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TEXT: Psalm 2
SUBJECT: Resistance is Futile!
'Resistance is futile!'
This is one of the best-known lines in a Star Trek movie, and the message of Psalm 2. The Psalm is full of conflict: nations are raging, peoples are plotting, kings and captains are drawing up plans for war.
It's all a waste of time. Their plots may be ingenious, their arms modern, and their soldiers brave and battle-tested, but the war is lost before the first shot is fired. There is no victory against the Lord and against His Anointed.
The Lord's Anointed is David, the king of Israel. 'Anointed' means chosen and consecrated to a special work. It was God Himself who chose David to be king, and this was a very great surprise because Israel already had a king, Saul the son of Kish, and if anyone ever looked like a natural-born leader, it was he. He was half-a-foot taller than anyone in Israel, and his voice struck terror in the hearts of men.
What David looked like was a sun-burned boy, and he smelled like a sheep! But God does not depend on outward appearances. He has always preferred-
The weak things of the world
To bring to nothing the things
That are mighty.
So that whoever glories [must]
Glory in the Lord.
When King Saul broke with the Lord, the Lord broke with him. Samuel the prophet was sent to Bethlehem, to the home of a man named Jesse, the proud father of eight sons. It was there-the Lord told Samuel-he would find the True King. The first son brought to him was Eliab, a man who reminded the prophet of Saul. Surely-he said to himself-this is the Lord's Anointed. He wasn't. Neither was Abinadab, the next brother, or Shammah, the one after him. Four more came by, too, and it seemed the prophet had gotten the address wrong.
Are there no more sons in your family? Well, there is the baby, but he's fit for nothing but watching the sheep. Bring him in. When he got there, the Lord told Samuel, 'That's the man I'm looking for'.
After dinner, the prophet took out a vial of oil-perhaps it was the sacred oil used only in the Tabernacle-and he poured it over the young man's head. With the oil came God's Spirit, who, that day, called and fitted David to command victories for Jacob!
Though anointed king that day, he did not gain the throne for more than fifteen years. But during these hard and dangerous times, he did the work of a king. While King Saul and his 'mighty men' messed their pants every time Goliath came out to defy, David took up the challenge, and cut down the Giant in the name of the God of Israel whose armies he had defied!
Later he was given charge of a battalion, and while Saul killed his thousands-
David killed his
Tens of thousands.
Fearing David's popularity, the king offered him his daughter in marriage. This sounds like a good deal to us, but remember, men had to pay for their wives back in the day, and how would a poor man pay a royal dowry? Not to worry-Saul said-'All I want is a hundred Philistine foreskins' (assuming David would die in the attempt). But David didn't die, it was the Philistines who fell, and just to be sure he didn't miscount his victims, he brought 200 foreskins to the king!
Later he was banished from Israel, but even then-as an exile-he fought the Lord's battles, stamping out their enemies in the remote parts of Judah.
When Saul fell to the Philistines at Gilboa, David took his rightful place in Israel, and for forty years he warred in the name of God, and never lost a battle. He was an invincible king, but not because he was stronger or smarter or more charismatic than other kings, but because he was God's King!
Celebrated his whole adult life, David remained self-aware and modest. From the day he cut down Goliath to the day he took the huge crown from the king of Rabbah, to the day of his death, David gave all his military success to God-
Blessed be the Lord my Rock,
Who trains my hands for war,
And my fingers for battle-
My lovingkindness and my fortress,
My high tower and my deliverer,
My shield and the One in whom I take
Who subdues my people under me.
The Anointed of the Lord is invincible because the Lord is invincible! This is why the kings and nations and people and leaders ought to have put their time and money and energy into something more productive than fighting the king of Israel and his King, the Lord of Hosts!
The Psalm opens with an impressive array of enemies. The men opposing David and the Lord are not a handful of milquetoast malcontents muttering their complaints around the dinner table. Their not Shemeis, loud mouths, cussing at the king and throwing dirt clods. No, they're scary mean, kings and military leaders, and they're not caught off guard; no, they're forming alliances and devising strategies and arming their men to the teeth. They're motivated as well, moved by a bitter and extreme hatred of David and the Lord! They're like mad dogs foaming at the mouths in their rage.
Their plan is tightly focussed-
Let us break their bonds in pieces,
And cast their cords from us.
