When we leave the world of right living in the first Psalm, where the wicked blow away like chaff but the righteous stand strong like a tree, we come to the disorienting world of the second psalm. Here the outer world is in chaos. Kings and rulers are revolting against the Lord and his anointed one. Makes one wonder what kind of world is this of which this psalm speaks. However, the psalms affirms the King remains in the center.
This psalm divides into three parts:
Rulers seek to overthrow God’s rule (vv. 1-3)
Yet God still appoints his king (vv. 4-9)
Rulers had better seek God’s rule (vv. 10-12)
On one edge of this text there is conspiring, plotting, revolt. On the other, there is fear, trembling, anger, and potential destruction. Scholars believe that this psalm might have been used when a new king was being installed in ancient Israel. During regal transitions from the old king to the new king, subject nations would sometime use the occasion to gain their freedom. That seems to be the picture here.
It is time to install a new king, and Israel’s vassal nations are considering revolt. So they “take their stand against the “Lord and his anointed one.” This last reference is to the king of Israel (or Judah later on) in the original context. The vassal kingdoms seek to release themselves from their bondage (“chains” and “fetters”).
HOWEVER, in heaven, God can only laugh at their feeble attempts. God’s will will be done. His king has been installed on Zion, this king will inherit, the earth, and will rule the world with an iron scepter.
Therefore, the kings of the earth will do well to pay homage to the king: “Kiss the son!” calls the psalmist.
When the king is installed, he is recognized as “God’s son.” (cf. 2 Sam 7:12–16; 1 Chr 17:10–14). This language was common in the ancient world where several cultures consider their king somehow the son of their God. But more importantly, for us, it points to the role that Jesus would play as God’s son and our king.
So, remember, when life is disorienting on the edges, our king reigns in the center where God is.