He who sits in the heavens shall laugh…. (Psalm 2:4a)
We are made in the image of God. He has created us with a full array of emotions. His passions are ever pure—unlike ours that are tainted by sin—yet, God is said to be angry, to grieve, to love, and even to laugh. When God laughs in Psalm 2, however, there is nothing funny about it!
The Psalm begins with the sad account of MAN’S REBELLION (v.1-3). Here are those in harmony with Satan’s desire to overthrow God. This is idolatry. Idolatry is about man making god in his image (man becomes a god). The root of this rebellion is man’s unbounded pride (v.1-2). Why is the world so messed up? The root of it extends back to the point Lucifer thought in his heart that he should be god. He took one third the angels into his conspiracy. Cast to earth, the serpent slithers into paradise presenting the same proposition to Adam and Eve. They took the forbidden fruit, and the serpent’s venom of rebellion flows into the veins of all. The nations’ rulers lead the way, but the people readily join the long war against God. The fruit of this rebellion is man’s unbridled passion (v.3). The evil heart of man chafes under moral restraint. They reject Christ because they want none telling them what to do. Modern man brands the moral teachings of the Bible as outdated and repressive. So we mock God and ask, “What are you going to do about it?”
In the Psalm’s next stanza we find GOD’S RESPONSE (v.4-6). Man’s scoffing is met by God’s scorn. He responds with derision (v.4). God looks at puny man defying Him and laughs. The crass comedians of our culture spawn howls of laughter as they mock God and His standards. God gets the last laugh! God responds with displeasure (v.5). It is the LORD—“Yahweh”—I AM THAT I AM. It means that God is who He is and will do what He wants to do. He is on the throne and displeased with any fool who thinks to usurp His authority. God responds with determination (v.6). Man crucified Jesus on a tree, confined Him in a tomb and laughed, “That’s the end of Him.” God replies, “Is that so?” and breaks the bonds of death. Jesus ascends to the right hand of the Father, awaiting the time of His return to crush His enemies and establish His reign! The kings “set themselves against Messiah” but God sets His King on the throne.
The third stanza declares CHRIST’S REIGN (v.7-9). The second member of the Trinity, Jesus Himself begins to sing. Before Him every knee shall bow and tongue confess He is Lord. Jesus is the unique Son (v.7). He is eternally begotten as the Son of God. He is the universal Sovereign (v.8-9). Today is the day of grace and we are to extend the kingdom of Christ to the ends of the earth. If grace is spurned there only remains the breaking and dashing of wrath.
This demands OUR REVERENCE (v.10-12). The third Person of the Trinity—the Spirit sweetly sings in this last stanza. There are requirements (v.10-12a). Stop listening to the counsel of the ungodly and hear the Word of God. This requires submission and reverence. There are reasons (v.12b). Better to bend than to be broken—to repent and not perish! There are results (v.12c). He is our refuge from wrath. “Whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”