you. the LORD God does not leave us scrambling in the dark-but has provided His word, a lamp for our feet, and His Spirit, our teacher.
we approach psalms and spiritual songs for what they are, worship to our God. so then, as we study them we ask, how does this reveal the worship-able nature and deeds of God? it should be a marvelous experience, not a chore. all scripture is God's revelation of His glorious Self to us, should not the study of all scripture be this marvelous?
so what, then, does this reveal about the praiseworthy nature of our God? this is a psalm that glorifies the might of God and His ultimate victory over those who have rebelled against Him. we can forget, living under the gentle grace and love of Jesus Christ, that God is holy, mighty, and just; that he must be praised.  grace is a wonderful thing, yet as grace brings us to a place of love for the wicked, we can easily forget to hate wickedness. we must remember that regardless of God's love and our love for people, His triumph over the wicked and rebellious is a good and praiseworthy thing.  it means that we have eternity in His gracious perfection, this eternity is not tainted by wickedness.  He loves us so much that he will not allow us to continue in a world tainted by evil.  His triumph means freedom for all of us!
perhaps it is important to realize (again) that the value of a person is not bound up in their wickedness or goodness. the most wicked human on the planet merited the sacrificial love of Christ-- yet this does not change the fact that they are (we are), indeed, desperately wicked.  we err when we try to excuse wickedness thinking that this will cause God to look more favorably on that individual.  God has made the ultimate sacrifice of love for all of us, in the midst of our filthiness. it is not necessary to deny the filth of the filthiness in order to be more worthy of the sacrifice.  instead we have to understand that there is some divine balance between God's hatred for wickedness and his love for people.
wickedness or rather the prince of wickedness, is not a passive enemy. he is powerful and cunning and determined to destroy not only his own but those God has marked as His own. there is a war raging for possession of our souls that has been in progress since before the consciousness of man. in this kind of war, we do not look for a meek and gentle king, we are looking for a mighty warrior to be our Champion.
if we are able to accept this, and view His triumph and judgment of wickedness and those who continue in it, then we can rejoice with the psalmist and praise our Champion as He executes His iron rod of judgment on a devious and rebellious people. we can say amen, when he warns wicked kings to come to Jesus and humble themselves before Him that they may be saved. we can marvel in His magnificence and tremble at His might as He stand in victory on mount Zion.  seeing our King, our Champion, our Beloved as He destroys enemies and rides in victory, how can we do anything but praise Him?

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