Vain is the attempt to oppose the Lord and His appointed king, as we have seen thus far in our study of Psalm 2. Any attempt to overthrow God’s rightful rule can only end in failure (vv. 1–3). Moreover, striving against the Creator is futile to the point of being ridiculous. When God sees people plot against Him and His “Anointed,” He responds with a hearty laugh (v. 4). God’s laugh, however, is not merely an expression of derision, but the prelude to His wrath. Those who will not give up their revolt against Him will be rebuked in His anger and will feel the terror of His wrathful judgment (v. 5).
It is the Lord Himself who has installed the king, and He has given the king a decree (vv. 6–7). The immediate reference in these verses is to the Davidic ruler in ancient Israel, particularly David himself, who was chosen by God for the monarchy (1 Sam. 16:1–13) and given the honor of speaking God’s revelation. It is no accident that David, one of the men who most typified Christ under the old covenant, penned a large portion of the book of Psalms. David’s greatest son—who is also God’s Son, Jesus Christ—would likewise proclaim God’s revelation, preaching the gospel of the kingdom wherever He went (Matt. 4:23).
The specific decree that the Davidic king issues in Psalm 2 focuses on the establishment of his kingdom. He is to declare to the world that he has been enthroned as king over the nations. All the kingdoms of this world must bow to the Davidic king because he has been set over them by none other than God Himself. In fact, this king is God’s “Son,” harking back to the promise of the Davidic covenant that the Lord would be father to David and his line in a special way (Ps. 2:7–9; see 2 Sam. 7:1–17). Because God has set this king on the throne and has chosen to speak through him, there can be no excuse if one chooses not to honor this king and serve the Lord. We are called to “kiss the Son” lest we perish, but if we show due honor, we will experience the blessing that comes from taking refuge in Him (Ps. 2:10–12).
Ultimately, this psalm is about Christ, the greatest descendant of David according to the flesh, who was revealed in His resurrection to be God’s Son, coequal to the Creator in power and glory (Rom. 1:1–4). Psalm 2 shatters the popular view of “gentle Jesus, meek and mild,” for while our Lord is gentle to His people, He will pour out His wrath on all who rebel against Him. To delay bowing the knee to Christ is to put oneself under the threat of His eternal judgment, for His merciful offer of salvation does not extend past our deaths.