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Psalm 2

Psalm 2

Listen or read the following transcript as D. A. Carson speaks on the topic of Old Testament studies from Psalm 2.


“Why do the nations conspire 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; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.’ Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. Kiss his son, or he will be angry and you and your ways will be destroyed, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

This is the Word of the Lord. Let us pray.

We confess, Sovereign Father, that in an age where a great deal of sentimentalism prevails, we have become unaccustomed and somewhat uncomfortable to be reminded his wrath can flare up in a moment. We have repeated so often “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild” that we have grown slightly uneasy with the notion the one enthroned in heaven laughs and holds his opponents in derision. Yet, it is written.

We hunger to know you, Lord God, not as society dictates you must be but as you have disclosed yourself in your most Holy Word. With the entire array of your perfections, of all of your attributes and character, we remember the one who is slow to anger and plenteous in mercy, the one who looks upon us as a father looks on children, remembering our frame, knowing full well we are dust, is also the jealous God. We remember you yourself have promised to give eternal life to those who put their trust in your Son.

But we remember also those who disobey the Son already stand under your wrath. We remember you sent your dear Son to die our death, to take our place on the cross. What love is this! We remember, too, on the last day, people will fly from the wrath of the Lamb, calling for the mountains to hide them. So grant us, Lord God, as we study this collection of psalms, an eager desire to buy into all you have disclosed of yourself with understanding, reverence, gratitude, holy fear, thanksgiving for your love. For Jesus’ sake, amen.

I said I was going to come at this psalm through the side door. What I meant by that is I’m going to begin by looking at three places in the New Testament where one verse from this psalm is quoted. In each case that verse is used in a different way. The three passages are Hebrews, chapter 1, verse 5, first of all, and then we’ll see in a moment Hebrews 5 and Acts 13.

This is part of a long argument from Hebrews 1:5 to Hebrews 1:13 that is designed to show Jesus’ superiority over angels. In verse 5 there are two passages quoted in this respect. “For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father’?” That’s Psalm 2:7. “Or again, ‘I will be his Father, and he will be my Son’?” When you stop to think about it, it’s not son language itself that defines Jesus’ superiority over angels.

After all, in Job 1, the angels are referred to, generically, as the sons of God. “There came a day when the sons of God …” Including Satan himself. “… came before the presence of God.” Son of God is an expression that can be used even to refer to angels. The mere fact Jesus is said to be the Son of God does not, by itself, establish him as superior to the angels. Psalm 2, itself, does nothing to make the comparison. Yes, the passage does say, “I am your Father; today I have begotten you,” but there is nothing in Psalm 2 that draws out a comparison between the Son and angels. That’s the first usage.

The second is found in Hebrews, chapter 5, verse 5. This is in a passage that is showing Jesus really does stand up as High Priest. He meets the criteria. In particular, he doesn’t take on this honor for himself, but he receives it when he is called by God, just as Aaron was. So we read, Hebrews 5:5: “In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.’ ” There’s Psalm 2:7 again.

What has that got to do with priesthood? There’s no mention of priesthood in Psalm 2:7. “And he says in another place, ‘You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.’ ” That’s Psalm 110. We’ll worry about that in two days. The third passage to which I want to draw your attention is Acts, chapter 13. This is in the longest recorded sermon in the book of Acts. Here Paul, according to Luke, is preaching in Pisidian Antioch, and in verse 32 he says:

“We tell you the good news …” We tell you the gospel. “What God promised our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.” Now is that raising him up in the sense of bringing him forward, presenting him, or raising him from the dead? Well, the context soon shows it’s the latter. “As it is written in the second Psalm: ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.’ God raised him from the dead so that he will never be subject to decay. As God has said, ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’ ”

So then, according to the New Testament, Psalm 2:7 warrants Jesus’ superiority over the angels, although angels aren’t mentioned; that he does not volunteer for the role of High Priest, although high priesthood isn’t mentioned; and that he was raised from the dead, and the resurrection isn’t mentioned. You begin to see why some people say, “You know, the New Testament does some really funny things with the Old Testament.”

We have this high view of Scripture, and so we ought to have it, but you read enough of these passages and they can begin to get under your skin. Historically, there have only been several ways of handling these things. One is to say, with, for example, John Broadus in his magnificent Matthew commentary. He says repeatedly, “I don’t have a clue what Matthew is doing with the Old Testament here, but it’s God’s Word. It must be true. I don’t understand it, but I believe it.”

Well, at least that’s reverent. Or you could say, with my old Doktorvater at Cambridge, Barnabas Lindars, who wrote a book called New Testament Apologetic, “The New Testament writers are constantly abusing the Old Testament. They just rip things out of context all the time. They pay no attention to the detail. All they’re doing is twisting Scripture. We ought to admit it and get on with things. New Testament apologetic is a bit of a joke.”

Or can you start seeing by probing a little just exactly how it works? I want to pick up on this one … it’s one of the harder ones … so you can see there’s logic in it. There’s coherence. There’s sense. At the same time, not only will this give you, I hope, increased confidence in the Word of God, encouraging you to dig, but also give you some tools for making the sorts of connections I’m about to make, myself, when you’re reading the Bible.

Now if we come back to Hebrews 1:5, you will recall there are two passages quoted. One is Psalm 2:7, and the other is 2 Samuel 7. We’re going to begin with 2 Samuel 7. Hebrews 1:5 says, “For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father’?” Psalm 2:7. “Or again, ‘I will be his Father, and he will be my Son’?” Well, let’s begin, then, with 2 Samuel 7.

For, many of the passages that speak of Jesus as Son in the New Testament find their ultimate grounding in this particular passage. Remember the context, because we’ll use it in two days’ time. In 2 Samuel 6, David, though he has been king over the southern two tribes for seven years, has now become king over the 12 tribes. He has conquered Jerusalem and moved his capital from Hebron to Jerusalem.

