Week 2, Day 3
READ: Psalm 2-3
BACKGROUND: Psalm 2 is known as a royal psalm because its primary subject is God’s kingship, and it is one of 11 royal psalms in the book. Also, this particular passage was used during the coronation ceremony for the Israelite kings in the line of David. Probably the most interesting thing about Psalm 2, though, is that it is prophetic poetry. It is a messianic psalm in that it foretells the coming Messiah and the judgment of the world. Psalm 3, according to the title, was written by David while he was running for his life from Absalom, his son, who was trying to kill him and assume the throne. This was an incredibly difficult and painful time in David’s life and, for a while, it looked as though Absalom might succeed. The story is found in 2 Samuel 15-18.
2:2 – The phrase “Anointed One” is used in most English translations. This is the Hebrew word “Messiah.” Messiah & Christ (Greek) both mean anointed one. This is Jesus, the Anointed One of God. And if you reject Jesus, as verse 2 says, then you reject the God who anointed him.
7 – The idea of Father-Son language being applied to kingship was common in the Ancient Near Eastern world. It was commonly used to describe a suzerain-vassal relationship wherein the suzerain (the powerful king who ruled a huge territory) was said to be like the father of the vassal (the less powerful king who ruled under the suzerain with some autonomy over a small portion of the suzerain’s vast territory.)
9 – Revelation 2:27 & 19:15 repeat this prophecy about the Son.
12 – “Kiss the Son” isn’t because Jesus likes kisses. The kiss being referred to here is a sign up submission and respect.
3:3 – Lifting up head = Restoring dignity
THINK: In October, at our Fall Fling camp retreat, our entire group was tasked with working together to complete a series of challenges and we were competing against all the other groups there to do them the best and the fastest. Among other things, we carried each other across a dodgeball arena, traversed some platforms with a couple of boards, and played 10-person tug-of-war against a horse…and won! But the worst of the challenges – in my opinion the worst by far – was one where we were tasked with picking a “president” who put on a white t-shirt and then protecting that president as we made our way across a football field while being bombarded with paintballs. I’m fairly certain that the idea for this challenge sprung out of Camp Shamineau staffers just really wanting to shoot people with their paintball guns. But either way, we were given an assortment of garbage can lids and small wooden shields to protect us – and our president – from the barrage. And the rule was that as soon as you got shot you were out. So, about 10 of us – the unlucky few – set out with our small makeshift shields across that field with our president tucked in behind us. We did well for a short while. Then, we started getting picked off. I got nailed directly in the ankle, and thankfully in my crouched position my jeans were just high enough to not be covering my ankle. That was just dandy.
Ultimately, the worst part about the challenge was that we went in knowing our shields stunk. Shields basically have 1 function: to shield you! But if the shield is way smaller than you are then, inescapably, parts of you aren’t going to be shielded. At camp, the tiny wooden shields barely shielded the hand you used to hold them much less anything else. And there was nothing to shield my ankle. In the end, taking one shot with a paintball gun isn’t that terrible of an experience. It’s not fatal. Anticipating it is almost worse than having it happen. The worst part of that challenge wasn’t getting shot so much as it was looking at the poor excuses for shields that were there and knowing that it was just a matter of time before I got shot.
I think sometimes we go through life with a lot of fear and trepidation. We’re just waiting for something horrible to happen and for everything to fall apart. We walk out into a hostile world full of brokenness and evil and hatred and pain and just wait for it to hit. We wait to get shot. And sometimes that fear and that waiting is crippling. But the good news is that we don’t have to live our lives in fear. Psalm 3:3 says, “But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” God is a shield that we can trust! He isn’t a lame Shamineau shield. He is a shield all around us. He loves us and protects us and works all things out for our good. And that doesn’t mean that our lives are going to be completely free of pain or frustration or suffering or loss. Those things are a part of the broken world we live in. But we can have confidence that God is with us and that he will carry us through. We don’t need to live lives of fear because we have a good shield!
ASK: Do I sometimes let my fears overwhelm me? What difference would it make in my life if I always remembered and had great confidence in the fact that God is a shield around me?