Conditions of entry

Chances are - if you’re afraid, you’re afraid of the wrong thing.

In the days when royals ruled, Queen Elizabeth I, was sovereign in Great Britain over 400 years ago. For a brief time, she considered marrying a French Duke - clearly, she had a preference for Mediterranean men - and who could blame her? But one of her subjects wrote to her saying it was not appropriate for the British monarch flirting with the French and the Queen was furious. She summoned the man, asked him which hand he wrote the letter with, and then ordered that his hand be cut off and he was sent to prison for 18 months. Now that is what you call royalty with a kick. These days, Queen Elizabeth II can’t even stop the paparazzi from ruining her holidays. How times have changed! 

Psalm 2 teaches us that those who defy God and his king have no hope in heaven or hell of getting away with it. Psalm 2 contains 4 scenes. Imagine a camera moving from one scene to the next. 

Scene 1: Kings against the King of Kings 

The rulers and nations of the earth are pictured in a plot to overthrow God and his anointed one. Our world is in open rebellion against God: 

Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” ~Psalm 2:1-3 (NIV)

The question is asked - not because he is confused, He is shocked at the sheer stupidity of such a rebellion. Such plans will always come to nothing. They plot in vain and in every attempt to overthrow God, we come off second best. Yet still they rage “against the LORD (God of Israel) and against his Anointed one (the Messiah) ”. The one whom God has given the right to rule the universe forever (2 Samuel 7). 

This is not kingdom versus kingdom or human versus human, but humans versus God. This is the ultimate and highest form of genuine conspiracy, the ultimate problem is not them out there, those anonymous men in closed meetings who operate in the shadows who are pulling strings to gain control, to crush the lives of the average person. This ignores our part in suppressing the truth. When the Times newspaper, asked its readers, “What’s wrong with the world?” GK Chesterton’s simple answer was, “I am!” Psalm 2 speaks of the Worldwide conspiracy that we are all involved in. It began with Adam and Eve by the time you get to the 6th chapter of Genesis,  

… “every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” ~Genesis 6:5 (NIV)

This is complete, thorough, and wilful defiance. I think of a woman who rented out her house as a retirement investment. Her mortgage repayments were high and she had the tenants from hell. First the tenants paid the rent irregularly. Then they stopped paying altogether. It was 4 months before the sheriff was able to remove the tenants.  If that was not bad enough, they trashed the house and they left behind a photo of one tenant staring at the camera and sticking up her middle finger, what my kids used to call “the rude finger”. 

This is what we do to the God who gave us this world to live in. The world has always hated God. That hatred reached its climax when God and man met face to face and Jesus Christ came into the world. Psalm 2 describes the treatment of King David by the nations - it also operates as a prophecy when they plot against Jesus. The apostle Peter draws this link for us he quotes psalm 2 then says  

...for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. ~Acts 4:27-28 (NIV)

Psalm 2 looks forward in time 1000 years as the world takes its stand against God’s anointed. Herod, who “treated him with contempt and mocked him”. Pilate, who gave permission to execute Jesus. The people of Israel who cried out “Crucify him” and the Roman soldiers who pierced and nailed Christ. 

God became one of us so we hunted him down. Given half a chance, man’s first inclination when he meets God face to face is to kill him. What they did to Jesus at the cross is what we in our sins have always been trying to do - to remove God from our lives; break free, once and for all. I demand my independence! 

The U2 song gets it ‘When Love Comes to Town’, I was there when they crucified my Lord I held the scabbard when the soldier drew his sword I threw the dice when they pierced his side But I’ve seen love conquer the great divide. 

There comes a time when you need to come clean, your sins and mine nailed Jesus to the cross. 

Scene 2: God the king 

Now the camera turns to see God’s reaction to the rebellion:

The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” ~Psalm 2:4-6  (NIV)

As we see God’s reaction we learn 3 things.

  1. He is fully enthroned - God is not intimidated, He is totally in charge. 

When I was 11, we had a string of casual teachers at school and more than one of them left the class in tears, never to be seen again but God is not intimidated by our rebellion. When the philosopher Nietzsche declares that “God is dead”, and stand-up comedians make jokes at God’s expense. Do not think that God has lost control or that He is a victim of hate speech. He is not tortured with an inferiority complex. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

  1. He laughs 

What did God do when:

In a nutshell, God laughed. God will always have the last laugh. 

But this is not the laughter of one who enjoys what is happening, He scoffs at the sheer stupidity of mankind. Rebellion is not just wrong, its dumb. Like walking onto a freeway in front of a massive truck going at full speed, and thinking that the truck is going to come off second best - there is simply no contest. God laughs at our futile attempts to defy him. Whenever you’re overwhelmed by what is happening on earth it always pays to lift your eyes from your screen and look up to heaven to see who is enthroned. 

  1. His king is installed 

To his enemies, God is clear “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” In effect, God is saying, “Do what you like to him, he is still the King.” God’s enemies could not get rid of King David or Son of David. You would not normally think of a crucifixion as a mark of victory. 