In chapter 6, the ark of the covenant and the tabernacle have been brought there. Now the king and the incipient temple, the temple-to-be, the ark, and the tabernacle are now in the same city. The two have come together. This institution of priesthood and sacrifice and this institution of dynasty both are now in the same city in Zion, in Jerusalem. Then we read, chapter 7:

“After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, ‘Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.’ Nathan replied to the king, ‘Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.’ But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying:

‘Go and tell my servant David, “This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’ ”

Now then, tell my servant David, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth.

And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.

The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son.” ’ ” That’s the bit that’s quoted.

“ ‘When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’ Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.”

1. A king, with religious initiatives, rebuffed

Now think this one through carefully. In the first section, down to 11a, what you have is a portrait of a king with religious initiatives rebuffed. You might initially think David was on the right track. After all, Deuteronomy had promised eventually there would be a stable place for the tabernacle.

He might well have thought he was fulfilling the word of the Lord given to Moses. Transparently, he’s trying to honor God. He feels a bit guilty now that he lives in a nice palace, and there’s this ratty old tent we call a tabernacle that is still functioning as the focal point for God’s self-disclosure. But he is rebuffed. The reasons why God rebuffs him are, essentially, three, though I’ll only have time to get through the first two.

B) All the major initiatives in redemptive history come from God and God alone, and he will not share his glory with another.

Do you hear that line of argument? It’s stunning. “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt.’ ” And then, verse 7: “Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I every say to any of the rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’ ”

Think back through redemptive history. When Abraham is called out of Ur of the Chaldees, the beginning of the great Israelite nation, did he wake up one morning and say, “God, quite frankly, the culture’s going to hell in a handbasket again. I mean, we’ve just had Babel. This is pretty disgusting.

We haven’t learned anything this side of the flood, but I have an idea. I’d like to suggest you start a new race. I can be the super-granddaddy of the whole thing. You make a covenant with me. I’ll go wherever you want. We’ll start all over again, a kind of humanity within humanity, a special covenant group. Isn’t that a great idea, God?”

Is that the way it works? Then you come to Moses. Moses thinks he’s going to help God, but that doesn’t end too well, does it? He ends up fleeing for his life on the back side of a desert for the next few decades. He doesn’t actually start ministry until he’s 80. At all the great turning points in redemptive history, God says, “Now” or “You do this.” He chooses people, and he will not share his glory with another.

God, in the building of the temple, will not allow David to take initiative. Now, there are other reasons: he’s a man of war, and so forth. But first of all, God says, “Did I ever command this? Did I command this to anybody? What do you think you’re doing?” There is sweep in God’s sovereignty in all the turning points of redemptive history that is nothing short of awesome.

B) God doesn’t need us; he is the God of aseity.

Verse 8: “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth.’ ”

Do you know what this sounds like? David has been thinking in his mind that by building a temple, he’s going to make God great. God says, “Nuh-uh. It doesn’t work like that. I’m going to make you great.” This is actually of a piece with the doctrine of God’s aseity, a word that has largely fallen out of English usage. It was very common amongst the Puritans, but it needs to be restored. God’s aseity, from the Latin a se. He is from himself. He is so much from himself he doesn’t need us.

Now we speak of God’s self-origination. That’s God’s aseity at the beginning, as it were. But God’s aseity is more comprehensive than that. He doesn’t need us. That’s one of the things the New Testament writers get across to pagans. In pagan religion, where the gods are many and finite, all of religion turns on a kind of tit-for-tat scheme, a kind of barter system. You scratch my back; I scratch your back.

Do you want to have a nice sea voyage? Then you offer some sacrifices to the god Neptune. You offer the right sacrifices, pay the right amount at the Neptune temple, and the odds are pretty good you’ll get a nice sea voyage. If you want to give a nice speech, you speak to Mercury in the Latin system, Hermes in the Greek system, the god of communication. You scratch my back; I scratch your back. All of religion is in a barter system. That’s the way religion works.

But that’s because the gods are finite and have their own needs. They like to have their backs scratched. What do you do with a God who doesn’t need anything? What do you do with a God of aseity who just doesn’t need us? Isn’t that what Paul says in his great Athenian address? “It’s not as if God needs us,” he says, “but rather he gives us life and breath and everything else.”

He doesn’t need us. He certainly doesn’t need me. He doesn’t need our worship. He doesn’t need our finances. He doesn’t need us. It’s not as if Thursday rolls around and God is in heaven wringing his hands, saying, “Oh, I can hardly wait ‘til Sunday when they start worshipping me again. It gets lonely up here without anybody with a praise band.” God doesn’t need our worship. He doesn’t need us. Full stop.

Now don’t misunderstand. This does not mean God does not respond to us or that God is indifferent to us or that this is a deist God. But if God responds to us, with approbation or curse, if God responds to us with pleasure or with wrath, this is not out of any need in God. It is out of his own character and freely chosen will and design. He doesn’t need us, so you can’t barter with him.

The grounding for the doctrine of grace is the doctrine of aseity. You cannot barter with a God who doesn’t need anything. You cannot barter with a God who is absolutely self-sufficient. God is not enhanced somehow, completed, because I’m good. He’s not diminished if I’m bad! He doesn’t need me. Because he’s the God of aseity, all he pours out upon us is, finally, a function of his grace. It’s a function of who he is.

It’s not a function of a barter system. We who have been Christians for a long time need to realize that sometimes, because there are occasions when, although in theory we know we’re saved by grace, nevertheless, we start bartering with God sometimes, don’t we? “If only you’ll do this, God, then maybe I can have that,” instead of casting ourselves upon him and trusting his goodness and his grace and his sovereignty, his wisdom, which are all past finding out.

That’s what’s going on here. Apparently, David’s has some edge in his mind that thinks somehow he is adding something to God, almost doing God a favor. “Build him a nice temple, and I’ll have a good reign.” God says, “Nuh-uh. You don’t add to me, and I didn’t call you for this, in any case. You’re not going to be the one who does it. And in any case, you don’t make me great, I make you great.

