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Sunday, December 20, 2020

"My Son" - Psalm 2 [Matt's Messages]

“My Son”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
December 20, 2020 :: Psalm 2

Psalm 2 is one of the most important psalms in the whole Psalter and one of the most important texts in the whole Bible.

Psalm 2 is one of those texts that I call “hypertexts,” because if you click on Psalm 2 (so to speak), it takes you all kinds of other places in your Bible, especially in the New Testament.

It’s right at the front of the book of Psalms for a reason, because it orients the reader and gives you a sense of where you are at on the map. Psalm 2 gives you a sense of the Big Story of “What’s Really Going on in the World.”

And while it was originally probably a royal coronation song written by David for the installations of his sons as Israel’s kings, it is so obviously a song about the ultimate King of Kings, the Lord Jesus Christ. Great David’s Greatest Son.

We don’t often hear Psalm 2 read at Christmastime, but I don’t know why.

This song is all about Who Jesus truly is.

In 1865, William Dix wrote the searching question of Hymn #137 in our hymnals, “What Child Is This?”

“What Child is this, who, laid to rest, On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, While shepherd’s watch are keeping?”

“What Child Is This?”

In Psalm 2 the LORD Himself answers that question by calling Him, “My Son.”

Not just Mary’s son, but God’s. own. Son.


Psalm 2 begins with a conspiracy.

A conspiracy to commit mutiny.

A foolish conspiracy to commit mutiny against the LORD and against His Messiah.

If you have your Bibles open, look with me at Psalm 2, verse 1.

“Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they say, ‘and throw off their fetters.’”

What a provocative start to this song! Have you ever a heard a song that started with a mutiny?

David says that the nations and the people and the kings of the earth and the rulers  are all getting their heads together and planning and plotting to rebel against God, against Yahweh.

And David just shakes his head. “Why?” “Why would they do that? How could they get it into their thick heads that they might succeed at this foolish plot? Their collusion is futile. They plot in vain.”

Now, we know the reason why. It’s because the world hates Him. They don’t want to be ruled by the LORD. That’s been obvious since day one, since Genesis chapter 3.

Humanity sees itself as unjustly, grossly, enslaved by God, and so there is a worldwide rebellion.

But it won’t work.

And don’t feel bad for them, but do try to see yourself in them. You and I may not be world leaders, but we have all rebelled against the LORD. We have all acted like He’s an terrible tyrant, and what we need is our freedom from Him.

(Ironically, freedom is what He actually offers us. Not freedom from Him but freedom from the world, the flesh, and the devil.)

But these rulers (and in David’s time, they were probably the neighboring vassal states that he had conquered, these rulers) wanted to throw off the rule of the LORD and (v.2) “his Anointed One.”

Who is that? Well, that’s the king. Remember when Samuel anointed David with oil? David was being marked as “The Anointed One,” the king of the people.

And we learned last week that the Hebrew for “Anointed One” is...“Messiah” and in Greek that is “Christos,” or we say, “Christ.”

The nations want to be freed from Yahweh and the Messiah, from the LORD and His Christ.

And the prospect of their rebellion totally frightens the LORD.

Just kidding!!!!

It doesn’t faze Him one bit. Verse 4.

“The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.”

“Ha! You’ve got to be kidding me! You guys are a joke.”

Yes, this is what the Bible says. I hope you have room in your theology to think of God like this. Unfazed, even amused, and what is more, ridiculing the rebellion of the world leaders. “The Lord scoffs at them.”

“Oh, yeah? You think you guys are going to take me down? You think you can escape? You think you can destroy my Messiah or stop my promises from being fulfilled? You and what army?”

Then he lowers the boom. Verse 5.

“Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, ‘I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.’”

This is God’s answer to their mutiny.

He Himself has installed His man to be King on Mt. Zion, in Jerusalem the capitol, His earthly headquarters. And nothing on Earth can stop him.
Notice that His wrathful rebuke is simply, “Oh ho no. You aren’t getting away with anything. I have placed my King in Zion!”