Though David's rule is just and merciful, they've had enough of it! They want to seize power for themselves, and have their own way, return to the cruel and hateful ways of the past.
Looking at their numbers and plans and resolution dismay us, but in Heaven, God smirks at their puny and pathetic efforts to break His kingdom-
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
Why is the Lord so dismissive of their efforts to dethrone His king? Because it cannot be done! All the malign powers of Earth and Hell cannot undo the decree-
Yet I have set my King
On my holy hill of Zion!
David has chosen his capital well. Jerusalem is a natural fortress; before he took it from the Jebusites, it was thought un-takeable. And now it is. Because-
The angel of the Lord encamps
All around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.
As long as the king fears the Lord, the city is safe. And the king will never cease to fear Him! To break through the walls of Zion you've got to break through a wall of angels first. And all the armies of earth and devils of hell cannot do that!
No wonder God laughs at His enemies! They're children playing war with plastic toys against the Sword of the Lord.
The relationship between the Lord and the king is very close, like father and son. As long as the king is God's son, he will be protected from his enemies, and more than 'protected' from them, God will make him their master. Thinking they will tear David's inheritance away from him, the kings and their countries become part of it. The man who starts with a relatively small kingdom finally receives-
The ends of the earth for His
The enemies of God and his king have no hope for victory. If they keep on opposing the king they will lose the war and die a fool's death.
If God and the king loved death, this is would be their end, for sure. But they don't love death; they prefer life. And so, in vv.10-12, God holds out an olive branch. He gives them one last chance. Lay down your weapons, serve the Lord, love the king, and trust them. When you do this, you won't be their miserable slaves. You'll be blessed, happy, content, and well cared for, because the paradoxical line of the Prayer Book is true. Speaking of God, it says-
Whose service is perfect freedom.
You may wonder how all this ancient history applies to us. We're not kings plotting against David, and why should we? He's been dead three thousand years!
But, even though the situation of Psalm 2 spoke of David and his military enemies at the time, it is not limited to them. If it were, why would it have found a permanent place in the Psalter, and why would it be quoted in the New Testament?
The fact is, the world is still angry with God and His King. We're mad at them for the same reason the Philistines were mad at the God of Israel and its king. Because they didn't accept their rule; they wanted to do things their own way instead of God's way.
For a very long time, God let them have their way. Paul says He winked at their ignorance. He let things slide for the most part. But when a king is in place, ignoring his wishes and 'doing your own thing' are no longer innocent, and will not be tolerated!
There's that haunting line in the Book of Judges-
In those days, there was no king in Israel,
And every man did what was right in his own eyes.
Read the Book, and you'll see where this 'freedom' got them. Nothing but chaos, idolatry, crime, perversion, the things we read about in the paper every day, but first in the Bible.
David was put on the throne to put an end to all this. But try as he may, he couldn't quite do it. He did much to suppress evil and support good. But, being a mere man, he couldn't change hearts, and until they're changed, good will never be deep or permanent.
Psalm 2, therefore, does not describe the ideal of God's Rule on earth, but a mere shadow of His Kingdom. You see, good as he was, David wasn't good enough. A just and loving world demands a better king that he.
That King has come! Jesus of Nazareth, Matthew tells us, is, The Son of Abraham and the Son of David. The latter means He's the King, and-just to make sure we 'get the message', Luke adds, this son of Abraham and son of David is also, the Son of God. By nature, He is the Son of God from eternity, and as sovereign as the Father and Spirit.
But, in time, God made Him King with a coronation that makes the most exalted human ceremonies look pale by comparison. Three days after He died on the cross, God raised Jesus from the Dead, and, a few weeks later, He ascended to David's throne, in Heaven. Where He remains, till all His enemies become His footstool.
The Bible nowhere invites you to 'make Jesus the Lord of your life'. It simply announces He is the Lord-yours, mine, the Muslim's, the Atheists, the devil's-Lord of all without exception.
The only question that remains, therefore, is whether you're honoring your King or not. With obedience, with respect, with trust, and-best of all-with joy.
'Resistance is futile'. People smarter and stronger and more stubborn than you have tried to resist His will, but they have all failed. Victory over sin, suffering, and death belong to King Jesus. And to all who put their trust in Him.
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