You’re just a shepherd boy, but I’m going to give you a name that will redound across the centuries and across cultures and languages so people will know the name King David long after they’ve forgotten names like Ashurbanipal and King Tut III,” who were much bigger figures than David in his own day.

2. A king, suitably broken, given superb privileges

Verse 11b: “The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you.” House, here, is a pun. David wanted to build a house for God; that is, a temple. God’s going to build a house for David; that is, a household. What we would call a dynasty. “I’m going to build a house for you.”

“When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom.” That’s the house, the dynasty. “He is the one who will build a house for my Name …” You see, in God’s own timing the promised words of Deuteronomy will be fulfilled. “But I’ll organize this in my own time, in my own way.” “… and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son.”

Now we need to stop and think about this language. “I will be his father, and he will be my son.” Some of you may have heard me rabbit on about the notion of sonship in Scripture in other contexts, but it’s very important to grasp it again here. When we think of son today, often we’re thinking of paternity suits or the like. You can establish whose son is whose with relatively straightforward DNA tests nowadays.

But in the ancient world, sonship had much more of an overtone of function. It’s not that the familial descent is denied, but sons were looked at rather differently. Daughters, too, in a slightly complementary way. Today we send our sons off, and our daughters too, to secondary schools and tertiary institutions, and they get their training elsewhere. But in the ancient world, most sons ended up doing what their fathers did. If your father is a farmer, you become a farmer. If your father is a baker, you become a baker. If your father is a king, you become a king.

Most women ended up doing what their mothers did. That meant self-identity was bound up not only with family but with calling, because the two were tied together. How many of you (guys now, alone) are doing, vocationally, what your fathers did? Let’s see your hands. Look around, folks. How many of you women are doing, vocationally, what your mothers did? Look around. But in the ancient world, you see, it would have been 95, 96, 98 percent.

He’s the baker’s son. He’s the farmer’s son. That’s why Jesus is called “the carpenter’s son.” Eventually, he is known as “the carpenter.” Because your self-identity is bound up with family, not just in some chromosomal sense but with function. That’s what you do. Out of this comes a wide range of biblical metaphors. If somebody is a son of Belial, he is a son of worthlessness.

This is not actually an insult to the father, because it’s merely a way of saying, “He’s acting so worthlessly the only possible explanation is he belongs to the worthless family.” Likewise, on the positive side, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” That’s not saying how you become a Christian. It’s saying being a peacemaker is supremely God’s activity. So insofar as you’re making peace you are reflecting God’s character, so in that respect you can be called a son of God. Do you see?

It also reflects Jesus’ language in John, chapter 8, when Jesus has his interlocutions with Jews of his own day, and he claims Abraham knows of him. They say, “You’re not even 50 years old. How can Abraham have anything to do with you? We’re the proper children of Abraham.” He says, “Oh, no. You’re not. Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and you’re trying to bump me off. How can you possibly be children of Abraham?”

They up the ante. They say, “We’re children of God.” “Oh, no. You’re not. I come from God. God knows me, and I know him. If you don’t know me, you can’t be sons of God. Let me tell you who your daddy is.” Then he says, “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a liar from the beginning; you’re saying untruths about me. He was a murderer from the beginning; you’re trying to kill me.”

It’s a functional thing. Jesus is not denying they’re Israelites. He’s not denying they’re Jews. He’s not denying there is a genetic descendance from Abraham, but that’s of entirely secondary significance to function. That’s also why the apostle Paul can be so bold when he keeps saying again and again and again, “Who are the true children of Abraham? The true children of Abraham are those who have Abraham’s faith, not who have Abraham’s genes.”

So also here. This was common language throughout the entire ancient Near East. “You are my son; today I have become your father.” That is, in some ways, the gods of the ancient Near East were perceived to be ruling over their respective pagan tribes. Then when the king became king, when he took the throne, then he became the son of the god. That is, he began to belong to the god family. Functionally, then, he took on some of the rights of the god to rule.

So it is in ancient Israel. Who’s the supreme King? The supreme King is God himself. When the God-appointed king becomes king, then he’s becoming the son of God. He then belongs to the God family so far as rule is concerned. He has this divine right of kings in an absolute sense. Do you see? He really does have the divine right of kings. Here now, he has entered into a new relationship with God that is best described, using the dominant metaphor of the day, as son of God.

“Today I have become your father.” He’s not talking about new birth. He’s not talking about natural birth. It’s talking about appointment to a kingly role. “I have become your father; you have become my son.” That’s the language that is used. It runs through the Old Testament after this passage again and again and again. “He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son.”

Is that talking about Jesus? Read the next verse. “When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by human beings, with floggings inflicted by human hands.” You see, in the first instance, this verse, 2 Samuel 7:14, is not talking directly about Jesus. It’s talking about Solomon. He will build a temple; he will do what’s wrong. God will mete out temporal judgments, but he won’t take away the dynasty. He won’t take away the household. That’s what David is afraid of, because he’s seen what’s already happened to Saul.

Saul didn’t even get to the second generation. His son Jonathan was bumped off at the same time his father was in the final conflict. That’s why God says, “When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by human beings, with floggings inflicted by human hands. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom …” There is house again. House. Household. Dynasty. “[Your dynasty, your household] will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.”

This is the beginning of God’s promise for the Davidic dynasty that takes you all the way down to the New Testament. Now in this verse, verse 16, you can see there are only two possible ways for this promise to be fulfilled. Either there has to be a constant recycling new generation of Davidides, a people coming from David’s line … generation after generation after generation after generation … for this promise to be fulfilled. “The dynasty will never be destroyed. It will rule. It will continue.”

Or, though it isn’t raised here, eventually there has to a king who himself rules forever. That promise gets to be teased out a little later. This is about 1,000 BC. David reigns from about 1,010 to about 970. By the time you come to Isaiah, in words we quote every Christmas.… I’m sure most of us have recited these words from Isaiah 9: “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.”

