Psalm 2:7

There is a silent contrast throughout this psalm between the "kings of earth" (ver. 2) and" my King" (ver. 6).

I. THE FALSE IS CHARACTERIZED BY SELF-SEEKING; THE TRUE BY SELF-SACRIFICE. The false begin and end with self. They act from and for "themselves" (ver. 2). The true have regard to others, and are always ready to subordinate and sacrifice themselves for the good of others. In the one case it is the many for the one, the people for the king; in the other, it is the one for the many, the king for the people.

II. THE FALSE RULE BY FORCE; THE TRUE BY RIGHTEOUSNESS. "Bands" and "cords" mark the restraints of law, but the false care for none of these things. Might, not right, is their rule. Whatever stands in the way must give place to their ambitions. On the other hand, the true are animated by the spirit of justice. Instead of grasping violently what does not belong to them, they accept their place and use their powers as from God. They hold that the "decree" must be righteous to be respected - that the law must be just and good to commend itself to reason, and to command the obedience of the heart. Power that a man gains for himself he will use for himself, but power that is held as a trust from God will be wisely and rightly employed.

III. THE FALSE IS MARKED BY CORRUPTION AND MISERY; THE TRUE IS PRODUCTIVE OF THE HIGHEST GOOD. Great are the perils of power. Well did the Preacher say, "Oppression [i.e. the power of oppressing] maketh a wise man mad" (Ecclesiastes 7:7). If this be so with the wise, how much worse will it be with the unwise! The Books of Chronicles and Kings in the Old Testament, and the history of heathen and Christian nations, are full of proofs as to the evils of power wrongly and wickedly used. Crimes, revolts, revolutions, wars upon wars, with manifold and terrible woes, mark the course of the Pharaohs and the Nebuchadnezzars, the Herods and Napoleons of this world. On the other hand, the rule of the true is conducive to the highest interests of men. Their aim is to do justly and to love mercy. Their motto is, "Death to evil, life to good." "The work of righteousness is peace" (Isaiah 32:17).

IV. THE FALSE ARE DOOMED TO FAILURE; THE TRUE TO VICTORY AND IMMORTAL HONOUR. The rule of the false inevitably leads to ruin. Sin is weakness. Evil can only breed evil. Where obedience is given from fear, and not from love, it cannot last. Where homage is rendered for reasons of prudence, and not from conviction, it cannot be depended upon. Where there is not desert on the one hand, there cannot be devotion on the other. Empire founded on the wrong is rotten through and through. But the true reign after another fashion. Their character commands respect. Their government, being founded in righteousness, secures confidence and support. Their rule, being exercised for the benign and holy ends of love, contributes to the general good. Two things follow.

1. God's ideal of kingship is found in Jesus Christ, and the nearer earthly kings resemble him, and the more perfectly they conform their lives and rule to his mind, the better for them and their subjects.

2. On the other hand, our first duty is to accept Christ as our King, and in love and loyalty to serve him. Thus we shall best fulfil our duty in all other relationships. The best Christian is the best subject. - W.F.

I will declare the decree.
There is nothing in the economy of life and civilisation that is haphazard. Before all things and round about them as a glory and defence is the Lord's "decree." Under all disorder is law. The law is first beneficent, and then retributive. It is beneficent because it contemplates the recovery and sanctification of the heathen and the uttermost parts of the earth. It is retributive because if this offer of enclosure and honour is rejected, those who despise it shall be broken with a rod of iron, and dashed to pieces like a potter's vessel. In the study of the world's constitution and movement, look first of all at the Lord's "decree," the Lord's idea and purpose. Settle it that the decree is good, merciful, redemptive, and then judge everything in the light of that fact. If you were judging of a national constitution you would not pronounce it bad became of its prisons; you would, on the contrary, pronounce it good for that very reason. You would know that there was a strong authority in that land, and that the authority was good, because it imprisoned and rebuked the workers of evil. So the rod of iron attests the holiness of God, and hell itself shows that virtue is honoured of heaven.

(Joseph Parker, D. D.)

The Lord hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son.
Weekly Pulpit.
At the beginning of the Book of Psalms God gave to the Church a vision of the triumphs of Messiah before that of His sufferings and death. The prospect cheers as we enter the gloom. "My King" was also "My Son." This was determined by the resurrection, as the crowning act of redemption. It was the resurrection which made manifest to the world that Jesus of Nazareth was the Eternal Son of Jehovah.

I. THE RESURRECTION OF THE BLESSED LORD WAS THE FINAL ATTESTATION OF HIS DIVINE MISSION AND IN ONE SENSE THE STRONGEST. Proof after proof was afforded that He was the Son of God; but without the resurrection the chain of evidence was not complete. The life was restored, not through the instrumentality of a prophet, but because He was the Son of God.

II. THE RESURRECTION IS THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH. The disciples were scattered by the storm of the crucifixion. The dispersion would have been final had it not been for the word He had said, "The third day He shall rise again." A new departure was taken at the sight of the living Lord. The commission of the apostles was given in the light of the resurrection. They were to be accompanied by both His power and His presence. There must be the living Christ in the sermon, to make the truth effectual; in the ordinances, to render them spiritual; in the services, to inspire them into life; and in the conduct, to cause its light to shine on a dark world.

III. THE RESURRECTION OF THE BLESSED LORD IS THE CHRISTIAN'S STRENGTH AND HOPE. A very exalted conception of redemption should be entertained. It is the gift of God to the Eternal Son. When the living Saviour is at our side we have power to carry our burdens, and to resist the devil.

(Weekly Pulpit.)

I. THE GENERAL MATTER OF THE SERMON. It is a law. What manner of law? A law to be preached, as other laws used not to be. A law concerning what God said. Which is the reason why it is to be preached. Not a law at large, but a statute law (Elchok), which but by publishing none can take notice of.

II. THE TEXT ITSELF. Or the body of the law. In these words, "Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee. The points in it are five. Of a son. Of My Son, (that is) the Son of God. Genui, the Son of God begotten. Hodie, the Son of God this day begotten. And "dixit genui," (that is) "dicendo genuit," begotten only by saying. Only said the word and it was done, and the word became flesh.

III. HOW CAN THIS (THOU ART MY SON) BE CALLED A LAW? It does not look like one. There be but two laws —

1. Lex fidei; a law limiting what to believe of Him: of His person, His nature, and His offices.

2. Lex factorum; setting out first, what He doth for us; and then, what we are to do for Him. What He doth for us is, convey all filial rights. What we are to do for Him is, return to Him all filial duties.

(Bishop Andrewes.)

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