Friday, August 10, 2012

Psalm 2

Why do people do foolish things?  Haven't we all thought this when discovering some odd, life-destroying behavior paraded before us in the news.  The past year's papers contain more examples than could be listed.  The rich and famous seem especially susceptible to these self-destructive attitudes.  From where do these follies come?

The psalmist addresses the same question in the second psalm.  As we continue looking at the Psalms as the "anatomy of the soul," the second psalm expands on the theme of the first.  As the first psalm explained the difference between the state of the righteous over the wicked, the second describes how  the rebellion of the wicked leads to folly and futility.  Four parts divide this psalm.  Verses 1-3 relate the reality of human folly.  Verses 4-6 discuss God's response to the folly of human rebellion in the person of His ruler.  Verses 7-9 describe God's ruler.  Verses 10-12 offer lessons derived from the teaching of the psalm.
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
In todays language, he asks, "Why do people act in wild and futile ways?"  Why can't people act sensibly?  Don't they know their behavior leads to annihilation?  What goes wrong in their heads to prevent them from understanding the basic rudiments of logic?

These questions apply with particular force to those in positions of governmental authorities.  One would hope that those granted authority would exercise discretion and wisdom.  They are the ones who need logic most.  Such is not the case.  For every celebrity arrested, there is a corresponding politician who acts foolishly.  This occurred even to the people in the days of the psalmist.
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 away their cords from us.
This is not a casual rebellion.  It follows from the process of planning and agreement.  It is a conspiracy of mutiny.

To the psalmist, the height of folly is the attempt at existence without God.  Attempting to free oneself from the implications of divinity leads to absurdity.  No one can develop a consistent, logical paradigm without the foundation of the God of the Bible. (who alone is God)  If God is who Scripture claims He is, then no system of thought without Him will work.  The greatest proof of the existence of God does not rest on the incontrovertibility of faith, but on the complete failure of any other system to support itself.

The absurdity of the attempt draws divine scoffing and anger.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.  Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
The laughter of God last only a moment before His humor turns to wrath.  Human folly only supports humor briefly before it turns to frustration.

The content of God's message of displeasure comes in the next verses.  It provides a demonstration of God's proof.
Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.  I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.  Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.  Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
God establishes His ruler to confound the folly of earthly rulers.  Although they rage and rebel against the reign of God, He sets before them a patent reminder of God's sovereignty.

Notice that the psalmist does not indicate that a nebulous notion of divinity alone protects men from folly, but the understanding of the divine as described in scripture.  That is, not only an abstract notion of God, but a redemptive God who designated His anointed one, the Messiah, the Christ, Jesus as His earthly designate who is God.  "I believe in God," may satisfy many as a proper theistic statement, but it cannot support logical rationality.  Only "Jesus is Lord," can.

This is the conclusion of the psalmist.
Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.  Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.  Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.
Instead of continuing their rebellion against the authority of God, the wise begins with God, the only God, the God revealed in Scripture.  Without Him, life does not make sense.  Said in another way…
Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

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