Short Meditations in Psalms: 2.11 Show Respect
Psa 2:11 Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling
Let’s recap where this psalm goes. Verses 1 to 3 spoke about the kings of the earth who reject the Lord and His plans for the salvation of the earth through His anointed one. Verses 4 to 6 reveals the Lord’s response to these kings: He laughs at them, He rebukes them and He declares His response – that He has a king on the earth who puts all of the rest of them in the shade, so to speak. Verses 7 to 9 then reveals this ruler – the Lord’s Son who will be given all these nations to rule and he will rule them with God’s word. Now we come to the final three verses that are warning to give a good and right response, and we saw previously v.10 was a warning to take note of what is being shared in these lines.
Now we come to verse 11 which counsels all who read these lines to bow before the Lord and to serve Him. Where there is a powerful and authoritative rule, the wise citizen is one who respects that ruler and obeys His laws.
But this is much stronger than what might be considered wise counsel for any citizen because there is a hint of a powerful disciplinary response to any who don’t show respect and obedience. This is the Lord, God Almighty we are talking about here, the One who is all-powerful, all-wise, all-knowing, the One who is unlimited in His dealings with the earth. The Bible is full of instances where God moves sovereignly and powerfully to deal with foolish, ungodly and wicked people. Perhaps the greatest example is that of the Lord dealing with the Egyptian pharaoh who resisted Moses’ attempts to have God’s people released from slavery. The ten ‘plagues’ are examples of judgments that start out being simply disciplinary judgments that are unpleasant and designed to get Pharaoh and Egypt to conform to the Lord’s wishes but as Pharaoh steadfastly refuses to comply, the nature of the plagues get harder and harsher. Eventually there was hail which was so strong that anyone who ignored God and stayed outside would have been struck down. That was a disciplinary judgment verging on a terminal judgment. When those first nine ‘plagues’ were ignored by Pharaoh the tenth plague was a limited terminal judgment and every first born son of Egypt died. Later when Pharaoh changed his mind yet again and pursued Israel as the Lord led them across a ‘gap’ in the Red Sea, when Pharaoh followed, the water swept him and his entire army away – an unlimited terminal judgment. The point of the story is that God is sovereign and God is supreme. You do not mess around and abuse this God. Merely because He graciously holds back on His actions sometimes (see 2 Pet 3:9), don’t confuse mercy with weakness!