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PSALM TWO: A SCORNFUL GOD
by Philip Owen

             That God is not to be trifled with is one clear message of Psalm Two.  That man’s rebellion, whether individual or collective, does not trouble God is a second clear message.  The latter statement does not suggest that God is indifferent to man’s sin, that He will ignore or overlook it; rather, it means that sin does not thwart His sovereign purposes.  Another psalm provides a seminal statement in this regard:  “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee:  the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain” (76:10).  In that inspired observation lies a fixed anchor for believing hearts in times when sin and rejection of God run rampant and seem on the verge of overthrowing the truth.  Our text offers remarkable and unique insight into just how undisturbed God is in the face of man’s rebellion.  Having recorded the universal battle cry of the unregenerate heart against the Lord and His anointed (“Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”), the psalmist opens the door of heaven in order to reveal God’s attitude toward this infantile plan:  “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh:  the Lord shall have them in derision” (v. 4).

            Two actions reveal God’s attitude toward the futile fury of rebellious mankind.  First, He “sitteth in the heavens.”  The translation provided by our text adequately reflects the undisturbed calm of the God who is infinite in peace—nothing disturbs His rest.  But the Hebrew text conveys more than an idea of peace (which, in beings other than God, could result from ignorance, misunderstanding, a false sense of superiority, etc.); the Hebrew might be translated as He who is enthroned.  It is a declaration of undisputed sovereignty, underscored by the fact that He is enthroned “in the heavens.”  A spitball shot at the sun would pose an infinitely greater threat to that body than the rage of all mankind poses against God.  The second action attributed to God is that “He . . . shall laugh.”  The psalmist does not wish us to be misled regarding the nature of that laughter.  God is not amused as in response to a funny joke.  He is not laughing in delight or even in gentle indulgence.  “The Lord shall have them in derision [“scorn”] is the sobering explanation for His laughter.

            Here is a view of God that modern man—including much of Christendom—has lost.  But we must reclaim this view because it is as significant and inextricable a part of His character as is His love.  (Other passages attest the validity of this theme; see, for example, Psa. 37:13; 59:8; and Pro. 1:26.)  Men had better disabuse themselves of the notion of a God who is little more than a kindly, indulgent grandfather who doesn’t notice much of what is going on, excuses a good percentage of what he does notice, and will ultimately ignore the rest if it is problematic.  God is an infinitely holy and just Sovereign, “Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and sin, and will by no means clear [i.e., “leave unpunished”] the guilty” (Ex. 34:7).

            This aspect of God’s character must be factored into our view of who God is and how He deals with man’s sin.  This aspect of God’s character must color our attitude toward sin.  Our text has in view the rebellion of man as represented in the world system directed by Satan, as seen in man’s hateful crucifixion of the Son of God, and as revealed ultimately in the worship of Satan and the Beast during the Tribulation.  But God knows that all rebellion against Him is finally a “vain thing.”  It will not prosper.  We must come God’s way with broken contrite hearts and repentant spirits.  We must bow and humble ourselves before Him in faith or face the scorn of His condign, eternal judgment.

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