We mentioned briefly last week that some scholars believe that Psalm 1 and Psalm 2 were written to be read together. The reason for that is some of the similarities between the two in terms of how God deals with the righteous as contrasted with how God deals with the wicked.
Psalm 2 — The Wicked world vs. the Righteous Son
Psalm 1 – Begins with “How blessed” (v. 1) – True happiness is not being settled in sin.
Psalm 2 Ends with “How blessed” (v. 12) – True happiness is trusting God’s Son.
Psalm 1 — call to “meditate” (v. 2) – true meditation on God’s law
Psalm 2 — “devising” (v. 1) – anti-meditation on exalting self and dethroning God …
Psalm 1 — Righteous meditate on God’s Law both day and night (vs. 2)
Psalm 2 — The Wicked’s attitude to God’s Law is to break those bonds asunder, and cast away those cords from us
Psalm 1 — Scoffers (v. 1) – The wicked mock God.
Psalm 2 Scoffs (v. 4) – God mocks the wicked.
Psalm 2 — Righteous One is installed on Mt. Zion, God’s holy mountain
Psalm 1 – “the way of the wicked will perish” (6) – final end of the wicked
Psalm 2 “perish in the way” (v. 12) – final end of the Nation’s wicked leaders who oppose God
Psalm 2 — Wicked broken into pieces like pottery
Psalm 1 — True faith expressed in delightful meditation on God’s word
Psalm 2 — True faith expressed in reverent adoration of God’s Son, the living Word
So Psalm 1 -2 give us a strong contrast to the ways of the righteous vis-a-vis the way of the wicked. This is a theme of the righteous vs. the wicked is a theme that is repeated throughout the Psalms and one reason we should be much in the Psalms since the theme of God establishing His people while at the same time unseating the wicked is a comfort to God’s people.
Last week we look at the first strophe of this Psalm and noted the desire of fallen men to cast off God, His Christ, and God’s law. That fallen man remains committed to this program is seen by just a couple quotes,
“We make war against all prevailing ideas of religion, of the state, of country, of patriotism. The idea of God is the keynote of a perverted civilization. It must be destroyed.”
“Come, Satan, slandered by the small and by kings. God is stupidity and cowardice; God is hypocrisy and falsehood; God is tyranny and poverty; God is evil. Where humanity bows before an altar, humanity, the slaves of kings and priests, will be condemned … I swear, God, with my hand stretched out towards the heavens, that you are nothing more than an executioner of my reason, the scepter of my conscience … God is essentially anticivilized, antiliberal, antihuman.”
And so as we looked at closely last week the peoples’ rage and imagining of a vain thing. We tried to establish the point that when in vs. 3 the Revolution expresses itself by a resolve to cast God’s cords away and break asunder their bonds that this an expression of a desire to be done with God’s law and His providence. We tried to connect the dots that as courts and legislators seek to overthrow God’s explicit law that these are modern day examples of attempts to break bonds and cast away cords.
This was the first point. “A People’s Rebellion Observed.” This week we move on to consider the second strophe of this Psalm in vs. 4-6 and note “God’s Ridicule Levelled.”
PSALM 2:4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. 5 Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure: 6 “Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion.”
II.) God’s Ridicule Levelled
A.) There is ridicule found in God’s position vis-a-vis the wicked’s raging
Vs. 4-6 moves us from the machinations on earth where we find rage and conspiring by the wicked rulers of the Nations. In first 4 we are transported as it were to God’s heavenly court room and in the face of all this rioting rage to overthrow God and His Messiah and their law we find God remaining seated.
Elsewhere in the Psalms it is said “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered.”
God is not threatened in the least. Per the Psalmist in Psalm 115,
” But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.”
There is calm in the face of rebellion. There is nothing for God to be harried about. He does not call a council to map out strategy. No sweat lies upon His brow communicating concern. God merely sits. Sitting on the throne, of course, communicates security and control. The nations rage and God ridicules them by remaining seated.
We would do well to remember this when we see the fomenting of the wicked around us. We see antifa seeking to break asunder God’s bonds. We see Social Justice Warriors seeking to cast away God’s cords. We see a tide rolling in resolved to take a stand against the Lord and His anointed. We even see the Church and clergy marching in the streets supporting a Worldview that is hostile to Biblical Christianity… or maybe we are facing the hostility of friends and family for our Christian stand.
If we find ourselves understandably in turmoil we would do well to find calm in God’s ridicule of all this inasmuch as He remains seated. God is our God for the sake of Christ and He is not threatened in the least by those who threaten either Him or His people.
Luther adds here,
“This is to show that there is not a doubt to be entertained that all these things shall come to pass. And the gracious spirit does it for our comfort and consolation, that we may not faint under temptation but lift up our heads with the most certain hope.”
