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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Writings

Psalms 2

Verses 1-12


The counsels of God as to the Messiah, rejected of men, yet, appointed of God to carry out His government, whereby the wicked will be judged and believers brought into blessing.

The counsels of God as to the Messiah, made known by decree, and fulfilled by power, in spite of the counsels of men. “The vanity of resisting Him, and the blessedness of trusting Him.”

(vv. 1-3) The psalm opens by presenting a world in revolt against the authority of God. The nations are seen in a state of “tumultuous agitation” in opposition to God and to Christ, vainly seeking to throw off divine authority and restraint. They say, “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Men seek to banish all public recognition of God in order to pursue their lusts which, conscience tells them, will not bear the light of God. The Spirit of God in Act_4:26-27 , applies this Scripture to the rejection of Christ by “the Gentiles, and the people of Israel.” This confederacy against God and Christ was formed at the Cross; it is still the principle that governs the world; it will be fully developed and meet its due judgment after the removal of the church to heaven.

(vv. 4-6) From a world in revolt we pass to the calm of heaven to learn God's thoughts of man's vain efforts. The great men of the earth - its political leaders, its scientists, its philosophers - may combine to cast off all recognition of God, but, unmoved by all their efforts the Christ of God “sitteth in the heavens,” and holds man's revolt in derision. Men rage on earth; God laughs in heaven. Human ideas are employed to convey to us heaven's contempt of man's folly.

Moreover, God not only holds these efforts of men in derision, but the time is coming when God will “speak to them in his anger.” For long ages God has been speaking in grace, and keeping silent in the presence of man's rebellion against His authority. God, however, has not been indifferent to “all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” The silence of God is going to be broken, and when God speaks it will be in anger, manifesting “His fierce displeasure and men will be silent in terror.”

Further God's counsels for the One that man has rejected will surely be fulfilled. In spite of all that men say, or do, God has set His King upon His holy hill of Zion. So surely will God's counsels prevail that He can speak of them as if already accomplished - ”I have set my King upon my holy hill.” Divine power accomplishes divine counsels. Rebellious man will come under judgment, and God's Anointed will reign.

(vv. 7-9) In these verses we are permitted to hear the King speaking as He declares the decree of God concerning Himself. The decree tells us the glory of His Person, the extent of His inheritance, and the greatness of His power. He is the One born in time - “to-day,” and as such owned by Jehovah, as Son of God. This is not His eternal Sonship, but rather His relationship to God as Man begotten in time, by divine generation. Man said, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?” God says, “That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

The decree then passes from the glory of His Person to speak of the greatness of His Kingdom. Men reject the claims of Christ in order to claim the inheritance for themselves ( Mar_12:7 ). They act as if the earth was at their disposal. In their vanity they leave out both God and the devil. They forget that though the devil for a time may be permitted to give the kingdoms of this world to whom he will ( Luk_4:5-6 ), yet God has kept the ultimate disposal of this world in His own hands; and that Christ has only to ask, and God will give Him the nations for an inheritance, and the ends of the earth for a possession.

Finally the decree warns us of the resistless power with which Christ will root out of His Kingdom all things that offend. The kingdoms of man will be broken, like a potter's vessel dashed in pieces, beyond all possibility of reconstruction.

(vv. 10-12) Founded on the warnings of the decree, there is an appeal to the great ones of the earth. Before Christ comes forth to reign in righteousness the nations are invited to submit to Christ, and be reconciled to the Son lest they perish when His anger is kindled but a little. Judgment indeed is coming for the nations, but there will be those amongst them who will put their trust in the Lord. Such will be blest.

While it is true that the Spirit of God applies the first three verses to man's rejection of Christ at the Cross, the full development of this rejection is yet future. Again heaven's derision over earth's vain efforts to cast off the claims of God does not express God's present attitude towards the world. Nor is the appeal to submit to the King the gospel that is preached today. For its complete fulfillment the psalm looks on to the day when the true Church of God has been removed from earth. Then the nations will combine to cast off the authority of God, and heaven will hold their efforts in derision. Then, too, the gospel of the Kingdom will be proclaimed before the judgment falls upon the nations. Those who receive this gospel will be preserved for millennial blessing ( Rev_14:6-7 ).

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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 2". "Smith's Writings". 1832.