Short Meditations in Psalms: 2.2 Rebellion against God
Psa 2:2 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One
The second verse takes away any ambiguity there might have been in the meaning of verse 1. The conspiring and plotting is not only against each other – and the history of Israel in the Old Testament reveals this so clearly – but it is also against God and “His Anointed One”.
Now before we focus on the kings of the earth we need to take note of that title ‘Anointed One’. Whenever there was someone anointed in the Old Testament period, it was for a task. They would be anointed with oil as a picture of being anointed with the Holy Spirit to enable them to perform their God-given task, whether it was to rule or to preside in the Tabernacle or Temple. When it speaks of God’s Anointed One it implies that God has got a coming one who is coming to perform a task that the Godhead has decided upon. Now in retrospect we know that the Anointed or ‘Sent One’ was Jesus who, the New Testament reveals, had existed in eternity with the Father and who would come at a prearranged time to provide salvation for the world.
So this reference to the Lord’s ‘Anointed One’ reveals that these kings and rulers don’t only stand against God generally, but also specifically against the Lord’s plans to redeem His world. But note that this isn’t merely individual kings but rulers who ‘gather together’ against the Lord and His plans for His world. There is a collaboration of sinful men to gather together in rebellion against God. On the one side is God who desires peace for his world, and on the other side, as we saw in the previous meditation, there are those who scheme and plot, exercising their self-centered godlessness in the form of bullying weaker nations and even overrunning them and making them subservient. International self-centeredness is a common thing and you only have to look at nations in central and eastern Europe to see that such ‘nationalism’ still threatens world peace.
But note also the purposeful resolve there is in their activity: they “take their stand” against the Lord. This conveys the picture in olden days of two armies confronting each other and one of them takes its stand against the other – they settle into the position they have, perhaps on a hillside, or they dig in. They purposefully take action to hold on to the ground they have. These godless kings, these self-centered rulers, are determined to be proud and arrogant, disregarding anything they learn about God as they watch the affairs of Israel. As Isaiah wrote, “Though grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness;” (Isa 26:10) Their hearts are hard against the Lord and will not learn from His love and grace.