9 types of leaders in Scripture
Mon May 20, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
5 bits of wisdom for the professional Christian woman
Sun May 19, 2013
by Shandel Slaten
Sat May 18, 2013
by Hugh Whelchel
Resurgence roundup, 5/17/13
Fri May 17, 2013
Grace all the way
Wed May 15, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
Psalm 2: What Is the Heart of a Nation?
From time to time I will be asking a series of guests to contribute as we dig into the Psalms. This week we will hear from my old friend Pastor Matt Johnson from Mars Hill. Matt might be better know as the drummer for bands such as Roadside Monument, Blenderhead, and 90 Pound Wuss, but he has a lot to share when it comes to a life and theology of worship. Here is his reflection on Psalm 2...
The Context of Psalm 2
Psalm 1 establishes that there are two types of people in the world: the righteous, who are firmly planted near refreshing waters of the word, and the wicked, who disappear like chaff in the wind. Where Psalm 1 focuses on individuals, Psalm 2 gives a wide-angle panoramic shot of the nations.
At the time of Psalm 2’s writing, the name of the game for Near Eastern nations was to wage war and expand territories, and Israel was just one puny nation among others to be conquered. Some say that King David composed this psalm after he had taken Jerusalem from the Jebusites, as described in 2 Samuel. While the psalm may very well have been written to celebrate Israel’s military victory, the more important issue is that King David is typified as Jesus by the Apostles, as Acts 4:25-27 states.
Every Human Heart Has a Ruler
The biblical concept of the Kingdom of God is a whole study in itself. The kingdom is a future and present reality, but the point is that the Kingdom is the kingship, rule and authority of God. Jesus said we must receive the Kingdom of God (his rule) as little children (Mark 10:13-16). So in order to enter the future kingdom (The New Jerusalem, Rev 21), we have to submit to his rule in the here and now. The ruled heart has many options in our culture. Whether it’s comfort, possessions, fascination with “the new,” six-pack abs, or achieving the greenest lawn on the block, we are a nation steeped in self-worship. There’s nothing wrong with personal health or gardening, per se. But these are the kinds of things that can very easily rule our lives. Think about it: what kinds of non-essentials, besides food, water, and shelter, cause you anxiety or make you angry if you don’t get it? What makes you feel like a failure if you can’t attain it? Fear, anger, anxiety, the desire to belong; all these things are a normal part of human existence. But when these things begin to rule our behavior, we are enslaved in idol territory. Fortunately for Christians, Christ’s kingdom is the most glorious, liberating, and just citizenship anyone could ever ask to live in. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8). We were traitors to his kingdom and we get exactly what we don’t deserve: grace! (Eph 2:8)
Two Kinds of Fear
Terror-fear, which is detailed in Hebrews 10:26-27, is fear that comes from deliberate disobedience despite knowledge of truth. This is getting-caught-with-your-hand-in-the-cookie-jar-type fear. But here in Psalm 2:11, fear is described as a call to love and trust in the Lord (serve the Lord…rejoice…kiss the Son). Though this kind of fear still produces “fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12), it’s a fear based on reverence and awe without the threat of looming retribution, as verse 12 promises, “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”
Jesus Is Preeminent In All Things
Nevertheless, the nations are still “his heritage” and “the ends of the earth” are Jesus’ possession, whether people worship him or not. According to Col 1:15-18, Jesus is preeminent over all. And when the apostle Paul says “all things,” he really means it. "[In him] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together". Jesus reigns on his throne in a universal, cosmic sense. But this rule extends to our individual lives on a day-to-day basis. How does he rule your life? Are there areas of your life that are kept hidden from Jesus’ rule and reign?
A Prayer to Faithfully Walk In the Light
As 1 John 1:5-10 says, “walk in the light as he is in the light.” As I ponder these verses I’m reminded of Psalm 139: "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23-24) Amen. Pastor Matt is enjoying his first year as a pastor at Mars Hill and has been serving at the church since ’97. He has his fingers in both the music and biblical living (counseling) departments and likes sharing ideas and resources between the two. Matt Johnson’s facebook page Tim Smith’s facebook page Discuss this Psalm on facebook