On the one hand, he will rule upon the throne of his father, David. On the other hand, he will be called the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. You start wondering, “What kind of Davidide is that?” Then about 600, at the time of Ezekiel, in Ezekiel 34, God pronounces his condemnation of the shepherds of Israel, the rulers, the nobles, the leaders, the false shepherds of Israel. He utterly destroys them. Then he says, “But the day is coming when I will shepherd my people Israel. I will nurture them. I will shepherd them. I will bring them to clear water. I will bind up their wounds. I will discipline them.”

About 25 times Yahweh himself says, “I will shepherd my people,” then at the end of it, he says, “I will send my servant David to shepherd them.” So you begin to wonder what kind of Davidide is this who is so now closely identified with God that he shall be called the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the one who is distinguishable from all other shepherds?

But the anchor for that vision of things is here, in 2 Samuel 7. It is one of the great seminal passages in the Old Testament brought all the way down to the New. Now then, once you have that one firmly in place, it’s time to look at Psalm 2. The psalm can be broken down into four parts: God challenged, God laughs, God decrees, and God summons.

1. God challenged

He is challenged by these opponents. “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?” It’s a rhetorical question. It’s not a question where you give an answer. It’s a question that means in the context, “How ridiculous can you get? Against a sovereign God, what’s the significance of this sort of rebellion?” “The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed [his mashiyach, his messiah], saying …”

The term messiah was already used in the Old Testament for the king, the anointed one. Or it was used pretty commonly for the priest, the anointed one. In one passage it’s used of the prophet. Prophet, priest, king, all together called messiah. Here, clearly, of the king. Against Yahweh, these petty kings in the surrounding districts, now under the control of David or a Davidide, want to rebel, but to rebel against David if David is under the aegis of God himself, is to rebel against God.

What are your chances of winning that kind of contest? “Why do the nations rebel?” It doesn’t make any sense. “The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against Yahweh and against his messiah, saying, ‘Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.’ ” Then the second three verses.

2. God laughs

“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.’ ”

Now you see the nature of the rebellion. It is, at the historical plane, a rebellion against the Davidic king, but if God has established that Davidic king on the throne, if that Davidic king is acting under God’s aegis, to rebel against that Davidic king is to rebel against God. If God has established him on the throne, what are the odds? God laughs! He holds them in derision! It’s a joke.

The same principle is actually quoted in the New Testament when the first whiff of persecution breaks out against believers in Acts, chapter 4. Peter and John are duly warned. They were told to go back to their own people. As they pray together, in their prayer they quote the words of Psalm 2.

“Why do the nations rage and the people rebel against God and his Messiah?” God laughs. So even while the first Christian martyrs are going down, God is winning, upholding his people, looking at the whole thing across the sweep of history and laughing, because he knows where it’s going.

The whole notion of rebelling against God is so ridiculous from the historic plane. Fifty billion years from now, will anybody doubt it? If God establishes his king, and that king is operating under God’s aegis there is not the ghost of a chance anybody will prevail against him. “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy hill.” Then you get the whole thing looked at from the perspective of the king.

3. God decrees

“I will proclaim the Lord’s decree,” the king now says. That is, the decree that made him king. “He said to me: ‘You are my son; today I have become your father.’ ” Once the king became king, that was equivalent to God establishing him by decree as the king, which is equivalent to making him his son. They’re all part of the same package.

If you become king, you become God’s son, functioning like God, with God’s authority, over God’s people. “I will proclaim the Lord’s decree,” to which reference has already been made. God says, “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” God’s decree, which can be looked at a slightly different way. “You are my son; today I have become your father.”

So if God establishes the Davidic king in those terms, then as long as this Davidic king is acting under God’s aegis, who can stand against him? God says to the king, “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; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” The only adequate response, then, is given in the last three verses.

4. God summons

God summons the people. God summons the rulers of the petty nations. He says, “Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. Kiss his son, or he will be angry and you and your ways will be destroyed.”

Now then, here is the first question to ask about this psalm.… Is it by itself pointing directly to Christ or could this have been said for virtually any Davidide? After all, didn’t God promise, according to 2 Samuel, chapter 7, when the Davidic king came along he would be God’s son? That’s the language of the day. That’s the way it works. Now of course, we know historically the Davidides often fell into foul sin and rebelled against God, and the dynasty was closed to being wiped out on two or three occasions. God alone, in his mercy, held the whole thing together.

The kings themselves were often punished in various ways. Nevertheless, couldn’t this, in principle, be said of any Davidide? There are some ambiguous bits. “Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” But the ends of the earth could equally be translated the ends of the land. It’s ‘erets in Hebrew, often used for ‘erets Yisra’el, the land of Israel.

It’s hard to be sure whether the psalmist, at this point, has a worldwide universal scope or promising merely complete subjugation of the Promised Land. It’s hard to be certain. You work through all of the language in this psalm, and you’re not quite certain whether it seems to be referring to any Davidide in principle or to the supreme Davidic King to come. That’s Psalm 2.

Now come back to Hebrews 1. We’ll try to tie this together and then work out some pastoral implications. What shall we make, then, of this notion of the onset of the Davidic kingdom in the life and times of Jesus? Clearly, in Hebrews, chapter 1, verse 5, the reference is to Jesus. When Psalm 2 is quoted the reference is to Jesus. When 2 Samuel 7 is quoted, the reference is to Jesus.

How does that work out? Well this is to do with the establishing of the kingdom, here, isn’t it? When does Jesus’ kingdom dawn in the New Testament? That is a notoriously difficult question to answer. In one sense, he’s born a king. Isn’t that what the magi say? “Where is he who was born king of the Jews?” He was born with divine rights. In another sense, it begins with the onset of his public ministry. In another sense, it begins as the ministry expands and God’s kingly power through Christ is pushing back death and disease and decay and pronouncing the gospel.