Now in verse 7, the King himself speaks about himself. But he doesn’t say what he thinks of himself. He says what God says about himself. And God says that he is not just the king, he is the Son of God. Verse 7.

“I [the King] will proclaim the decree of the LORD [YHWH]: He [YHWH] said to me [THE KING], ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”

Now, one level that’s just a metaphor. It was common in the Ancient Near East for the kings to refer to themselves as sons of the deity. And in 2 Samuel 7, the LORD had promised David that He would treat David’s sons as His sons. 2 Samuel 7:14 “I will be his father, and he will be my son.” They would have a special adoptive relationship. 

And the “today” in verse 7 would naturally be the day of the king’s anointing.

So the nations need to watch out because David and his sons are on the job being God’s earthly representative rulers.

But those words also seem like too big of shoes for David and his sons to fill, don’t they?

Remember David? He didn’t live up to that level very often. And his sons sure didn’t either.

But one day, one of his sons would be born and live up to this divine decree to perfection.

And this week, we celebrate His birth.

“You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”

Psalm 2, verse 7 is obviously fulfilled in Jesus! Follow the links, and you’ll see how the New Testament authors could see it clearly. Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, Romans, Revelation. They all connect Psalm 2 to Jesus.

For example, in Acts chapter 4, the early church says that the crucifixion fulfilled Psalm 2. The people at the prayer meeting in Acts 4 pray, “[Sovereign Lord,] You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: 'Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.' Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed” (vv.24-26).

The crucifixion was the plot to overthrow the Messiah.

And they almost won.

In fact, it sure looked like they did! Because He died.

But He did not stay dead.

On the third day, He rose again.

That’s why Paul says this in Romans chapter 1 about the gospel of God. He says it’s the gospel, “regarding [God’s] Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David,  and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord” (vv.3-4).

“You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”

This raises the question, “When is ‘today’ for Jesus in fulfilling Psalm 2, verse 7?”  [Here I follow the excellent short argument in this article by Charles Lee Irons, "The Only Begotten God" in Credo Magazine.]

We all believe that Jesus is God’s Son.

What is the “today” when it comes to Him?

We could guess from Romans 1 that it was when He was resurrected and “declared with power to be the son of God.”

But if He was anointed before that (and He obviously was because of what we saw in Acts 4), then it has to be before that. His resurrection was another time when it was declared, but not the first.

The New Testament makes it increasingly clear that Jesus was already the Son of God before anybody else knew it.

Think about what happened at His baptism and on the Mount of Transfiguration.

Remember what God said then? “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

The writer to the Hebrews indicates that He was always and eternally the Son.

He says, “[I]n these last days [God] has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, [Psalm 2:7] ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father?” (Hebrews 1:2-5a).

For Jesus, it’s an eternal today.

The Son of God is God the Son, eternally begotten of the Father.

Which is a mind-blowing idea, and what else should we expect when we’re talking about God?!!

“You are my Son; today [for Jesus, eternally] I have become your Father.”

And now, the Father invites the Son to pray for the world. Verse 8.

“Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.”

If He but asks, the Son will receive the whole world from the Father.

I don’t even know what that would have meant for David and his sons. I guess the whole known world at the time. Great success against Israel’s enemies.

But the language is so big, isn’t it?

"The nations, your inheritance.
The ends of the earth, your possession."

All you have to do is ask.

And, beloved, Jesus is asking!

Jesus has asked and is asking the Father for the nations, for the world.

Those nations that have been rebellion will not rebel forever.
The world that is under the curse will not be cursed forever.

This is why we are involved in missions, to take the gospel to the nations, to tell the whole world that Jesus is the Messiah who was and is and is to come.

This is what’s actually going on in the world. It might not be in the headlines on the nightly news, but that’s because the world is in rebellion.

