Psalm 2 is a coronation song. Coronations in Israel were often like a breath of fresh air, a new beginning, raising the hopes of loyal Israelites for better things ahead. If times had been bad, or the previous king was old and weak, the coronation of another prince promised a new start.
But a new king often meant that tax-paying subject nations around worked to throw off the shackles of dependency, or to broker a new deal with the new and inexperienced king. So this enthronement anthem acted as a charter for the new king. He may feel vulnerable but he should rededicate himself to the real King – to Yahweh. God is the new king's Father. So by renewing his faith in God, the human king could rely on the Heavenly King to put down enemies and strengthen godly rule.
So what's this got to do with mission today? Sometimes big national events and happenings open windows for God's people to challenge the powers to acknowledge God and to seek His guidance. The Prayer for Parliament happens annually. It's a reminder to pray for governments and all in political leadership. Some parts of this psalm sound strange in our minds. Some lines seem violent and vindictive. But we must think ourselves back into the setting of a vulnerable nation at the crossroads between vast and ruthless international powers. Here are people sometimes struggling to hold onto a faith against all odds in a God whose presence is marked by a Sacred Box whom only one person living has seen and then only in a dimly lit room once a year. Be honest! Do you find faith in an all-powerful God difficult at times in a secular world that is increasingly adamant that the Christian God does not matter? If you do you may be close to the orientation of ancient Israel.
But there's more! In the NT, this psalm is often seen as pointing to Jesus Christ, the true Son of David. Peter and John used this psalm as a stepping stone for their mission prayer meeting (Acts 4:25-31). This psalm gave the early mission workers the confidence to proclaim the risen Christ as God's anointed king (Acts 13:33); as much superior to worship of angels (Heb 1:5); and as the High Priest of God's great salvation (Heb 5:5).
This psalm concludes with a truth worth declaring world-wide: "Blessed are all who take refuge in him" – in God's anointed king, Jesus.
Ossie & Jenny Fountain
Day 3 – GC3 Daily Prayer Guide