This is why when the disciples are sent out, and they return with their reports, Jesus smiles and says, “I saw Satan fall from heaven.” Do you see? The kingdom is being established even by their proclamation. But all of this in the Gospels themselves in an anticipation of the great turning point, namely, the death and resurrection of Christ. He dies and rises again, vindicated, seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High.

In consequence of this, we’re told, Jesus claims, “All authority is given to me in heaven and in earth’ ” Or, to use the language of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, all of God’s sovereignty is mediated now through Jesus. All of God’s sovereignty, without exception, mediated through Jesus until he has destroyed all of his enemies, and the last enemy to be destroyed is death itself. He’s the King.

Although there are anticipations of it in his ministry and in the ministry of his apostles and so on, the great turning point in Scripture is in the cross and the resurrection, which is why so much of the structure of New Testament Christology turns on this. He once was with God, but he emptied himself and made himself a nobody and took on the form of a servant and then made himself obedient, even to death.

“Wherefore God has highly exalted him and given him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every name should bow.” That’s Philippians 2. But you get something very similar in the prologue of John. You get it in many other parts of the New Testament, where the great turning point is this tipping bit where he is crucified, buried, rises, ascends, and is vindicated and seated at the right hand of God. All of God’s sovereignty is mediated through him. He’s the King … still a contested king, but the King.

Now then, keep that piece in mind and let me come in with one more side piece, and then we’ll try to put it together. I don’t know how many of you have studied theology in British universities, but there are usually better ways of studying theology than starting off with a course in British universities. This is partly because the methodological approaches, quite apart from the skepticism, are going to blind you to some things.

For example, when Christology is studied, the doctrine of Christ, is studied in most British universities, the approach very commonly is either through the Christology of a particular book … the Christology of Hebrews, the Christology of Mark, the Christology of [whatever] … or it’s through a particular title.… Son of God Christology, Messiah Christology, Son of Man Christology, King of Israel Christology, and so on.

It’s a study through these various bits, and the impression is given that these various Christologies live in kind of hermetically sealed off communities that don’t talk with anybody else. Nobody starts thinking, “Well, all of these wonderful rich Christologies come together in one glorious, unified picture. Isn’t that terrific?” You’re not allowed to think that.

The pieces have to be broken up in principle. But if you just get rid of that bias for a moment and remember what we’ve done so far then you see it’s in Jesus’ cross work and resurrection that he comes into his kingdom, he’s vindicated, he comes into his priestly ministry. It’s tied to the resurrection of Jesus. All of these things, in the mind of first-century Christians, are tied together! Jesus rises from the dead. That’s what establishes his mediating authority as God’s mediatorial King.

That’s, in a sense, when he becomes God’s Son. Oh, now, I know. I know there are other uses of God’s Son. He’s already God’s Son in all kinds of other ways. Son is not a technical term. It’s used in a variety of different contexts, in different ways. But in one sense, he enters into his kingdom by the resurrection and ascension and session at the right hand of the Majesty on High, but that’s also when he enters into his priestly ministry.

That’s what establishes his superiority as a human being, the God human being, over angels and over every other conceivable entity. In one sense, he had authority over the angels before the world began. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God …” God’s own fellow. “… and the Word was God.” God’s own self. But he emptied himself and was made (to use the language of Hebrews) “… a little lower than the angels.” But now God has highly exalted him. He’s above the angels.

It’s bound up with the cross and resurrection. Entirely vindicated. The conquering King. In this one great unified Christology he has simultaneously risen, entered into his kingship, demonstrated his power by his resurrection, Lord over all (including the angels), entered into his priestly ministry. It’s all bound up together. So the writer to the Hebrews, like Luke, the writer of Acts, can look at Jesus’ resurrection and say, “There! That’s the whole point when Jesus enters into his kingly ministry.”

Then thinking of Old Testament passages in which that kingly ministry is established, they think of Psalm 2. “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.” That’s established by Jesus’ resurrection, so the resurrection is tied to Psalm 2. That announces his priestly ministry, so Hebrews 5 is tied to Psalm 2. He’s superior over all; he has authority over all. He’s superior over angels. Hebrews 1 is tied to Psalm 2. All of this is based on what is often called a Davidic typology.

Now some of you may have come from churches that had the most screwball, harebrained, interpretations of the Old Testament you ever had the misfortune to come across, and it was called typology. For you, typology is a dirty word. Typology, as it’s sometimes handled, is pretty despicable. Rahab’s red cord, because it’s red is actually a sign of the blood of Jesus. Yeah, I’ve heard all those, too.

But there is a biblical typology that’s quite disciplined, that is exegetically rigorous. It’s bound on this notion: the God who does things in persons, events, and institutions keeps doing those things in persons, events, and institutions, ratcheting them up with time until they reach their patterned fulfillment.

So if God establishes a certain dynasty, call it Davidic, a certain Davidic dynasty where he establishes what a king ought to be, then as that king goes through certain experiences, and the experiences are ratcheted up with time, then David becomes a kind of foretelling pattern of the ultimate Davidide. The temple, likewise, becomes (as we’ll see a little later) a meeting place between God and human beings, looking forward to the ultimate temple.

The old-fashioned priesthood looks forward to the ultimate priest. People, events, and institutions ratcheted up in successive patterns of what God does until there is a fulfillment of the pattern in Christ himself. That’s why the New Testament writers can say Jesus is our Passover. He’s our Feast of Dedication. He’s our temple. He’s our priest. He’s our sacrifice. He’s our Davidic King, and on and on and on and on and on. Do you see?

He dies on the cross, and it’s his own flesh that is torn apart, but it’s also the veil of the temple that is torn apart. Thus, you have access into the very presence of God. Yes, he enters into the Most Holy Place, but it’s the ultimate Most Holy Place, the very presence of God in the heavenlies, according to the Hebrews. Do you see? So all of the Old Testament patterns, themselves, become intrinsically prophetic, intrinsically forward-looking, intrinsically announcing.

