Daily Reading: Psalm 2:1-12.
Theme: God’s power, man’s impotence
The signs are everywhere. Prayers are banned in schools, witnessing is strongly discouraged in the work place, and in Hollywood, Christianity is merely a punching bag, a target for ridicule and contempt. In the newspapers, magazines, and on talk shows, true faith in Christ is belittled. Our faith is under siege, our Lord and Savior the target of the powerful and elite of society. Their storm of fury against the Lord never dies down and we can’t help but wonder, every once in a while, whether our Lord is not safely hunkered down in heaven, watching futilely as His kingdom on earth is slowly and methodically dismantled, dismissed and derided.
How different is this psalmist’s view of life and power. He sees the same nations, the same powers, all in an uproar, constantly devising some new way to unseat God (v.1). But the psalmist knows those are all vain pursuits. Though every king in every kingdom come together and their most experienced and intelligent leaders combine their wisdom against the Lord (v.2), God’s anointed Messiah, their efforts are nothing more than spitting into the wind. Here the human Davidic king is a type of the Christ.
What they want is what men have always wanted, freedom from accountability, freedom to sin with impunity, freedom to set their own rules, freedom, in short, to be their own god. They feel God’s restraints upon them and they chafe, “let us tear their fetters apart, and cast away their chords from us” (v.3). God’s authority, whether in His human king’s, or in His own Son, always causes resentment and spurs rebellion.
The only sound from heaven is laughter (v.4). But it is not a funny laughter, there is no amusement, it is the laughter of amazement. It is a dangerous laughter, for there is omnipotence behind it. Merely speaking (v.5) will terrify His enemies. The fly buzzes around the head, annoying, pestering, feeling immune and safe from the slow gentle slaps we aim towards it. It has no fear, it is emboldened to continue its harassment—until, finally tiring of the distraction, we take swatter in hand and quickly end its life. We have not used all our power, or strength, we haven’t even tired ourself in the process. No further weapons were needed, no great exercise of thought, no deep calculation. We did not rush to design some complicated weapon of assault. A nearby paper rolled up ended the annoyance. In the same way God scoffs (v.4) at all human attempts at insurrection.
What great comfort the psalmist takes in the fact that the king of the universe is his King. As the human Davidic king would be crowned, so God would crown His Son, (v.7) not for awhile, but forever. His reign will be eternal and universal one day, and He will rule absolutely, with a rod of iron. If only the peoples and leaders of earth would submit to Him while they could. But at the best, our world considers Him an absentee King. They take Him lightly at their own peril.
He is a merciful God, but He is not a tame God. We cannot subdue Him to our will. He has the ability to be righteously angry and there is no stopping Him when He finally acts. There is no defense system against omnipotence.
In a strange way, in life, we must learn what to fear. We must decide where to seek safety, and from whom. Our world yells for us to join them, and if we don’t, they say we will become their targets. And while we know that God laughs at their power and threats, we can’t quite bring ourselves to join in. While they pose no threat to God, they can still threaten us.
But our God doesn’t leave us to fend for ourselves, He offers Himself as our refuge (v.12). All His eternal powers are activated for our sake. The combined power of the entire world cannot breach the walls of refuge God creates for us. There is a place where refugees from the Kingdom of God can find sanctuary in this world—it is in His Son; surrounded by the impenetrable walls of His perfect love. Within those walls we find blessedness, safety, and security.
Those walls of safety, though invisible, are as real as invisible atoms and molecules. But since we can’t see the invisible, we are disinclined, at times, to trust it. Yet atoms, so small they cannot be seen, can create an explosion of such devastating power that entire cities are laid waste. If we can trust in the invisible power of the atom, we can trust in the invisible power of God. Our countries arsenal of atomic weapons gives us confidence that we are safe from our enemies—how much more should the awesome power of our God give us confidence? It is not wrong to be afraid, that is normal. It is, however, tragic to be afraid of popguns when omnipotence is your defense.
“God has delegated power to his creatures, but being self-sufficient, he cannot relinquish anything of his perfections, and power being one of them, he has never surrendered the least iota of his power. He gives, but he does not give away. All that he gives remains his own and returns to him again. Forever he must remain what he has forever been, the Lord God omnipotent.” (A.W. Tozer)
Exodus 15:6, Numbers 11:22, 2 Chronicles 20:6, Mark 12:24