Why do the heathen rage?


“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 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.” Psalm 2:1-3 (Read Psalm 2)

This psalm certainly described what took place in Jesus’ day, when He was rejected of His own people and nailed to the cross and crucified, and it was fulfilled when the religious rulers arrested Jesus’ disciples and commanded them no longer to preach in Jesus’ name (cf. Acts 4:23ff). Yet Jesus rose again in victory!

Is this Scripture describing the world of our day? The nations do rage and the people do plot a vain and foolish thing. Our rulers take counsel together against the LORD God and His Anointed (Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Savior of the world), saying let’s cut all ties with God and Christ Jesus and throw away the Bible, His commandments and anything which would bind us to Him!

But God, who is over all, laughs at man’s foolishness (v. 4-6). He speaks against it. How can people and nations free themselves from the Creator of the universe? From the one who holds their very breath in His hands (Daniel 5:23)? From the one who gives each one life in his mother’s womb and will be their judge (cf. Psalm 139:13-16; 96:13)?

In spite of man’s rebelliousness, the LORD God has sent His own only-begotten Son to redeem mankind and established His kingdom (v. 7-9; cf. Daniel 2:44f.; Isaiah 9:6-7; 53:3ff.). He reigns over God’s people – those who have repented of their sinful ways and trust in Him – and will soon judge this world and establish His everlasting kingdom (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 19:11ff.; 11:15).

And the Spirit of God warns the kings and judges of the earth – words which all of us should heed as well (v.10-12a): “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.”

We should all be wise and honor the Son, acknowledging Him as God’s only-begotten Son and trusting in Him to show us mercy for the sake of the redemption He accomplished for all when He suffered and died upon the cross and then rose again.

And the Spirit tells us that those who trust in Him are blessed – blessed with forgiveness for all their sins and a place in Christ’s everlasting kingdom (v. 12b). God grant to each of us such faith in Christ that we may be among the blessed.

O King of kings and Lord of lords, grant that we humble ourselves, repent of our sinful ways and look to You for mercy and forgiveness; and grant that we bear witness in this fallen world against the foolishness of rebelling against You. Amen.

Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.