B.) There is ridicule found in God’s response
Orig: a primitive root; to laugh (in pleasure or detraction); by implication, to play:–deride, have in derision, laugh, make merry, mock(-er), play, rejoice, (laugh to) scorn, be in (make) sport.
Laughter … derision … mocking … scoffing
I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes,
By repeating the same idea twice we have a tautology in this verse. Nothing is added in the second statement that isn’t already there in the first statement.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision.
In Hebrew usage, it is to emphasize the truth of a matter. It is not a great deal different from our Lord saying “Verily, Verily.” By the repetition, there is an emphasis of the certainty of the thing.
J. A. Alexander offers here that this derision/mockery is “the strongest possible expression of contempt.”
This should alter our understanding of God’s character. This contempt of God for the wicked fits into the motif of “God is always angular and will never be made smooth.” God laughs, mocks and scoffs at the wicked.
This is what God delights in doing. Many might see cruelty in such behavior but I see the love of God for His own name and glory. What better response could there be to those who would roll God off His throne and place themselves in His place?
It is simply the case, citing Alexander again, “to God Himself there is something in sin that is not only odious but absurd, something which cannot possibly escape the contempt of higher much less the highest intelligence.”
We see God laughing at the wicked throughout Scripture,
1.) Pharoah decides to kill the Hebrew male issue and God laughs by placing the destroyer of Egypt at Pharoah’s table.
2.) The Philistines capture the Ark of the Covenant and decide to place it in service of Dagon’s temple, only to find first Dagon lying prostrate before the Ark and then subsequent to another effort decapitated and without hands.
3.) The enemies of God kill Christ and God laughs in the Resurrection, Ascension, and judgment coming of Christ in AD 70.God is full of this kind of merriment. The wicked keep Him pealing in laughter. Some would bring a complaint against God’s compassion here insisting that this laughter isn’t very compassionate.
When we consider the issue of compassion and mockery we must keep in mind that compassion is seldom a zero sum game. That is to say that often it is the case that if God were to show compassion to one party He would thereby be showing callousness towards another party.
Compassion thus cannot be considered in a vacuum. Compassion towards a murderer is callousness towards the victim’s family. Compassion for one who is effectively advocating homosexuality as just another life-style is callousness towards those who are being charmed by that argument. Compassion towards egalitarians and feminists who are quite self-conscious about what they are attempting is callousness towards every daughter and every wife who will be hardened and hurt by the culture that the advocates are seeking to build. Just as it is callousness towards every son and every father who will be emasculated and emptied by that same culture. The loathing that is revealed by any mockery reveals a corresponding compassion and love for the opposite of that which is being mocked and lampooned.
So we would ask,
How is it compassionate to the righteous for God to not mock the wicked? How is it compassionate to God Himself to not break out in laughter against the contrivances of the wicked? Would we really suggest this mocking of God mean or full of animosity?
Note, there is no begging of God here for the wicked to come to His Messiah and surrender their hearts. There is no “softly and tenderly Jesus is calling” here. There is only straight up derision for those who would take a stand against the Lord and His anointed.
Pop Christianity doesn’t like that kind of God. But here we find Him described as such
We should keep in mind here the words of Alexander Maclaren here when we consider the terror in the idea of God mocking His enemies,
“To draw rebels to loyalty which is life is the meaning of all appeals to terror.”
And we would add, though if the rebel refuses life terror will indeed be his lot.
C.) There is ridicule found in God’s Words,
5 Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure: 6 “Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion.”
“What a great measure of faith is necessary in order to truly believe this word: For who could have imagined that God laughed as Christ was suffering and the Jews exalting? So, too, when we are opposed, how often do we still believe that those who oppose us are being derided by God, especially since it seems as if we were being oppressed and trodden under foot both by God and men?
… We should … fortify our hearts and look forward toward the invisible things and into the depths of the Word … I also shall laugh with my God.”
Commenting on Psalm 2
1.) We can continue to look forward to this day and pray for its hastening.
This day has not yet arrived. The wicked still plot and scheme. We can pray for their defeat.
2.) We can join in God’s laughter and I would say in God’s mocking. That is another sermon in itself but here I will just note that from Elijah’s mocking God’s enemies on Mt. Carmel, to Amos’ mocking of God’s enemies in his book, to Paul mocking his enemies in the book of Galatians we find the saints of God mocking God’s enemies.
3.) We can praise God that by the work of Christ He has made us who were once His enemies, to be His friends and so no longer an object of His mocking.
4.) We can ask God that He might be so kind as to make His enemies His friends by sending the Spirit to convert.
5.) We can continue to advance the necessity of all men everywhere to repent before the day of the Lord arrives.
6.) We can support with our monies and efforts those organizations that are committed to overthrowing the wicked.