Ps 1 prepares us to pray the remaining psalms. With Christ we are ready to praise and thank his Father for the gifts of creation, life and salvation. We are ready to join Christ in his sufferings and victory over evil. We are ready to listen to Christ’s words of wisdom.
We can see Ps 2 as another special preparation for praying the rest of the psalms as well as the rest of the Old Testament and New Testament.
God had made a covenant with the people of Israel. As time went on, the covenant promises of God became concentrated in King David and his successors. The story is found especially in 2 Samuel 7. Psalm 2 proclaims God’s special relationship to the king. It tells us that God has “begotten” the king (on the day of his enthronement). It promises God’s special care for the king. It warns foreign kings that, if they rebel, the LORD will flick them off like so many pesky flies.
As time went on, the kings did not live up to their responsibilities. Some were weak; some were downright evil; even David committed some horrible crimes. Eventually, the king and the people went into exile and there were no more kings.
Nevertheless, the people continued to pray the psalms, even those that gave such brilliant descriptions of kings, and made dazzling promises to them. What we can conclude is that the people still had a firm faith and a certain hope that God would somehow realize the promises made to Israel. Today the Jewish people continue to put their hope in God. Some look for an individual Messiah still to come. Some look for a time when God will realize the promises without an individual Messiah.
Christians see all the Old Testament hopes fulfilled in Jesus and his church. We believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ. Jesus is the true king, the king of creation, the Lord of history, the savior of the world, the one in whom all God’s dazzling promises have been fulfilled in a way far beyond the imagination of Old Testament prophet and psalmists.
However, it is true that the final fulfillment is in the offing. Nations still rage and utter folly. The one holy, catholic and apostolic church, the body of Christ, is far from living up to the call of God. Nevertheless, we believe that God is with the church. God will not allow even the gates of hell to destroy it. We believe that it will grow in serving the LORD with fear and rejoicing before him.
The psalmist quotes the LORD, addressing the Old Testament king: “You are my son; this day I have begotten you.” We might immediately think of his being begotten by the Father from all eternity. However, in Acts 13:33, St. Paul refers these words to Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus was installed as king of the universe when he was raised from the dead.