Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Psalm 2 and War


Psalm 2

Why do the nations conspire[a]
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
    and the rulers band together
    against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains
    and throw off their shackles.”
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
    the Lord scoffs at them.
He rebukes them in his anger
    and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my king
    on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
    today I have become your father.
Ask me,
    and I will make the nations your inheritance,
    the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with a rod of iron[b];
    you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
    be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear
    and celebrate his rule with trembling.
12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry
    and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
    Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Today, I read Psalm 2 and as a Christian I read it differently than the original Hebrews did. For I see it through the lens of Jesus. Jesus, for me, is the anointed who the world, namely the powers of Rome and Empire, crushed on the cross. Jesus and the Holy Trinity answers with resurrection and the forgiveness of sin. The wrath of God comes under the shadow of the cross and all transforms into love. Psalm 2 delves into politics and the state of nations. As we also take a similar perspective, one looking at the history of man and his wars, can we not join God in anger. The waste of the strength of young men in the act of killing each other for the benefit of what?

All wars are wastes of human resources. Men who could be building roads, farming, and raising children are instead aiming guns, tanks, and weapons at each other. Yes, we may bow to the necessity of war in a sinful world, but it does not make war glorious. I think that is the greatest weakness of the Hellenistic ideals passed down to us. Homer celebrates the glory of violence in the Iliad and we took look at the warrior as glorious. Hollywood has cashed in our lust for glories for violence. It is this violence that Psalm 2 speaks about and how this violence comes down on the anointed’s head in a crown of thorns. Yet, God answers us and his righteousness remains and love triumphs.

Only when we find our refuge in Jesus' love can we be blessed. 

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