Daily Psalms – Psalm 2

Before you read this psalm in your Bible, first read 2 Samuel 7, and then turn over to Psalm 2.

Psalm 2 has no designation at the beginning of authorship as many of the psalms do, but Acts 4:25 tells us that David is the author.

Psalm 2 is a call for those who do not follow Yahweh to submit to Him, serving Him only. David also speaks of God’s “anointed” (lit. messiah) who is also His “son” who will rule over all the nations and punish those who stand against Him.

By reading this messianic psalm you can easily see why many felt like the Messiah would simply be an earthly ruler. Considering David’s life, there was a very practical earthly application to this psalm. David’s son (Solomon) would be anointed (as would every earthly king descended from David) and would face opposition as he came to the throne. David’s reign as king was full of opposition from earthly kings. Again, a very clear earthly reason for its writing.

But the eternal promise from God to David carries the application of this Psalm forward to future kings.

Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.

2 Samuel 7:16 NIV

This psalm is a reflection on the promise of God in 2 Samuel 7 to establish the eternal throne of David, and therefore extends to the kingly descendants of David, including Jesus.

Peter and the early persecuted disciples saw this psalm as applying to Jesus’ suffering at the hands of Pilate and the leaders of Israel (Acts 4:23-31).

Paul saw this psalm as being central to the message of the Gospel.

“We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm:

“‘You are my son;
    today I have become your father.’”

Acts 13:32-33 NIV

The writer of Hebrews also uses this psalm to show that Jesus is greater than the angels (1:5) and that it is God who appointed Jesus as our ultimate high priest (5:5).

Our encouragement from Psalm 2 today is that our God is over all the nations, and the entire earth is his. He will rule through his Son, the promised Messiah, to bring about justice on the earth. But we must submit and worship His Son. Refusing to do so leads to our destruction. As David reminds us:

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Psalm 2:12b NIV

My encouragement to you is to spend some time in the Psalms. They are the story of God’s relationship with his people, and point forward to the coming of the Messiah. The New Testament writers saw the Psalms as essential to understanding the life, ministry, and reign of Jesus. Shouldn’t we as well?

Whatever It Costs, It’s Worth It!

Our Immerse reading is almost complete! Week 7 covers Hebrews, James, & John. Today I want to focus on Hebrews. The anonymous writer basically sends a written sermon to Jewish believers who had confessed Jesus as the Messiah, and were now facing great persecution for their belief. Instead of giving up and turning back to Judaism, the Hebrew writer encourages these believers to continue in their faith, and does show by showing how much greater (superior) Jesus is than anything, or anyone else! Here are some of the examples the Hebrew writer gives:

  • God now communicates to the world through Jesus (1:1-4)
  • Jesus is greater than Angels (1:5-14)
  • Jesus suffered just like you, and will help you! (Chapter 2)
  • Jesus is greater than Moses (3:1-6)
  • In Jesus we find the ultimate Sabbath Rest (4:1-13)
  • Jesus is the greatest high priest (4:14-7:28)
  • Jesus established a better covenant relationship for us (8:1-9:28)
  • Jesus is the greatest, eternal sacrifice (10:1-18)

In between these sections of comparison are encouragements to these persecuted Jewish Christians to keep their faith, and persevere even though it’s difficult to do so. And then the book comes to the main argument in chapters 11 & 12: Continue in your faith and run the race Jesus has set before you!

“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.”

Hebrews 11:1-2 NLT

According to the Hebrew writer, faith requires verbs! Action is a must! Faith isn’t something that just happens between the ears, it’s lived out. All of chapter 11 are examples of Biblical characters that were commended for acting on their faith. This is written to a group of Jewish Christians who would be persecuted for acting on their faith, and the Hebrew writer calls them to go full steam ahead! Don’t back down, don’t hide, live out your faith! RUN THE RACE! And we find our strength to run by considering what Jesus did for us!

“Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.”

Hebrews 12:3-4 NLT

In our sermon this week we’ll be looking at Mark 8 & 9 where Jesus reminds us that if we are to follow him, we must DENY ourselves, CARRY our crosses, and FOLLOW him (Mk. 8:34). Notice the VERBS?

Following Jesus isn’t easy. It isn’t always comfortable. As a matter of fact it may very well cost you your life. BUT IT’S WORTH IT! 

Whatever you are going through this week, live out your faith. Deny yourself, carry your cross, and follow him. Whatever it costs you, it will be worth it to be His disciple!

True Faith

Hebrews 11:1-2 (NIV) – Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for.

Letʼs break this verse down for a moment. What is faith according to the Hebrew writer? Itʼs being sure! Thatʼs the NIV translation, but other translations render the word as “assurance” or “confidence.” The actual Greek word means “firm trust, steadfastness of mind, firm foundation!” Itʼs not a brief fleeting thought, itʼs not a doubt filled state of mind! Itʼs being sure!