In other words, predictive prophecy is not reduced to mere prophetic words with fulfillments. Predictive prophecy can be bound up with types, patterns. The pattern here is the Davidic pattern, the Davidic typology. That is found everywhere. That’s why even when David is betrayed by his own familiar friend, that becomes a pattern so that David’s greater Son, Jesus, is betrayed by his own familiar friend.

That’s why Psalm 69 is quoted three times in the New Testament with respect to the passion narratives, a Davidic psalm. Do you see? So also this. Psalm 2 might not be entirely clear as to whether it’s pointing to Jesus exclusively or to any Davidide. When God appoints a Davidic king in his generation, he says, “Today I have become your father; today you are my son.”

That’s always true. He has established a dynasty, but it is supremely true in the ultimate Davidide. When he is appointed King, he is appointed King by virtue of his resurrection, entering into his priestly ministry, superior over all beings in heaven and on earth, including angels.

That’s how the New Testament writers are reading the Old Testament. They’re reading it on the basis of a certain Davidic typology, an understanding of how sonship language works. They have a unified Christology so the bits hang together. They make sense once you see they cohere. You don’t have to find an explicit reference to priesthood in Psalm 2 in order to quote Psalm 2.

That’s because the New Testament writers understand once Jesus enters into this ministry then he is the conquering King, but he’s also the suffering servant, and he’s also the priest who mediates. It’s all bound up together in one package. If God establishes him as King in that connection, then there is a sense in which this, too, is evidence, that Jesus doesn’t take this role upon himself. His heavenly Father bestows it upon him by raising him from the dead and seating him on his own right hand in the glory.

To work through half a dozen of these typologies is to learn how the Bible hangs together. We don’t have time to work through a lot of them, but it’s important to learn how the Bible hangs together so you learn to read responsibly how these Old Testament institutions ultimately are fulfilled in the person of Christ.

It gives you a whole depth of appreciation for the Psalms instead of seeing them merely as privatized ramblings on peculiar experiences of faith and of doubt. So often they have huge christological implications. Now let me conclude with a few further pastoral implications.

You cannot help but see in Psalm 2 that God is a warrior; he opposes his enemies.

This side of Vietnam, in contemporary awareness of the post-Colonial age … aware of the nature of religious aggression, aware how much religious cant has often been tied to wars in the past … we’ve become really embarrassed to sing things like “Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war.” It just sounds sloganeering and bloodthirsty and old-fashioned and Victorian. Multiply the negative adjectives at will.

Yet, when you read through Psalm 2 and dozens of passages like them.… Read through parts of Psalm 89 and many, many Old Testament passages. God is portrayed as a warrior. If you want to see this theme worked out in biblical theological array, there’s a lovely little book by Tremper Longman called God is a Warrior. But that whole mechanism of war connected with the Israelites in the Old Testament is ratcheted up in the New Testament so that ultimately the ultimate war is bound up with our struggle against the Devil himself and all his hosts of darkness.

We take on the whole armor of God. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against all the hosts of darkness. It is a fight. It is a dimension of Christian experience we often neglect. We have tended to speak of God’s power in our lives, which is true; of the Holy Spirit indwelling us, which is true. Or we quote John 15, “… but by yourself you can do nothing.” Then we invent slogans like, “Let go and let God” and have a kind of pacifistic approach to spiritual conquest. There’s an element of that in the Bible if it’s handled carefully.

But there’s another huge element based on the theme that God is a warrior, and we’re recruited into this struggle. Not against flesh and blood but taking on the whole armor of God, resolving to stand, resolving to go offensively, using the one offensive weapon we have, which is the Word of God. So we are never, ever to think of Christian life and existence as one happy, breezy thing.

It will involve struggle, and with it, self-sacrifice and some losses and some tactical defeats, even if we can be absolutely sure of the outcome. This is a huge theme in Scripture, and I am becoming increasingly persuaded our neglect of it, because of the social circumstances of our own age, means we are less and less prepared to think of Christian existence, Christian discipleship, Christian obedience as a struggle.

We have to think of it rather in terms of joy or in terms of power or in terms of overcoming, somehow, but not in terms of conflict. Thus, Paul can come along and almost off the top of his head, without even thinking about it, say, “Don’t you know a soldier lays aside the commitments to this world and becomes disciplined in his commitment to the task at hand?” Do you see? He can pick up a military metaphor and throw it in as part of a call to self-discipline without any sort of embarrassment whatsoever.

That, I think, is what makes us ready to reflect on the fight in which we are engaged, with a Paul who can look back on his life and say, “I have fought the good fight. He must reign until he has put his enemies under his feet.” We can look at an old hymn like “The Son of God goes forth to war.… Who follows in his train?” and not be entirely embarrassed anymore, even while we confess sometimes such themes have been used for jingoistic purposes.

Now I promised two or three of you I would leave time for questions, so before I close in prayer, let me open it up to questions or comments from either last night or this morning.

Male: [Inaudible]

Don Carson: In the context, yes. There’s a fourth one elsewhere, but in this passage it has to do with the fact there is still promise of more rest. That is, he is still a man of war. He thinks at the beginning of the chapter he has been given rest round about, but God is still speaking all the way down to verse 10 of the need for more rest for his people. I think it’s linked up with the later-declared theme that he is called to be a man of war as he stabilizes the people, builds the frontiers. It’s just not appropriate for him to have that task.

Male: [Inaudible]

Don: Some people think Psalm 1 and Psalm 2 are linked together, but if we discount that for a moment, it has to be written after the Davidic dynasty is established. It’s difficult to say at exactly what point it has to be written after that. It could be almost any Davidide, but because of verse 7 (“I will proclaim the Lord’s decree …”) where the king is now speaking, it sounds like the sort of thing David, or someone very much like David in David’s line, a godly Davidide, is saying. My guess is it is, itself, Davidic.

