Students of the Bible see clear parallels between Jesus and Old Testament events. Psalm 2 is one of these. David was a king who whose writing included prophecies and psalms that pertained to himself. It was as if he was adopted. In the context of what unfolded with Jesus as the Christ this chapter also clearly pertains to Jesus. When Jesus came to earth he took on a new relationship as well.
7 I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Psalm 2:7-9–ESV)
Adopted into a new relationship
The strongest association that comes to my mind when I read verse 7 is parentage. I wrote this entry after we had just come from New Hill, North Carolina where my family gathered for Christmas. Among the 25 were three generations. My parents were the top generation. The next generation included my brothers and I along with our wives. The next tier down was that of the 15 grandchildren. That is my reflexive context for Psalm 2:7 and father-son relationships.
The views and context of the Bible suggest no natural parentage between God and humanity, but — the authors of God’s word readily used parenting type relationships to describe how God and humanity connect. The shape of God’s relationship and interaction with people can be understood by a parenting context. It is an analogy to help people get it.
So, in verse 7 we see David writing of a moment where his relationship with God had shifted moving from one way of connecting to another. David being an adult obviously could not have just been begotten by God. What is happening here is more like parentage by decision. David describes God as saying that their relationship had entered a new phase. The time had come for a different beginning; the beginning of verse 7 records it as a decree, something that God spoke into existence.
Let’s go back to the the 15 grandchildren. Only 13 of those children have a natural heritage; Marc and Becky adopted 2 of their 7 kids. There was a time when my brother Marc and his wife Becky could legitimately say something like verse 7: “You are my children; today we have become as those who had begotten you.” This is how verse 7 should be interpreted.
Once when Jesus was speaking with Nicodemus he made another analogy. Jesus said that no one can see the kingdom of God (be saved) unless they are “born again.” That is in John 3 (verse 3). Nicodemus struggled with this context viewing it as natural parenting, natural birth. Jesus was not speaking of that. What he was speaking of was more like adoption. Parenting by decision. The newness was of such a character that it could be viewed as a new birth.
David was to get on with it
Let’s turn back to Psalm 2:7. David received a new context for his connection with God. As a result he was to begin living his kingship in light of that. He was to engage God as a son would engage his father.
While I was traveling to New Hill for Christmas a college age student from Curtis Baptist Church asked if he could borrow our lake house. I let him know that he was welcome to use the house. In the interactions he would call me “Mr. Lane” and I texted him that such formality wasn’t needed any longer. He having become a responsible adult and no longer a child did not need to hang onto old formalities. He demurred, though, by saying he had been brought up that way. I understand the formality of a generational gap. There was no generational gap between David and God for God is not man, but that concept may be useful to understand David’s initial shock at the decree God gave.
What if David would have demurred? What if he, in his preference, had chosen to remain in the old patterns of relationship? Well, that would have been rebellion and would not have ended well.
God, knowing that new manners and ways are not always easy aimed to help David along. Should the asking be too difficult God himself told David what he should ask for. Let us look at that next
What was he to get on with?
David was to ask for dominance over the kingdoms and the nations. Heritage, like adoption, like begetting speaks of parent-child relationships. It is God saying, “The nations and the earth are mine, ask of me and I will give them to you.”
Understood in this context was that the nations of the people around David and Israel would not go easily. They were God’s possession, but they were living in rebellion against him. Rebellions eventually must be put down. Israel rebelled against Jesus and Titus put down that rebellion. Centuries before that the Philistines, Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites and other rebellions were going to be put down by David. God was going to do it, but David was the instrument for the doing.
God told David to ask for these things. The relationship of God to David was to be a holy relationship. It was to be God directed and thorough. This is is message of this passage, and it is as though David is recording an event between him and God.
Would it work?
Of course it would work. God never gives commands that will fall short of his intentions. When God directs God does. David was to rule over these nations. First, he would conquer them and Second he would reign over them.
God decreed the new relationship, told David to ask for a heritage, and announced the outcome. Important in all of this is the unity of David’s desires and skills with God’s goals. A Christmas theme can be seen here: God was with David. God is with us. Immanuel means, God with us.
What of us?
Our context is Christ, and we do not live in a world of kings or prophets. We have been told that Jesus was the firstborn among many children. That puts us under a decree that David received. When we accept the free gift of salvation, when born again as Jesus called it with Nicodemus, we enter into a renewed relationship with God. On that day we access the decree of God and become his children.
It probably took David a while to go before God and ask for things, and it may take a while for you and I as well. We should learn of God and his ways. Not only should we learn of his ways, but also we should engage life in that manner. We, like David, should ask God to grant us the understanding of things we need for life and godliness. Those things are already granted, but we may have difficulty grasping that. We need to grasp that and then appropriate that.
The things that try to dominate us are real, and they are strong. The list of enemies that David faced1 was not a short one, nor were the armies of these people groups insignificant or weak. They were strong, but as they were living in rebellion to their creator they had critical cracks in their foundation. David was to ask and they would fall.
You and I are to ask that God would assist us in our fears and anxieties. We are to ask him that we overcome them. There will be a fight for they are strong, but they are not strong enough. David bested his enemies on the battlefield, and we also will best the enemies we face in our own battles.
Things to take from these verses:
- Enemies are real and they are strong
- God is real and he is stronger
- God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, but he also owns the hills. The world is his possession
- God has decreed that we are his children
- Children ask parents for help. David needed help with the armies around him. We need help with the stressors of life that are around us. Both armies and stressors are enemies and God will help with both.
- So: Ask.