King Jesus not only demands our total commitment, he provides a place of rest for the weary. This commitment to have Jesus rule my life begins with and is sustained by taking refuge in this good and powerful king.
Psalm 2 is the only place in the Old Testament where God’s Messiah, God’s king and God’s Son are all spoken of in one place. Christians cannot help but think of Jesus when they read this Psalm. All the other kings must answer to this one true king (Psalm 2:6), God’s own son (Psalm 2:7), the anointed (Psalm 2:2). Psalm 2 paints a picture of a king who expects his followers to daily submit their little kingdoms under his lordship.
Thus, even when our confidence in the Lord falters, even when our behavior is anything but faithful, we still cry out to God. Our prayers depend, not upon ourselves, but upon our God who is faithful and righteous, gracious and merciful.
We do not approach God on the basis of our own worthiness. Rather, we come before him because he is gracious, because he has invited us, because he will give us not what we deserve, but much, much more—and much, much better than we deserve.
Sin usually begins, not with a rush to action, but with our inner being, with subtle temptation, with seemingly harmless intrigue, with a drawing of our hearts that we can at first ignore. But if we lean our hearts in the direction of evil, if we allow its seeming sweetness to tantalize us, then we’re well on our way to “taking part in wicked deeds.”
In a world that seems increasingly tolerant of venomous speech, it can be easy for us to start spewing it, especially if we’re hurt or angry. As a follower of Jesus, I am committed to not doing this. But I surely need God’s help to keep me from the temporary and self-defeating joy of attacking those who attack me.
Though a part of me resists dealing with what is wrong in my heart, I know that I need to see my sin as God sees it, so that I might confess and be forgiven, and so that I might turn from my sin to follow the Lord more completely.
If we are proud, if think we are really amazing, if we’re overly impressed with ourselves, then God may keep his distance from us. Perhaps this is because proud folk tend to be self-reliant. They aren’t inclined to need anybody else—including God.
God and God alone has the right and authority to dispense his judgment on Babylon. Thus this verse does not condone our acts of vengeance on those who have hurt us. Rather it invites us to bring our desires before God.
Through constant repetition of “His love endures forever,” Psalm 136 takes this truth and works it into our hearts. When life is hard and we’re not sure God is there for us, we hear echoes of Psalm 136: “His love endures forever.” When we take on new challenges that stretch us, we are strengthened by the refrain of his psalm: “His love endures forever.” When we delight in the good gifts of life, we realize that they are just that, gifts from our faithful, loving God.