That is confirmed, unless the expression is used very loosely, by Acts, because when Psalm 2 is quoted in Acts it’s quoted as a Davidic psalm even though it doesn’t have the typical Davidic superscription. The reason for writing it, it seems to me (if that’s the context in which it’s written, by a Davidide, perhaps David himself) is going to be in the context, then, of his own struggles as he’s seeking to establish his frontiers and his borders and people are rebelling against him, and he’s thinking through, “They’re not just taking me on. They’re taking on the God of the universe.”

It becomes a composition, therefore, that is bound up with his awareness he is God’s king. Who can stand against him in that kind of affray? Does that make sense? The applications for Christians today are pretty strong, too, are they not? Even if it means sacrifice, like the three men.… Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

Yes, if they get thrown in the fire, they might be destroyed. Well, fair enough. God’s still a sovereign. God still reigns. How do you stop this sort of God? How do you stop people who are willing, to use the language of Revelation 12, to go all the way to death? God still reigns. He is still sovereign. He will rule. So, “Kiss the Son lest he be angry, for God himself is a jealous God.

Male: [Inaudible]

Don: There are actually some people who have argued Psalm 1 is itself, explicitly, a messianic psalm, that when it says in the NIV, the ESV, and so on, “Blessed is the man who does not …” it’s actually referring to Christ. I don’t think so. I think this is such typical Wisdom language it’s not explicitly referring to Christ. It’s this generic black and white morality you get in Wisdom Literature.

So I think it’s a mistake to say, “This is obviously not talking about us because we’re such compromised people. This is actually talking about the only good man, namely Jesus himself,” and then move into Jesus and go from there. I don’t think that’s right. I understand why people do it, but I don’t think it’s quite.… I don’t think the psalmist had that in mind. There are psalms where the psalmist clearly does have the ultimate Messiah in mind. There are messianic psalms. I just don’t think this is one of them.

On the other hand, if I had only a few minutes, and if my focus was Psalm 1, I would probably run very quickly from the absolute morality God imposes, to parallel texts in the New Testament … the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount or some things from Paul or whatever … to the only solution to that sort of thing in Christ forgiving our sins, but that is partly an exposition of this passage and then partly it’s a topical sermon.

Or if I had more time, I have done, in evangelistic contexts, what I did with you at a somewhat more advanced and technical level last night. That is to say, show different themes that come together in the Bible, one of which is well presented here, showing at the end of the day God’s standards are not compromised, but then God is not just laughing at us and sneering at us in our failure.

Instead, he joins with us by his own Son becoming one of us and taking our place and dying our death and paying our penalty, and that is, finally, our only hope before a morality so absolute, so that you can move from a realistic exposition of the psalm … there are only two ways … to how this sits in the broader theology of the Bible. An awful lot depends on how much time you have.

Ultimately, what you’re trying to do in biblical exposition is not only explain the text and show where it fits in the Canon but show by how you handle the text how to read your Bible. In other words, good biblical exposition should, in the long haul, encourage Christians and fledgling Christians and even non-Christians to begin reading their Bibles aright.

Female: [Inaudible]

Don: The next psalm we’re going to look at, Psalm 40, and I don’t have a clue when it was written. So in one sense, it might be better to answer that question after that, and if you’re not satisfied, then come back at me again. In fact, in that psalm, the psalmist says he was taken out of the miry bog and his feet were set on a rock. If you ask what the miry bog is, the short answer is: I don’t have a clue. You can make some reasonably intelligent guesses, but it’s like Paul’s thorn in the flesh.

Of the scores of suggestions that have been made, I think I can narrow it down to half a dozen. Beyond that, I don’t know where to go. On the other hand, the great advantage of that is, if we knew exactly what it was to which either the psalmist or Paul referred, then we would tend to say the appropriate application today is when we have exactly the same thing. With the open-endedness of miry bog, there can be a lot of “boggy” experiences that can come our way that our suitably addressed by this psalm in some ways. We’ll come back to that.

In other words, there are advantages in being not historically located too narrowly. There are other genres of Scripture that do that. I mean, most proverbs, after all, are sufficiently aphoristic. They’re not historically tightly located. There are advantages to that as well as disadvantages. It’s one of the reasons why God has given us his Word in so many different kinds of literary genres.

Male: [Inaudible]

Don: Let me put it in a larger framework, yet, because then I think it’s easier to see. It’s not uncommon even amongst serious Christians to think of the God of the Old Testament as being a bit short fused, leaning toward genocide and other nasty things. “Thank God we live in the new covenant where everything is sweetness and light and forgiveness and substitution,” and all of that.

Of course, there is part of us that realizes that, as a description of things, isn’t quite going to do, but we’re nevertheless secretly happy we don’t have to explain wiping out the Canaanites, because that’s the old covenant; we can just get on with things today. Two things are missing in that analysis.

First, the Old Testament itself portrays God as slow to anger, plenteous in mercy. The God of the Old Testament is not just bad tempered. It describes his wrath as being the last resort and meanwhile, Hosea can present God as being the almighty cuckold, if you please. He puts up with a fantastic amount.

Secondly, in the New Testament there is not so much talk of temporal judgments, but there is much more talk of eternal judgment. The person who introduces the most colorful metaphors into the doctrine of hell is Jesus. Then you get these ghastly descriptions of eternal destruction, however metaphorical they are.

For example, the end of Revelation 14 where the wicked are thrown into the winepress of God’s wrath and trodden under feet, and their blood comes out the holes of the bottom and rises to the height of a horse’s bridle for a distance of 180 miles. Now you try to convince me the God of the New Testament is presented as a softer, gentler kind of God.

So then you’re forced to ask the question, “Why is it, then, we think the God of the New Testament is gentler, kinder kind of God?” I think the reason is even today we are more afraid of temporal judgments than of eternal ones. We are more afraid of sickness, plague, war, and famine or a faltering economy than we are of hell, which is profoundly unrealistic.

