Psalm 2: God is great! (and good)

How often do you turn to Psalm 2 for comfort?  For me the answer is never.  Oh I read it whenever I am going through the Psalms in sequence.  But choose it as a tool for devotion? Praise?  Thanksgiving?  Help? Nope.

Hmmm.  That says more about me and my circumstances than the value of this piece of Scripture.  The early church used this Psalm spontaneously during a time of trouble (Acts 4:23-31).  Their leaders had been arrested, intimidated, threatened, and finally released.  How were they to respond?  Psalm 2 stirred them to praise, prayer, and bold action.  I guess if you have enemies and they are acting up, you need this Psalm.

I wonder if we may be coming up on times that will cause us to need it, too.  This week began with the ten year anniversary of 9/11 and the attacks on our country.  That event alone reminds us that our nation has enemies.  Other events may remind you that you have personal enemies.  This Psalm shows how God relates to his enemies.  Of course,  his enemies are our enemies, if we have become his friends through faith in Jesus.  There’s food for thought in this Psalm.  Let’s dig in together.

Study Questions:

1. First, read to hear the author’s voice.

  • Read Acts 4:24-25.  Who is the author of this Psalm?  Do you see that there are two voices speaking every verse of Scripture?
  • Divide the Psalm into four 3-verse sections.  For each section write down who is speaking, to whom are they speaking, and what are they saying?
  • Is the question”why” (v. 1) answered?  Is it meant to be answered?
  • Why might David have written this psalm?  What were some of the nations and kings he might have had in mind (see 2 Samuel 10)?
  • How does the Psalm end?  What is inevitable in the psalm and what is still open to choice?  How does this last phrase show that God is not just great but good?

2. Second, read to hear Jesus’ voice.

  • As Jesus recited this Psalm during his earthly life, what enemies might he have had in mind?
  • How might this Psalm (especially vv. 4-7) have helped Jesus in the wilderness, when Satan tempted him by offering to give him the kingdoms of the earth (Matthew 4:8-10)?
  • When during Jesus’ life did he hear the Father echo the words of v. 6, “You are my Son”?
  • Jesus taught us to pray for the kingdom to come.  According to Psalm 2:8 where does this prayer originate?

3. Third, read to hear your own voice.

  • Who are the bad guys in your life?  Who opposes you or intimidates or threatens you?
  • How does this Psalm give you confidence in God?  courage?  hope?
  • Read Acts 4:23-31 to see how the early church used this Psalm.  What is God stirring you to pray for?
  • Acts 4:31 shows the results of their prayer–the Spirit’s filling and bold speech.  How does this strengthen your faith in God today?

Take away. My take away from Psalm 1 was meditation.  That Psalm showed me its value and removed the burden of guilt I feel for past failure.  Only one Man perfectly meditates on the law of the LORD day and night.  Through faith in him, I share his perfect record.  This frees me to keep taking little steps along the path of meditating on the word.

Let’s practice on Psalm 2.  Bite off a bit of this Psalm and carry it with you all day, even all week.  Chew on it.  Mutter it to yourself.  Ponder each word.  Talk to the Lord about how it applies to your life today.  And see if it doesn’t turn into a prayer.

If you get a minute, share it with us.

6 comments on “Psalm 2: God is great! (and good)

  1. Lissa says:

    This study on Psalm has been so sweet and so wonderful. For many reasons but 2 are that I don’t know that I had ever before when reading psalms spent so much time reflecting on the author and his intent and reasons for writing it. And Jesus, seeing him in it and how he used it in his life. This is so wonderful and new and I love how deep it beckons me to get into it.

    With that said, I was really chewing on 2:12 “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” And as I was pondering it a couple things drew out from it. 1. Taking refuge is going to him as our shelter. But that requires a active part on my end of going to take refuge in him. Yes the storm may still be around me but I can take cover in him as my shelter. I can praise him and thank him and ask him for help and he will bless that..
    2. I was thinking about David and how in this storm of nations raging against him as Gods appointed king how he did just that, he went to him and he took his Lord as his shelter and victory was seen as we read in 2 Samuel 10. But then in the very next chapter, 2 Samuel 11, David falls from that place of shelter and flees to the well known sin with Bathsheba. And I just kept thinking how can that be, he just experienced great victory and now this? But I recognized it in my own life that it is easier to run to him when there is maybe a threat against the physical body and it is plainly seen, taking Shelter in him then comes more natural. But when things seem ok and life is fine and steady, yet always our spiritual body is in need of renewing, less likely do I turn and take refuge in him. It made me praise him for his kindness that he says Blessed are all who take refuge in him and he wants us take refuge, take shelter, take comfort in him DAILY, no matter what turmoil is going or no turmoil.
    He wants us, all of us, on the good days, the bad days, everyday because he knows that He is that stream of water that we are planted by and that only he can give us daily life, daily strength and food!!!
    What a kind and awesome God!!!!

  2. rondi says:

    I love this, Lissa. I am going to take your thought #2 to heart, taking refuge in times of prosperity as well as adversity, because the danger is invisible but just as real. Thank you for sharing your meditation.

    • Nichole says:

      Maybe this seems besides the point to focus on but I just have always been confused on how to take in reading about God’s anger against David’s enemies and not wonder: what does this mean for me? Am I supposed to take comfort in God dashing my enemies to pieces? Maybe I would if my life was threatened. But is this ok? Or do I just read this as a way of David expressing himself and not necessarily what God wants us to take comfort in. Sorry to be so straight forward with this, but I think I may have a hard time reading through all the Psalms if I don’t figure this this one out. Come on Meredith, get out those commentaries for me 🙂

      • rondi says:

        Not beside the point at all, Nichole, but an important question to address. Otherwise we may decide to ignore all of the expressions of judgment in the Psalms or apply them as an excuse to be ticked off with people!

        First, I think we all need to grow in understanding God’s righteous anger against his enemies and his coming future triumph. I think we taste it when someone casually curses Jesus, and it stings us. We want to defend him. We feel the offense against him, and how wrong it is. Someday all dishonor towards God will end because of his final victory. It will feel right when his remaining enemies are crushed.

        But second, this makes us amazed at grace, because instead of crushing his enemies, God first crushed his son. The Son spoken of in Psalm 2, the “begotten” was sent into the world to save it, because of God’s great love. (John 3:16). Judgment will come, but not yet. John 12:47 “If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” The gospel changes how we relate to our enemies (and to God’s.) Our first response is to pray and act for their conversion. Even the goal of Psalm 2 is to warn the nations so they will repent and believe before they are crushed. So the severity is put to gospel purpose.

        I hope that helps. Others please weigh in. Quotes from your book, Meredith?

        • Lissa says:

          That is a great question! And it really is an amazing thing to think about the righteous anger of God and his holy love! What an amazing God we have. And I am so thankful that He changed me to desire to love and want him or would be right next to those against and opposed to him!! Thank you!!!

  3. Meredith says:

    Great question Nichole! I’m just checking in now – my snooze button has gotten the better of me these last few days! I would highly recommend the book “The Holiness of God” by RC Sproul. I have a copy if you want to borrow it. The entire book is dedicated to understanding God’s wrath and His holiness and His love. Great meaty book!

    I’ve only had a few mornings out of this week that weren’t spent under my covers, but the days I’ve read Psalm 2, I can’t seem to move on from verse 8 – “Ask of Me…” For me that is just such an awesome and personal invitation to go to God – at all times. Like Lissa said we (like David) can go to God when we are facing the enemy, and then how awesome that we can go to God when we ARE the enemy, and need forgiveness for our sins. How amazing a privilege to “Ask of Me!” no matter what!