Psalm Two: Today I Have Begotten You
The first two psalms, as we have observed, function together as a foundation and introduction to the glorious mysteries of the entire psalter; and if the first psalm demonstrates the centrality of Christ, holding him forth at once as the great representative of his people, then how much more may we learn of him from the second psalm, in which we are ushered into the inter-triune council, before the world or time began, to hear the decree whereby the eternal Son of God first solemnly undertook to save us from all our enemies? Oh, sacred mystery! Oh, unutterable grace! Before we intrude any further into this wonder of wonders, let us put off the shoes from our feet, for we have entered upon holy ground.
The psalter is, indeed, as Martin Luther expressed it, a â€œlittle bible,â€ containing in a comfortable manner peculiar to itself all that is necessary to be known for life and godliness; and the second psalm is the fountainhead of the psalter, the great source from which the whole crystal river flows forth; so that, if one were thoroughly familiar with the deep and marvelous truths expressed within this one psalm alone, he would not be far behind the greatest theologians in the history of the Church. The worlds and all that is in them, together with the whole course of history, which God has designed for the eternal salvation of the elect, have all been fashioned and governed from the beginning by the decree of God; and in this psalm we are given that eternal, divine decree which all the world and time exist to bring about.
As we peer into the holy mystery of this psalm, we may see, first of all, that there is a universal opposition to God and his Christ. We are confronted at once with the universal extent of the opposition, which subverts kings and nations, peoples and rulers, to the desperate outworking of futile rage; and even though we so often feel that the enemies of this world are set against us, which indeed in a sense they may be, yet we may here observe that the real object of this universal opposition is nothing less than God and his Christ. There is nothing that could bind together all the warring nations of earth but this one thing, to oppose God and his Son; and the reason for this is that all alike, no matter how different they may be in other respects, always chafe and strain under the bonds of the altogether righteous, just, and (to fallen mankind) utterly unobtainable Law of the holy Judge. But we see as well, from the psalmist's very first word of wondering disbelief, just how foolish this opposition is. God and his Christ will triumph.
The stage is set, and the opposing parties have taken their stand; but the outcome is never in question, for second of all, we may observe that by an eternal and immutable decree, Christ must triumph over all this opposition. The triumph of Christ is as certain as it is reasonable; God laughs in derision at all those who rage against his Christ, and with words of righteous wrath confounds them all. The Christ must triumph, because the eternal and immutable decree of the Father has already gone out, and cannot be revoked. And what is the substance of this decree? That by the resurrection from the dead, God would soon announce to his Christ before all the world, â€œYou are my Son, today I have begotten youâ€.
Oh, how infinitely deep are the mysteries of divine grace! That he who is eternally the Son of God should, of the Holy Spirit, be declared the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:1-4); and that this should be done in order that all who he is in the eternal triune fellowship, he should be for his people! God, having raised him who is Life from the death to which he went for his people, had determined from eternity past to enthrone him as their King, so that he might reign over his elect and beloved Zion forever, to crush all her enemies as a potsherd and shepherd her with everlasting love. Hark, dear Christian, attune your ears to this deep mystery: for you are given a glimpse into the eternal council of God, by which he planned all the revolutions of all the ages, world without end, and what is the substance of the decree? Nothing less than your eternal salvation by the Christ, the Son of God. All that God is, he is for you who are citizens of the spiritual Zion, for God has become yours in his Christ, yours to rule over and defend you, yours to feed you and protect.
Our time flies to an end, so we must hasten to note, third and finally, that this eternal decree demands a response of utter submission and worship. Kiss the Son, O Zion! Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling! We worship whom we fear, and who is there to fear but the Lord, before whose decree all the evil designs of kings and nations are shattered, as little gnats who fling themselves against an immoveable anvil, and cannot budge it a hair's breadth? What can man or the devil, life or death, thrones or principalities, height or depth or any other creature do to overcome you, when Christ is your King? We likewise worship whom we love, and who is there to love but this same Christ, declared the eternal Son of God by the resurrection of the dead, who was crucified for our sins and raised for our justification, who has designed and governs all history for the good of his Zion alone? Let us kiss this Son of our God, and worship before him with joy and trembling, now and always; for eternally â€œblessed are all those who take refuge in himâ€.