Once you start seeing, therefore, the displays of God’s wrath in the Old Testament, which are essentially temporal, and the obliterating of nations for their paganism … the sin of the Amorites is not yet full, but once it is full, God comes in with destruction … are themselves low-grade demonstrations of God’s wrath as compared with the portrait of the wrath to come.

Then you start rehearsing some of the sermons of a Jonathan Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, and instead of laughing at it as being, “Oh, that old Puritan, right-wing bigot,” it’s hard to find a single sentence in any of his sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God that cannot be sanctioned by Scripture. The only reason we don’t see it is that, although hell is a creedal point for us, it doesn’t bite the way famine or a crashing economy does, which is a mark of unbelief.

If you put things within that sort of huge, cosmic frame then, likewise, the nature of our struggle is going to be a little different, too. David has to be concerned for the righteousness of the nation, but he has to be concerned for the borders of the nation. He has to be concerned for righteousness amongst the covenant community, but because the locus of the covenant community is the locus of the nation; therefore, his concern for justice is going to affect the court system. It’s going to affect whether people are corrupt or not.

When Solomon asks for wisdom.… Wisdom is a complex notion in the Old Testament. Wisdom often means something like administrative skill. Have you every asked yourself why Solomon asks for wisdom and ends up acting like such an idiot? If he was the wisest man who every lived, why did he end up with 700 wives and 300 concubines? Why was he so stupid?

The point is, wisdom is not a generic thing. Wisdom has different overtones. What he was asking for was administrative skill, judicial skill, and that he got. That’s why the next stories that are told, then, are how he handles the case of the two women coming before him, claiming that the one baby belongs to each of them. It’s superior wisdom in handling such things. He asks for the right thing.

He’s blessed by God for that sort of choice. He doesn’t ask for power, money, prestige, wealth, security. He asks for administrative skill as he takes on the role of being king over this people. He asks for the right thing, but that doesn’t mean he asks for holiness or godliness or faithfulness to the covenant. He misses all those kinds of things. But the point is the king is administering righteousness, but it’s also political and judicial. It’s legislative. It’s in the context of a nation. That’s the context in which it’s worked out.

You move to the New Testament, and the struggles are going to be different. Now the church is not identified with a nation, but that doesn’t mean there may not be enemies or defections. Now there is something we call excommunication, which at one level is far more serious. It’s the ultimate antitype of being cut off from amongst his people, to use the Old Testament Hebrew expression. It’s far more serious.

Within this framework, then, there are struggles against false ideologies and so on, so Paul’s aim in 2 Corinthians 10 is to take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ. That doesn’t mean.… The context shows he’s not thinking about individual, isolated stray thought: He has a sort of dirty thought over there, and he slaps it down. He wants to make it captive to Christ. No. He’s talking about every ideology. Every ideology is to be taken captive to Christ.

That involves huge struggle. Then you get the image of conflict in the book of Revelation where on the one hand Satan, described in Revelation 12, has his two beasts coming out of the sea and out of the land. They impose the mark of the Beast on their followers. Unless you have the mark of the Beast, then you can’t receive the blessings of the Beast. But Christ imposes his mark on the foreheads of his followers.

You either have Christ’s mark on you and then face the wrath of the Beast or you have the Beast’s mark on you and then face the wrath of Christ. That’s the way the whole book of Revelation works. That’s struggle. How do they conquer in chapter 12? Well, they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb. Christ has already done it; they trust what he has done.

That doesn’t mean they give their testimony a lot, but they proclaim, they bear witness to, they testify to, the gospel. They’re also willing to die. That’s how you struggle in this context. Then you’re really back into all the gospel terms of again, in Ephesians 6 and the armor of God, and so on. Do you see? Then look at the letters to the seven churches. Who overcomes?

The very language of overcoming bespeaks conflict, struggle, but the overcomers there are not the ones who sort of drift through life with a glorious, mountaintop-high experience so they never struggle with anything … they’re just right on the top all the time. Overcoming basically means you remain faithful to the end. In the context, where a lot of people aren’t remaining faithful to the end and where there’s struggle.

The first UCCF staff conference I spoke at many years ago was at Tyndale House. Do you know who was amongst the …? Roy Clements, Sue Brown, and a whole lot of others from that generation. I remember them still. There will be struggle. Pray God that no one here will go down that sort of path. Does that help at all?

I have a son who is a Marine. He has had troops under him die in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He’s one tough dude, but I tell him every once in a while the struggles I face are far tougher than he’ll ever understand until he leaves the Marines. Well, this is cheerful, isn’t it?

Male: [Inaudible]

Don: Well, you know, in other context, you must also speak of the joy of the Lord and being certain of who is going to win, and so many other themes as well. That’s right. That’s good. But all I’m saying is in our culture we have often overlooked this one, and we need to regain it. Let me close in prayer now.

Grant to us, Lord, attentive minds to understand your Word more faithfully and attentive hearts so we are swift to obey, an openness to hear all your Word says and to learn better how to integrate it into our living and thinking and how to teach it effectively and faithfully to another generation. Equip us, Lord God, with the equipping power of your Spirit.

Make us to understand in all we do, although we are called to struggle and to wrestle and to strive, we pray at the end of our lives we will be able to look back and say with the apostle, “I have fought the good fight. I have kept the faith.” Not because we have proven stronger than others but because in your grace you have sustained us. Though we are unprofitable servants, yet your grace has made us profitable. We beg of you this mercy for all those bowed here before you this day. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Is there enough evidence for us to believe the Gospels?

In an age of faith deconstruction and skepticism about the Bible’s authority, it’s common to hear claims that the Gospels are unreliable propaganda. And if the Gospels are shown to be historically unreliable, the whole foundation of Christianity begins to crumble.
But the Gospels are historically reliable. And the evidence for this is vast.
To learn about the evidence for the historical reliability of the four Gospels, click below to access a FREE eBook of Can We Trust the Gospels? written by New Testament scholar Peter J. Williams.