You wicked people think you’re bursting the bonds of my rule by killing my Anointed? God says. No, that’s exactly what will establish his rule, and he shall reign forever as King. I will give all of your kingdoms to him as his heritage and possession, and if you resist him, he will break you with a rod of iron.
When the apostles experienced persecution in Acts 4, they looked to Psalms 2 for comfort. They recognized that the ultimate example of what they were experiencing was the crucifixion of God’s Anointed—the nations raging against the rule of God by killing his Son, Jesus Christ.
And when we face the kind of opposition and conflict that Psalm 2 predicts, that should give us comfort as well. You are not alone. This conflict you are experiencing, this pressure to give in to a wicked image of the good life, this persecution against you, it’s not the first time it has happened. In fact, this grand narrative of conflict is what Jesus himself was part of when Herod and Pontius Pilate and the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel nailed him to the cross.
But not only is the Messiah the ultimate, quintessential example of this story of conflict between the wicked and the righteous, he is the solution to the whole thing. We see this in how Psalm 2 portrays God and his response to the imagination of the wicked.
Look at the image Psalm 2:4 paints of God: It says, “He who sits in the heavens.” Now, that word “sits” in the ESV is a bit misleading. The Hebrew word is actually much more metaphorical than just plain “sits.” Remember, the psalms use poetry to help to form our inner image of reality, and that’s what Psalm 2 is continuing to do. Let me show you a couple of more places in the psalms that use this very same Hebrew word to see if you can see the image it is meant to portray.
But the Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice. (Psalm 9:7)
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever. (Psalm 29.10)
What word do the translators supply to give the fuller sense of this Hebrew word? “enthroned” That’s the sense of this word. And that’s clear in Psalm 9 where the text continues, “he has established his throne for justice.” And Psalm 29, “the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.” This is royal imagery. This is why the NIV translates Psalm 2:4, “The One enthroned in heaven laughs…” That’s the image of God Psalm 2 is beginning to paint, and that’s clear a few verses down where verse 6 refers to him as King.