Welcome to Chapter 2 of Psalms. ( Follow this series in the “Journey Through the Psalms” category on my blog page. )
In today’s current political climate, it is a timely read, as its theme is “wicked rulers”. I would encourage you to grab your scriptures and read through this chapter as I discuss it.
Has there ever been a time in history where God’s people have not observed wickedness of the leadership in the world? Think about it? How many can you name in your lifetime? In this century? Or millennium?
Some that come to mind are of course, biggies like Adolf Hitler or Josef Stalin. But think of the brutal rulers as far back as we have written history. Ivan the Terrible, Nero, Genghis Khan, Nebuchadnezzar, and Pharaoh.
The Psalms were written during the age of the kings. As the affirmed writer of Psalms 2, David was a main player among the vast backdrop of the biblical kings and their deeds. He knew the intimate details, which he lays out to his readers in this chapter.
1 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”
We can certainly relate to David’s written record of kings and their plots to commit evil acts and their mockery and insolence against God and His people. Today we watch state and national leaders champion their godless policies, from the nationwide holocaust of our unborn, to city councils, mayors, and governors jumping at the chance to close churches during the Covid crisis, while allowing strip clubs and casinos to remain open. Their vile laundry list is long. They are openly hostile, blatant, and brazen. It can all begin to look pretty hopeless. But what does David say about all their plots and schemes?
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. 5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my a holy hill.” 7 I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Did you catch that? God actually laughs at them from His throne. Though they commit evil deeds and rebel against our holy God, ultimately they will not get away with their acts of defiance. At some point they will incur His wrath. We can have peace in knowing that while wicked kings ( or presidents senators, and congressmen ) rule, God has set up OUR King, His Son Jesus Christ, as Messiah, the true King of Kings. And He will have the last word. Even in all their political strength and might, in the end He will crush them like a cheap piece of pottery. Maybe not in this life. But they will pay in eternity.
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
So what is the best course of action for political leaders? To humble themselves before the Lord and serve Him. To worship Christ. Not the “god of their choosing”, as so many government official like to tout as they advocate for religious freedom” from their marble halls. God is not, nor has He ever been ok with people worshipping whatever god they choose. In scripture, that never turned out so well! We as believers should always promote worship of the One true God. We should also be praying for God to move in the hearts of our elected leaders so that they would be drawn to Him in salvation. And pray the same for the leaders of other countries!
Understandably it can be extremely discouraging for people of God to be ruled by the ungodly. And He has never promised we would be exempt from persecution. In fact He said the opposite.
Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you…” John 15:20
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:10-12
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
But we know that we have a sovereign God who can be trusted. The scandalous atrocities we witness are not unseen by Him. In fact, as believers, we understand that for us He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according His purpose. ( Romans 8:28 ) Yes, even the wickedness of kings is in His plan. After all, He is the one who appoints all leaders.
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
— Romans 13:1
Jesus answered [speaking to Pilate], “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.”
— John 19:11
By me kings reign…
— Proverbs 8:15
…he removes kings, and sets up kings…
— Daniel 2:21
Then God removed Saul and made David their king…
— Acts 13:22
No one … can exalt themselves. It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.
— Psalms 75:6-7
…the Most High has power over human kingdoms. He gives them to whomever he wishes.
— Daniel 4:17
That means that God has had a plan and a purpose for every wicked king who ever ruled in history. Even Hitler. It isn’t for us to question, but to trust. There will be things that happen in the course of events that we will never understand. But we do know that ultimately His righteous justice will prevail. We are told that this life will have trouble. Things for us aren’t promised to be easy. It may seem like those who rule over us are living lives of luxury, power, and ease. Yes, in their lying, cheating, and greed they may have those things, but at what cost? This life is all they have. As followers of Christ, our hope isn’t in the here and now, but in the then and there. We must only endure this vapor of a life for a short while. Then our reward will come. And our King rules righteously and worthily!