John Carter – December 8, 2013 – Psalm 2 ESV – 5 Books of Psalms
An Arrogant People, a Mocking God, A Ruling Son, and The Chief End of Man
It’s difficult to work with arrogant people. Since they already know everything they are difficult to teach. And they are almost unbearable to carry on a conversation with as they are usually employed in the game of ‘one-up’. The game where they see how many times they can one-up your story. A less refined arrogance will result in blatantly obvious arrogance. But a refined arrogance will allow a person to lift themselves up and put another down while appearing to be kind and humble. Having done my share of public displays of arrogance I can’t help but see the arrogance needed to rebel against YHWH (the Divine name of God).
Arrogance bleeds and breeds rebellion. The secret murmuring, followed by public acts of disobedience, and culminating in an outright aggressive rejection of anything that is perceived to restrain or inhibit the perceived freedom that arrogance brings.
Psalm 2 starts out with a description of arrogant people, nations, and rulers rejecting not only YHWH but also his anointed (messiah). These people engaging in a vain activity is not a nuanced disgruntled behavior. No, this is a gathering of nations coming together to aggressively throw off the discipline and the correction of YHWH and his anointed that the nations see as inhumane ropes tying the people down from being free to go where they see fit.
There is no greater arrogance than for a creation to say to its creator, ‘you have no authority over me’. Or for an owned object to say to its owner, ‘you can’t tell me what to do’. If a boss tells his or her employee to go wash his car and the employee says, ‘go take a hike’, there may be an arrogance, but it is not all that offensive. Why? Because the employee has a contract with the boss that can be terminated at any time. But what if a new car owner got into their new car and started it and pressed the gas pedal? There is the expectation that that car will drive. But if that car does not move it is a true offense because that car is not allowed to disagree with the will of its owner. There is an implicate mandate that the car must do what its owner wants it to do.
YHWH as creator and his anointed have the final authority over all creation. But the world has no regard for this authority. That is why the world is pleased to dismiss any god who would have the gall to demand any manner of obedience based on that gods’ ownership over the world. YHWH and his anointed not only have the authority over their creation but they act upon that authority and laughs at the worlds’ futile attempts to reject this authority.
How insulting it is to be mocked. How much more so to be mocked by the creator of all creation. Demeaning does not even begin to express the sensation that takes hold of a person who is being mocked by their creator. Being ridiculed and laughed at could only be made worse by an outburst of anger by the one mocking. An anger that is justified and pure.
Why would it be permissible for YHWH to treat the nations who reject him with such contempt? Isn’t YHWH a god of love? Doesn’t his love demand that such callous behavior to be abolished? No.
The world tries to set itself up as the final authority. It is the world who sees a responsibility to establish itself as the judge of what is morally right and wrong. But God as our Master is very clear on this matter. He will set up his own King.
I have no right or authority to walk into the local coffee shop and establish the new manager and the new policies and procedures by which this coffee shop must now operate. Why? Because I am not the creator. I have no authority to do so. It doesn’t matter how many coffees I buy, or how many times I come in. The coffee shop does not belong to me therefore I do not have the right to establish any manger or policies and procedures.
YHWH as the owner of this coffee shop we call the earth and the surrounding universe is the only authority to determine who will and will not rule this 3rd rock from the sun. So who will be established as boss? None other than the Son of YHWH who was begotten (but never formed), owner and ruler of the nations, and will rule as the final and only loving dictator of all the universe. He will decimate those who embrace the rebellion against YHWH.
If I walk into the coffee shop and set up the management the owner will rightly laugh and mock me. Then the owner will then publicly display his or her authority by showing who he has established as the final rule of the coffee shop.
The world does not have the right or even the privilege to establish a final authority. But YHWH does. Why? Because he is the creator, therefore the owner, therefore the responsible party, and therefore the final authority. As much as humanity may despise the thought of a god that has established correction and discipline, rewards and punishment— humanity has no valid say in the matter. Why? Because YHWH is the creator, therefore the owner, therefore the responsible party, and therefore the final authority. Who is the car to tell the mechanic what he or she can and can’t do? What civilian can successfully command a president to answer his questions; even in a court of law?
Discernment. Heeding a warning. Being cautious. All things helpful to do in the presence of YHWH and his anointed. I don’t fear the manager at my local coffee shop, but I do fear the Holy God of Heaven. YHWH, master of all.
It is a peculiar thing to both worship and fear the same being. Strange that both the act of celebration and trembling should synonymously define our demeanor before YHWH. How is it that such contrary terms should be used to create such a beautiful union. There is no happier place than in the presence of YHWH (sorry Disneyland). And yet there is no other place that will cause us to fear so deeply.
When will Christian American begin to embrace these two peaks of the reality of God. Fear and Happiness are both equally acceptable responses to have in the presence of YHWH and his anointed. Do not minimize or try to tie a nice theological bow around these two needful responses that a desperate and needy people must have in the presence of YHWH and his anointed. Without the redeeming work of the Son of God— we die. Without a happiness in the God who saved us from death— we languish.
Man’s highest achievement is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. It is no accident that although Psalm 2 ends with a warning of imminent judgment the final word is happiness. Happiness for those who make their refugee camp in the safety and protection of YHWH and his anointed.