Summary: Man's only way to deal with his rebellion against God is to embrace the Son.
In Acts chapter 4, David is identified as the author of Psalm 2, the passage which we’ll be studying together this morning. But the opening words of that Psalm that he penned in Israel approximately 3,000 years ago could just as easily be written in the United States in the 21st Century AD.
In the Hebrew, Psalm 2 consists of four verses of three lines each, with an equal number of words in each verse. And it is the opening verse that reflects the overwhelming attitude of our culture today. So go ahead and open your Bibles to Psalm 2 and follow along as I read just the opening verse of this Hebrew poem which comprises the first three verses in our English Bibles:
Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”
Psalm 2:1-3 (ESV)
As we’ll see this morning as we progress through this Psalm, there are four voices that speak in the four verses. In this opening verse, it is the voice of the world that speaks. The Psalmist uses two different pictures to identify this group. First, he identifies them as “nations”, using the Hebrew word that is normally used to identify non-Hebrews. Then, using the parallelism that is the common feature of Hebrew poetry, he also identifies them as “people”. The Hebrew word used there is a word that literally means a “community” or a “gathering”, so it could refer to both Hebrews and non-Hebrews.
Man’s Rebellion (vv. 1-3)
And the message that is expressed by these people of the world is unmistakable. They are rebelling against God and His Anointed, with their leaders plotting together to throw off what they view as the bonds and cords with which God has saddled them. I can’t think of a more accurate picture of our culture today than the one painted by these words. Let me give you just one example to illustrate:
God’s Word is clear that His design for the family is one man married to one woman for as long as they both shall live and that together the father and mother are to raise their children. But as a culture, we have determined that standard to be too restrictive, so we’ve “burst the bonds” and “cast away the cords” that God has established.
One recent study [http://www.stateofourunions.org/] found that between 1960 and 2010, the number of unmarried couples living together grew seventeen-fold to over 7.7 million couples. More than 60% of all first marriages are now preceded by living together. As a result, slightly more than 40% of all children will spend some time in a cohabiting household during their childhood years.
Nearly half of all marriages in this country end in divorce.
Five states and the District of Columbia now allow homosexual couples to legally marry and a number of other states, including Arizona, either provide for civil unions or domestic partnerships or offer medical and other benefits to same-sex partners.
In the United States, more than 4 in every 10 babies are now born to an unwed mother. In the black community the number is more than 7 in 10. Only 66% of children under the age of 18 live in a household with two married parents. In the black community that number is only 35%.
These practices have always been around, but in our culture today it has actually become fashionable to openly rebel against the clear teaching of Scripture, especially among the Hollywood elite. And more and more our governmental leaders are making laws that actually promote and make this rebellion legal.
Unfortunately, as a culture we have reaped what we have sown by violating God’s commands. Only about 45% of cohabitating couples ever marry and among those who do, they are 50% more likely to get divorced than those who do not live together before marriage. And their children tend to have a worse life than those growing up with married couples. They are three times more likely to be expelled from school or to get pregnant as a teenager, five times more likely to live in poverty, ten times more likely to be sexually abused and 22 times more likely to be incarcerated
What these people have learned the hard way is that God has not given us His commands as a way to punish us or to somehow deprive us of enjoyment, but rather to protect us and to give us the opportunity to experience lasting joy in our lives.
Unfortunately, the church is not immune to this cultural rebellion against God. Astonishingly, many local churches and even entire denominations that claim to love God and follow Jesus have adopted policies and practices that promote such rebellion. But as we see in this Psalm, all such plotting, regardless of where it comes from, is in vain. We’ll see why as we examine the rest of the Psalm