Psalm 2

The Lord Reigns 

DIVISIVE POLITICS.  ANGRY POLITICIANS.  This was Saturday’s (September 18, 2021) Star-Phoenix headline.  As I write this, the day after Election 2021, little has changed.  After thirty-six days of vigorous campaigning we still have a minority government and lots of unhappy politicians.

If Psalm 1 addresses the question of the individual life and true blessedness, Psalm 2 addresses the question of the community of faith faced with the problems of history made by nations contending for power.  It announces a coming king into whose power God will deliver the nations.   

Why the big noise, nations?
Why the vain plots, peoples?
Earth-leaders push for position,
Demagogues and delegates meet for summit talks,
The God-deniers, the Messiah-defiers:
“Let’s get free of God!
Cast loose from Messiah!”
Heaven-throned God breaks out laughing.

The word meditate, and the word plot are the same Hebrew word.  But whereas in Psalm 1, to meditate on the Word of God is to find life, here the nations plot against the Word of God desiring to free themselves of all God-interference in their lives.  These people see God’s words as chains that restrict their freedom.  They seek to replace God-words with their own ‘vain’ words.

‘But God who sits in the heavens laughs’ at these nation’s presumption.  Human words of arrogance, anger, injustice, and evil will fail.  History has shown the power of God’s word over human words.

  • Some years ago I visited the British museum which includes a display from the days of the Babylonian empire of king Nebuchadnezzar. Tellingly, there is a brick with Nebuchnezzar’s name overlaid with a dog’s pawprint.  (See Daniel 4).
  • Archbiship Desmond Tutu – all 5’4’’ of him – defied the words of the apartheid regime and helped establish the Truth & Reconciliation commission so that truth could be spoken to power.
  • Pastor Christian Fuhrer led prayer meetings which helped eventually to bring down the communist government of East Germany.

God laughs.  ‘Laughter,’ Eugene Peterson writes, ‘restores perspective.  There is such a thing s taking the world’s arrogance to seriously.  God laughs.  We join him.  In the laughter, every high-flown pretension is seen as silly posturing.’   [Answering God, 31].

On Election Day, a small group of us representing about half a dozen churches gathered for Communion.  We did it, not to impress the world or our neighbours but to remind ourselves that a different kind of kingdom exists, the kingdom of God.  This kingdom does not depend on military might or economic prowess, but rather is known for its truthfulness, its deep concern for the poor and oppressed, its love for friend and enemy alike.  It is truly an upside-down kingdom where the last shall be first, and where suffering and death lie unavoidably on the path toward joy and lasting life.   Our God reigns!