psalm ii – true refuge

Why do the nations rage and the people plot in vain? It seems like it would be much more sensible for the nations have peace and plot in accordance with God’s will. Yet this is not our experience globally or personally. There is, in fact, a gap between what we want to do and what God wants to do. If we sing ‘Amazing Love’ by Chris Tomlin and sing the words “in all I do, I honour you”, we lie. I often think a sign of spiritual maturity is how frequently you see your own will conflicting with God’s. Yet we are not those at whom God laughs. We are not the nations outside of Him but sitting at His feet, watching Him.

To be a Christian is to no longer be God’s enemy. It is to renounce one’s own self-will and submit to the Messianic King. This is a violent psalm, with wrath, trembling and shattering. But that is exclusively for those resisting the reign of the King. It is those who take refuge in the Son who are happy (or ‘blessed’).

This refuge is not static, though. Imagine two people fleeing to a city to seek refuge as they flee from an oncoming army. The first person, Jack, sets up a shanty on the outskirts of town, just within the city walls. He often nips outside the walls just enough to gather some old comforts and explore, retreating just before he would be captured or killed. The second person, Sarah, makes a beeline to the royal palace and throws themselves at the feet of the king, wishing only to be as far removed as she could from her life outside the walls. Which of these two people knows refuge most truly?

Meditation: Think on the above. Ask as the day goes by “which person am I right now, Jack or Sarah?” If you can, think of the mental attitudes of those two people and how the way they take refuge reflects their trust for the rescuer.

Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth take their stand,
and the rulers conspire together
against the Lord and his Anointed One:
“Let’s tear off their chains
and throw their ropes off of us.”

The one enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord ridicules them.
Then he speaks to them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath:
“I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”

I will declare the Lord’s decree.
He said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have become your Father.
Ask of me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with an iron scepter;
you will shatter them like pottery.”

So now, kings, be wise;
receive instruction, you judges of the earth.
Serve the Lord with reverential awe
and rejoice with trembling.
Pay homage to the Son or he will be angry
and you will perish in your rebellion,
for his anger may ignite at any moment.
All who take refuge in him are happy.

psalm ii (csb)

<— psalm i psalm iii —>