Much of the so-called praise music that has inundated the modern church is characterized by inane repetition and insipid ideas. Often the words fail to rise above the level of a nursery rhyme and merely express empty emotionalism. Man and his feelings provide the focus for much about which the modern church sings. God’s hymnody is different. Its language represents concrete truths, sets forth substantial doctrine, often expresses a militant spirit, and always truly glorifies God. Such is the case with our text. Having described the futile rebellion of impotent men and God’s derisive response (see Psa. 2:1-5), the psalmist records God’s simple declaration concerning—not what He will do—but what He has already done: “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion” (v. 6).
“Yet.” Several modern translations and various commentators agree that the word yet in the Authorized Version might well be rendered “as for Me.” The word dismisses in one small breath all the rebellion in all the ages of all the haters of God. We recall in Martin Luther’s famous hymn these words regarding Satan: “One little word shall fell him.” So it is with the seemingly endless parade of armies of men opposed to God. Let all hell expend its fury against God and His purposes; let Satan instigate the rage of most of human creation. Arrayed against them is the God of the universe, calmly and quietly declaring: “Yet—as for Me . . . .” And the enemies of God, as the band of soldiers who came to take Christ in Gethsemane, fall down backward in utter helplessness and total defeat.
“Yet have I set.” God ceases laughing and begins speaking, and the tense of the verb He uses is significant. From the perspective of time, Christ has yet to reign, but from the perspective of eternity, God has already placed His Son, the Anointed One, upon the throne. The verb translated as set contains the idea of anointing and suggests the anointing God required for the installation of a king. In other words, God has installed His Son as King, and reign He will.
“My king.” This is no ordinary installation, no ordinary run-of-the-mill king. This King has not been chosen according to “blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). Though John speaks in another context, his words are apt here. This designation announces God’s absolute sovereignty in the choice (man has no say in the matter) and heralds the perfect Deity of the King as well. As “my king,” Christ is identified as one with the Father, God incarnate ruling on earth and over mankind.
“Upon my holy hill of Zion.” The personal pronouns abound: “I have set,” “my King,” “my holy hill.” The King is God’s King, and His seat of authority is upon God’s holy hill of Zion, or the temple mount in Jerusalem. Nations have fought over this city for millennia. But all that warfare will end abruptly. Jerusalem does not belong to the heathen; in the ultimate sense, it does not belong to Israel. It belongs to God, who has deeded it to Israel and who, in the Person of Christ, will banish all unbelievers from Zion, ultimately consigning them to the Lake of Fire. Again, from the human perspective of time, this installation is yet future. But from the eternal perspective of God’s heavenly throne, it is done.
Here is something about which to sing: the fulfillment of many scriptural prophecies, the defeat of sinners, and the manifestation of Christ’s triumph. No weapon that is formed against Christ (or His own) will prosper (Isa. 54:17). Is this a theme of your songs?
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