The real headline is, “The Father has promised the world to His Son.”

And He shall reign forever and ever. Verse 9.

“You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.’”

The mutiny will be put down, the conspiracy will be ended once and for all.

Verse 9 is quoted three times in the book of Revelation once in that wild vision of the birth of Christ in chapter 12, where the sun-clothed woman “gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter” (v.15).

Or as Isaac Watts said it:

“He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness,
And wonders of his love.”

This is going to happen!

There will be total victory for the LORD’s Messiah.

All rebellion will be put down and the whole Earth will be His inheritance and unchallenged possession.

So, how do we apply this song to our lives today?

David tells us in the last three verses of his song. I’ll try to summarize it in three points.

#1. WISE UP. V.10

“Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling.”

This song has a message for the conspirators: “Stop while you can. Get out while the getting is good.”

In other words, repent.

You schemes and machinations will not succeed. They are vain and futile and destined for failure.

Give up now. Repent while you can.

And that is part of the message of Christmas.

When Jesus came the first time, He came as a little baby and He offered salvation.

But when He returns the second time, he will bring salvation to all who have turned from their sin and trusted in what He did for them on the Cross, but He will also bring condemnation to all who have not.

“Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling.”

#2. BOW DOWN.

“Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. [V.12] Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment.”

To “kiss the Son” means to pay homage to Him. It means to submit to Him.

To bow before Him in worship and obedience and proclaim your commitment to Him.

I think here of the Magi who came from the East and wanted to worship the Christ child.

Matthew chapter 2 tells us, “they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh”(v.11). And they were overjoyed (v.10).

The wise men were fulfilling Psalm 2 verse 11.

They were rejoicing with trembling. They were worshiping the Messiah.

They were kissing the Son.

Have you bowed down before Jesus Christ? Is He your Lord?

A lot of people want to claim Jesus as their teacher and many want to claim Him as their Savior.

But not as many want to live as if He is their King.

Christmas should awaken fear and awe and reverence in us.

If Christmas just gives us warm fuzzy feelings, we’re doing it wrong.

“Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment.”

Not because He’s touchy, but because He’s holy.

And His longsuffering patience will eventually reach it’s end.

Don’t presume upon it. Repent and submit before the iron scepter comes down.

Wise Up.
Bow Down.
And Come In.

#3. COME IN.

I love how this song ends. If it sounded at all scary, that’s good because it is, but it ends with nothing but sweetness. Verse 12.

“Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

That’s a beatitude, isn’t it?!

There is nothing but blessing if you are inside of Christ.

You’re safe.
You’re saved.
You’re loved.
You’re cared for.
You’re accepted.
You’re beloved.
You’re blessed.

Outside of Him, there is nothing but danger.

But inside of Him, there is nothing but blessing.

It shouldn’t be a hard choice to make.

Come in.

Come in to the Messiah.
Come in to the Kingdom.
Come in to the One that God the Father calls, “My Son.”

What child is this?

“This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud [worship],
the Babe, the Son of Mary.”

And the Son of God.

“Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.”


***


Fortifying Truth - Fall 2020

01. Majestic and Mindful - Psalm 8
02. All Our Days - Psalm 90
03. "The LORD on High Is Mighty!" - Psalm 93
04. "The LORD Is My Shepherd" - Psalm 23
05. "Praise the LORD, O My Soul!" - Psalm 103
06. "The Blessing of Aaron's Oily Beard" - Psalm 133
07. "A Dying Thirst for the Living God" - Psalm 42
08. "Our Fortress" - Psalm 46
09. Unrestless - Psalm 131
10. "Sun and Shield" - Psalm 84
11. "With Songs of Joy" - Psalm 126
12. "His Love Endures Forever" - Psalm 136
13. "How Many Are Your Works, O LORD!" - Psalm 104
14. "My Soul Waits for the Lord" - Psalm 130
15. "Remember David" - Psalm 132

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