By Henry Mahan
The subject of this Psalm is the establishment of David upon the throne of Israel, notwithstanding the opposition by his enemies.
But the eye of faith shall clearly see that this is 'The Psalm of Messiah the King;' and it sets forth the rage of the wicked against the Lord's anointed, the purpose of God to exalt his own Son, and the ultimate reign of Christ over all his enemies. The Psalm, is best understood under these four heads.
1. An evil conspiracy of demons and men to reject the rule of God.
vv. 1-3. 'We will be our own god! We will rid ourselves of all restraint and be free to commit all manner of abomination.' What a vain and foolish thing!
Yet Satan tried it (Isa. 14:12-15). 'O son of the morning, 0 day star how has mischief entered thine heart,' to rid thyself of God. What a vain and empty scheme!
And Adam tried it (Gen. 3:5-6). This was the first man's sin. 'We will be gods ourselves,' thereby rejecting the reign and rule of the Lord God.
Men tried it at Calvary (Acts 4:25-28). 'We will not have this man reign over us. We have no king but Caesar. Crucify him!' The conspiracy, led by the antichrist Satan, continues today from pulpit and pew to deny and destroy the sovereign Christ (2 Cor. 11:3-4, 13-15) and enthrone the human will. 'The will of God must wait upon the will of the creature. 'God wills to save,'
they say, 'and wants to enthrone and exalt Christ; but he has done all that he can do and must depend on the cooperation of man to realize his purpose.' How vain and foolish this is, in the light of the Holy Scriptures (Exo. 33:18-19; Psalm 135:5-6; Isa. 46:9-11; Eph. 1:5,11). Salvation and eternal life depend solely on the will of God, not the will of men (John 1:11-13; Rom. 9:15- 16; James 1:18; John 5:40; Psalm 110:3). Our God is God and King over creation, providence, and salvation; and all of the organized efforts of foolish, religious men will not alter that fact (John 6: 37-39; Rom. 8:28-31).
2. The Lord God shall mock his enemies.
vv. 4-6. 'He that sitteth in the heavens.' The Lord God is not alarmed over the tumult and mutiny of the earth. He sitteth (his purpose and work completed through his own obedience and death) in the heavens (on a throne of absolute sovereignty) and laughs. Mark the quiet dignity of the omnipotent God. He does not take the trouble to rise up and do battle with the raging people. He laughs! How absurd, how irrational, how futile are the claims and boastings of weak and frail creatures against him!
'Then (in his own good time) shall he speak.' He doesn't have to lift his hand nor move from his throne. He only has to speak. He does not speak in compromise nor cooperation but in wrath. Despite your ambitions, despite the wisdom of your counsels, despite the malice of your hearts, and despite the unanimous opinion of all earth and hell, 'I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.' Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. All things are delivered into his hands. All power over all flesh is his. All authority is given unto him in heaven and earth.
The Son quickeneth whom he will. He shall not fail, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands. God's appointed is appointed and shall not be disappointed! (Phil. 2:9-1l). You may rage, you may resolve, you may take counsel, and you may boast of the power of your will; but Jesus Christ is King by decree, by design, and by death. God's will shall be done (Dan. 4:34-35).
3. The Son himself proclaims the decree.
vv. 7-9. We have looked at the counsel of the wicked and heard their raving and boasting. We have looked to the throne of God and observed his infinite power, wisdom, and unperturbed counsel and decree. 'I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.' Now Christ, the anointed, risen Redeemer, himself, comes forward and says, 'I will declare the decree.'
'The Lord said unto me, thou art my son: this day have I begotten thee.' He is the true, proper, eternal, and only begotten Son of God, declared, owned, and acknowledged by Jehovah, the Father (Heb. 1:3-5). 'This day,' refers to eternity, which is one continuous day, an everlasting now (Isa. 43:11-13).
'Ask of me and I shall give thee.' It was the custom of great kings to give to favored ones whatever they might ask, so the Lord Jesus has but to ask and have. God, the Father, has promised to uphold our blessed Surety and Substitute in all his conflicts (Isa. 42:1); yet he prayed for his own (John 17). A seed is promised to him and victory over his enemies; yet, for both he prayed.
'I will give thee the heathen (God's elect among the Gentiles) for thy kingdom,' and thy kingdom shall be to the uttermost parts of the earth (Rev. 5:9-10). The stubborn and rebellious, who will not have Christ to reign nor bow to his crown rights, shall he crush and destroy.
4. Advice is given to all to yield worship and obedience to the Lord's anointed.
vv. 10-12. 'Be wise, be instructed.' It is always wise to be willing to be taught, especially when the Lord speaks and his instructions relate to his glory and the salvation of our very souls. 'Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.' Let reverence and humility be mingled with your service that you be not presumptuous, for Christ is a great God and we are puny creatures. But God mingles rejoicing with fear that obedience may not be slavish. 'Kiss the Son,' in love, faith, and submission. Put aside all doubt, resistance, and rebellion and embrace him as Lord and King. They are blessed who put their trust in him.