About 70 years before the time of Jesus, there was a slave rebellion led by Sparticus. They defeated 2 Roman forces,  overran most of southern Italy, and they grew to many thousands.

The Roman army’s fury eventually killed Spartacus and his men and to make the point that Rome would not tolerate such rebellion, 6,000 other slaves were crucified on the Appian Way leading into Rome, for all to see. Their bodies were left on the crosses for months. So, the cross is normally the symbol of crushing defeat but on that first good Friday - the cross became the platform for God’s greatest victory. On the cross the Devil was disarmed, Death was defeated, God’s anger turned away from us onto himself and our forgiveness was fully purchased. 

That is why Jesus’ kingdom will never end. That is why God made sure that above Jesus at the cross were written the words “This is the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:38). Written in 3 languages (Latin, Greek and Hebrew) so all the world would know that God had installed his king on Zion 

Scene 3: God’s anointed king 

Now the camera focuses on the king, God announces his plan for this king: 

I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” ~Psalm 2:7-9  (NIV)

We learn 2 important things about the King. 

  1. Son of God 

Firstly, this king is God`s son. Rebellion against Christ is deeply personal for God, He is his one and only Son, I can relate to that. One day when my daughter was at preschool, my wife found her on the ground with a group of preschool boys kicking her, while the ring leader raised his clenched fist, chanting, “Kill girl, kill girl!” Weren`t those boys lucky I was not around that day. Imagine facing God’s anger after you have defied his Son. Jesus doesn’t become God’s Son when he rises from the dead, but his resurrection makes it obvious to everyone what was hidden at the cross is made public at the resurrection. Christ’s resurrection marks both the defeat of death and it’s a declaration that Jesus is God`s Son. You’re not called to submit to a dead king but to a living Lord. Dead people are not scary, they’re just smelly, but a living Son of God is awfully intimidating. This living King has defeated our ultimate enemy: death. 

  1. Heir to the universe 

God made the entire world for his Son. There is not square metre of this universe where Jesus cant say this is mine and I own it. Understand this, and you understand the meaning of life. The Father invites the Son to ask for the nations who rebel as an inheritance. What belongs to God belongs to his Son, the authority of Jesus is so complete that if any oppose him, he will dash them to pieces like broken pottery. Jesus said don’t fear the one who can kill the body fear the one who can throw the body and the soul into hell.

 As Bob Dylan once wrote: The iron hand it ain’t no match for the iron rod. The strongest wall will crumble and fall to a mighty God. For all those who have eyes and all those who have ears it is only he who can reduce me to tears [...] 

Of every earthly plan that be known to man, he is unconcerned, He’s got plans of his own to set up his throne when he returns. On that day those who rebel will beg God to kill them and they wont be able to die. But God does not want to dash anyone to pieces; He does not delight in the death of a rebel.

Scene 4: Kiss the king 

The last section is a call to all of us who have rebelled to be wise, to be warned, and to serve the Lord, to give up and take refuge in him. 

Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. ~Psalm 2:10-12  (NIV)

Kiss the Son or kiss heaven goodbye! When you kiss a king, it’s a sign of submission, it’s a mark of surrender, this kind of kiss says, “I want peace with God’s king on God’s terms”. 

In the film, The Devil’s Own, Brad Pitt plays an IRA terrorist, he says about the British “They say the word ‘peace’, but … all they want is surrender” 

God is saying with me and my son PEACE and SURRENDER must go together. Peace can only come if we surrender to his Son. We all have a choice to make, but what choice is it when the options are so clear? 

A ministry trainee at church once explained the rule of Jesus to two Iranian doctors who had spent 8 years studying medicine in Russia. On hearing of Jesus’ authority, they immediately wanted to become Christians. Surprised by their quick reaction, the trainee asked them, “Are you sure? Do you want time to think about it?” They responded, “We have no choice!” Do you see Jesus with such clarity? 

Accepting Jesus as Lord is motivated by many things. 

Psalm 2, is so clearly fulfilled in Jesus, what most Christians don’t know is that it also applies to us who submit to him. To the church in Laodicea he says: 

“The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” ~Revelation 3:21 (NIV)

In a surprising twist, we in Christ get to share in the inheritance and rule of Christ. This is why God allows us to call Jesus our brother and not just our Lord. This is why we are deemed to be co-heirs with Christ. This is why we are told that the meek will inherit the earth, not this earth, but the new heavens and the new earth. 

What is the difference between Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon, and the average Christian? Apart from 177 billion dollars, Mr Bezos dreams are too small. He may one day get you to the moon but in Christ you co-own the universe. We Christians are insatiable dreamers, we refuse to be satisfied with nothing less than everything. 

We rightly want it all.  Jesus has it all. If we kiss the Son,we get it all - to the glory of God! When we understand this, we will not treat our jobs as if they were careers, our houses as if they were palaces, and our lover as if they were god. 

Kiss the Son, or kiss it all goodbye. 

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