I used to attend a church in Georgia before we moved to Houston that would sing Psalms every Sunday from the Scottish Psalter. To be honest, I really enjoyed those psalms, because I really felt the rich heritage that came along with them. I mean, seriously, these songs, although not to these particular tunes, have been sung for 4000 years! These were the tunes that the Scottish martyrs Hugh McKail, John Welsh, Donald Cargill, and others sang on the steps of the scaffold.
Anyhow, during the time of my life when I used to sing these Psalms at church, my favorite was Psalm 2. Not only did it have an awesome tune that particularly suited the words of this Psalm, but the words were powerful! To this day, I would say it is one of my favorite Psalms.
There are several different categories of Psalms that I secretly categorize them into (Feel free to use my Taylor Categorization System if you feel like it). There's praise, distress, awe, judgment, and prophecy, right? I'm probably missing some, but those are what come to mind at 10:30 at night on vacation. Psalm 2 fits squarely into the judgment category. The really cool thing about this though is that no psalm fits only in one category. For example, Psalm 2 is about judgment, but in discussing God's judgment it touches a prophecy toward the wicked, resulting in awe and praise from the righteous. Thus one psalm fit in four categories. Mainly though, the emphasis is on judgment. So take a moment, step away from the computer, and go read Psalm 2. Then come back. Don't get distracted!
I mention a lot about Christian love on this blog, but there's a side of us that wants justice sometimes, right? We can talk a lot about loving your neighbor and sacrificing for your neighbor, and turning the other cheek, but isn't there a time when you just want to see that fire fall from heaven and, although this is going to sound very fleshly, and I like to think I'd resist the temptation, say, "I told you so" to some people?
The picture I always think of is Elijah in 2 Kings 1. Elijah has been dodging the king for years. The king hates his guts and wants him dead, and Elijah has done his best to keep him from having on opportunity to kill him. However, we don't really see Elijah hiding much in 2 Kings 1. We see him out in the open, and seemingly not a bit perturbed about ordering fire from heaven to absolutely consume 100 men. Christian love? I'm not really sure what the explanation for this is, except that these were wicked men who were serving a wicked king doing a wicked service in a wicked way! The fact that God actually allowed Elijah to summon fire from heaven probably says that God had given approval to this act of judgment. But the point is, there is something, right or wrong, in us humans, that, at least at the mental level, wants to demand justice.
So back to Psalm 2. What do we see the wicked doing? They're planning the destruction of the righteous. V. 2, "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 bands asunder, and cast their cords away from us.'" About here is where I'm sure somebody is asking, "Why does he like this Psalm again?" The rulers of the earth are plotting the fall of the righteous, of the saved. This isn't some haphazard, if-we-see-the-opportunity-arise plan. This is a systematic plan to stomp out the righteous.
V. 4 is why I love this Psalm. "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision." This psalm is just running over with God's sovereignty. God is not a god running around trying to work everything out. He isn't sitting in heaven worrying over some new event that blindsided Him on earth. He is actually looking down at man's systematic attempts to destroy Him, and He's laughing!
Is that not comforting to us as His children? He wasn't caught off guard in the 2012 election when Obama was reelected like I heard many Christians come close to saying. He wasn't shocked when 9/11 occurred. He wasn't blindsided during Pearl Harbor, or the Ebola breakout in Africa, or the Boston Bombing. He is sitting in heaven, firmly in control of all things, letting the wicked have their moment before He crushes them. I don't have to worry about where God is in catastrophe, because He is right where He was during Creation, the Fall, the Flood, the reincarnation, the crucifixion, the resurrection, and right where He will be for eternity. He's right there in the middle, planning it out for the good of His children and the furthering of His plan.
But He doesn't cease at amusement. That amusement turns to anger. God never is pleased with sin. He will judge, quickly, but in His own timing. And He, perfectly just, will judge rightly.
I think that is where we get off track, and to be honest, I think we know better. We expect perfect justice on earth, and are angry when God doesn't supply it just the way we want it. I just read a book today about the Holocaust, and every time I read about that horrific time, I want to personally kill every German leader of the time period. And I always feel that they got off easy at Nuremburg, where the majority were simply released, and a few, like Goering and Himmler, were sentenced to hang. Isn't that an awfully fast way to kill men who literally tortured to death thousands of men, women, and even children? Then it always comes back to me that God is just. Those quick, relatively painless deaths were a gateway to an eternity in hell, where payment for their crimes will be extracted for eternity. It's not a pretty thought, but it's true. God is just, even when man is not. God's timing is perfect, even when man's is not.
The picture given in v. 8 is astonishing to me. This, I believe, is God the Father speaking to Jesus before the Millenial reign of Jesus on Earth. "Ask of me, and I will give you the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." Do we see these "powerful" rulers of earth being asked what they want in this passage? No! We see them handed around like pieces on a chess board. These men, who believed that in their own power, and in their own might, could stand against God, will be handed over to Jesus for his judgment. I'm really not sure if this psalm is one of prophecy forward to the time of the Antichrist, but either way, I find great comfort in the knowledge of a sovereign God.
The rest of the psalm speaks of the psalmist advice to "kiss the Son, lest he be angry" in a reference to submitting to the rule of Jesus, but that is not my focus today. My point today is 1.) We can trust our God. He is perfectly sovereign, not some befuddled comic up in the sky running around trying to stay one step ahead. He is calmly sitting back, watching His plans unfold, and 2.) We can trust that our Sovereign God's judgment and timing are best, better than our own finite ideas of justice and reason. He is worthy of our trust.