Ok great…sure of what? Once again, according to the Hebrew writer, its being sure of what we hope for. So as a follower of Christ, what do we hope for? We hope for Godʼs promises to be fulfilled…or in other words, we hope for God to do what he says he will do. Now, the word hope here doesnʼt have the same meaning as we often think. Itʼs not a wish like hoping the Texas Rangers actually win the World Series this year…itʼs not that at all!  Strongʼs Greek Definition of the word means “to wait for salvation with joy and full confidence…hopefully to trust in.” Hereʼs the mention of full confidence again! “Being sure of what we hope for” is having a full confidence that God will do what He says He will do! FULL CONFIDENCE!

And let us not forget the last part of verse 1, “certain of what we do not see.” The definition, again from Strongʼs Greek Definitions for the word “certain” is “a proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested…a conviction.” So if I were to paraphrase this verse, using the definitions of the words in Hebrews 11:1-2, to summarize what weʼve just covered, then the definition of faith would be something like this:

“Now faith is being sure and having a firm trust and confidence of the salvation that we hope for, with joy and full confidence, and certain of the proof and conviction in what we do not see!”

Now that doesnʼt leave much room for doubt or being unsure, does it? And letʼs not forget verse 2! “This is what the ancients were commended for.”

So, how does your faith measure up?

Grand Opening

Many people wonder why God doesnʼt send big, visual, miracles our way anymore. They read about people speaking in tongues, miraculous healing, casting out demons, and they wonder why God seems so distant. We read about the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Why are none of us recipients of the miraculous empowerment of the Holy Spirit? Why isnʼt God allowing his people to perform miracles here and now? Well, we can find out in the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 2:3b-4 – This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

According to the writer of Hebrews, God used signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit as a way of testifying that his son, Jesus, did in fact bring salvation to those who chose to obey him. The signs were a way for God to indicate to humans that this shift in the way of doing things was divinely orchestrated! Simply put, God was using the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and the miracles kind of like a grand opening at a new store. Letʼs say that a store that has been around for quite a while is purchased by some new owners, and they come in and renovate. Of course they want everyone to know about the changes, so they do this by having a big grand opening where they give away prizes, and do big and very showy things to alert the people of the changes. Now the grand opening doesnʼt last forever, and it doesnʼt need to. Thereʼs no reason for you to have a grand opening several years after the fact because it serves a purpose, and then itʼs no longer needed. The same is true with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, and miracles in Godʼs church.

These people were so used to the Old Testament way of doing things that when Godʼs people were bought by the blood of Christ, and they were now under new ownership, God wanted to get the message out. He had a grand opening with all kinds of wonderful and very visual miracles, healings and the like that announced to the world once and for all that a new way of doing things was here. Out with the old covenant (or old testament) and in with the new covenant (or new testament)! So what about us today? We donʼt need the grand opening. Instead, we need to be looking forward to the time when the store gets relocated into itʼs permanent location in Heaven. Until then, we are the word of mouth. We are the means by which Godʼs church keeps growing and developing new members.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Keep Your Focus

In 1978 during the a fireman’s strike in England, the British army took over emergency fire-fighting.  On January 14 they were called out by an elderly lady in South London to rescue her cat from a tree.  They arrived with impressive speed, and very cleverly and carefully rescued the cat, and started to drive away.

But the lady was so grateful she invited the squad of heroes in for tea.  They spent a great deal of time there talking, and enjoying a nice break from the hard work of the day.  After a good long visit, and with fond farewells and warm waving arms, they drove off, and in doing so ran over the cat and killed it.

The firemen lost the focus of why they were there.  If they had remembered and been focused on saving the cat, surely they would have looked for it before driving away!

2 Corinthians 8:20-2120 We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. 21For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.

Sometimes we forget what we’re supposed to do in life. Even though we think we’re doing our jobs, and feel like we’re making progress, the reality is we’re so caught up in other activities that we’re not taking an honest look at what is truly going on around us. Sometimes we run over the cat we’re trying to save and don’t even realize it.

It’s times like these that we really have to stop and consider our path in life.  Am I really following the path God has planned for me, or am I being led astray by all the stuff the world throws at us?  Is God in control of our lives, or are our lives controlling our relationship with God?  It’s at these times that the first few verses of Hebrews 12 comes to mind.  We need to throw off all the things that entangle us and keep us in sin.  We need to fix our eyes on Jesus, and consider all of those who have gone on before us…all of those who endured so much more difficult and trying times “…so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”   When we grow weary and lose heart we’re not the only ones that suffer.  Those who rely and depend on us suffer as well, and sometimes that’s the greater tragedy.