A few Wednesdays ago, a friend of mine asked me to share with our group about praying through the psalms. This is something that believers have been doing for centuries and I have personally found it very helpful in nourishing my spiritual life day by day. And so I shared with my friends how I have been encouraged to pray through the psalms and encouraged them to do the same, taking a psalm in the morning and one in the evening.
On Friday morning I got a phone call from another friend who had heard my encouragement and taken the advice to heart. Thursday morning, he woke up and prayed Psalm 1: Blessed is the man who doesn’t walk in the way of the wicked…but his delight is in the law of the Lord. He was encouraged by seeing the smiles of Christ upon him not only in his time of meditation but in the whole day afterwards.
Then came Friday. Psalm 2: Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you perish in the way.
Now, even if you were reading the psalms without looking for Jesus, there he is, right? Who else in the bible can be the capital “S” Son? Remembering my advice to see Christ himself in each psalm, my friend’s comfort turned to alarm.
I thought that Jesus loved me!
I thought that God was not angry at me!
I thought that God was for me!
But here is Jesus, plain as the nose on your face, in Psalm 2, asking for the nations as his “inheritance”. Oh, that’s so nice, Jesus is going to take us Gentiles and pursue us with his love! That is fantastic! But then you see very quickly why Jesus wants the nations. Again, here is Jesus, clear as daylight, desiring to smash the nations up like a clay pot!
And there is more. Can you imagine a God who mocks people? If I were writing this story, I would not have a Father/Son laugh-fest at my fellow man. It seems like God should be above all this. Does God not have anything better to do than sit in heaven and mock his enemies?
And there is the real problem, right? God, we are told in the Sermon on the Mount, loves his enemies. It just does not seem right that God would be presenting himself in this vindictive light. He is the one who, while we were still sinners…died for us! We were enemies and Jesus made peace by the blood of his cross.
Jesus mocks his enemies.
Jesus loves his enemies.
This message just will not sell.
At the end of the day, we have two choices when we come to these things that seem to be wild contradictions in the nature of God. We can either stand in judgment over scripture, or we can take God at his word.
Let us trace out the conclusions to these choices very briefly here.
If we stand in judgment over the word of God we have become those kings, those rulers, those nations, those peoples at the beginning of Psalm 2. Can you imagine man working to knock God off his throne? What if the three branches of the United States government decided it had had enough of the rule of God? Is there anything more ridiculous than man trying to take God’s place as sovereign ruler?
Make no mistake. This is exactly what each of us has done every day of our lives.
Instead of submitting to God’s rule, we have worked to build our own kingdoms. We have set up a puppet rule of sex, drugs, work, family, relationships and a million other things- both good and bad- to keep command of our personal marionette. This is a ridiculous position. As long as we insist on running things our way, even bringing God’s word under our judgment, we have set ourselves up against him. We will lose that fight.
Our second choice will lead us to run to Jesus for protection. Can you imagine a safer place than to be on God’s side? Yes, we rejoice with trembling, but that is because we have caught a glimpse of who our God is. We do not fear his judgment upon us simply because we trust his word. If he says it is finished, that means it is finished.
If he says he will never leave us or forsake us, that is exactly what he means. If he says he so loved us that he gave his only Son for us, that is exactly what that means.
We do not hear the word of God with an eye for scrutiny but with a heart for obedience and trust.
Again, let us make no mistake. God will judge his enemies.
The good news is that you need not stay his enemy for another second.
Listen to voice of Jesus in the psalm.
Kiss the Son.