Kiss the Son

Scripture Focus: Psalm 2
1 Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
3 “Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
5 He rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
6 “I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
7 I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
8 Ask me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You will break them with a rod of iron;
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him. 

Reflection: Kiss the Son
By John Tillman

Psalm 2 has layered meanings about both earthly politics and spiritual realities.

One layer is a coronation song about a newly installed king. At times of transition, enemies inside or outside the kingdom tested or threatened new rulers. We see this in scripture in many places, including the transition from David to Solomon and from Solomon to Rehoboam. When read this way, the psalm seems to say, Don’t test me. God’s on my side. But it’s not that simple.

God is on the side of order and peace rather than insurrection or war but that does not mean he supports every human ruler. If that were true, the psalm wouldn’t shift to dire warnings for human kings. Parts of the psalm probably were originally intended as a warning against rebellion and disorder but other parts don’t fit for a human ruler and never did.

If you continue to read the rest of the psalm from this human viewpoint, it doesn’t line up with reality. God never promised David or any king they would rule the world. These parts of the psalm have transitioned from talking about a current human king on Jerusalem’s throne to a future ruler on a heavenly throne. It is less about a king now than the righteous king to come. 

As we read, we know Jesus has come. He is seated at God’s right hand and we are united with him through the Holy Spirit.

We are adopted sons and daughters of God. We are commanded to ask our Father that his will would be done on Earth as in Heaven. We pray for the salvation of the nations and weep over those broken by rebellion. As co-heirs with Christ, we are warned to serve with fear and trembling and to take refuge in him. These blessings and warnings are not just for kings of the past or politicians of the present. They are for us, the regents and ambassadors of the kingdom of God.

Heed these warnings and seek these blessings not with the hubris of kings or the violence of empires but with the humility of the servant king on the donkey and the love of the slain yet living Lamb of God.

Christ’s rule is not oppressive. Neither should ours be. His burden and yoke are easy and light. So should ours be. Come close, kiss the son, and become like him.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Let my mouth be full of your praise and your glory all the day long. — Psalm 71.8

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Job 23 (Listen 1:43)
Psalm 1-2 (Listen 2:05)

Read more about The King We Want
I’ve sent a king, God says
He rode in on a donkey
My servants prophesied him
You rebels crucified him

Read more about Pause To Read
Did you catch Friday’s podcast episode, Defining Moment? We pray it encourages anyone who feels labeled by a mistake. Share it with a friend who feels defined by a failure.

Blessed is the One :: A Guided Prayer

Psalm 1.1
Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked

Reflection: Blessed is the One :: A Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

As we enter our annual reading of the Psalms, we begin in prayer. Using Psalm 1 as a framework for understanding the working of the gospel in our lives.

Blessed is the One:
May we be among those who bless your name, Lord.
May we walk with you through the cheering crowds
Guiding a humble donkey that carries our king,
And also through the narrow streets of suffering, 
Carrying our cross, stepping in your bloody footprints of sacrifice.

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord

Lord, guide our walk, day to day 
Shape our steps, words, and actions
Differentiate our gait of faith from that of the world.
May our steps follow your grace.
May our words tell of your love.
May our actions emulate your servanthood and sacrifice.

Watch over our way, Lord, but we know that we stumble…

The Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction…
They are like chaff
    that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand

We are not blameless. We are not righteous.
When we honestly and humbly look in our hearts we find wickedness there.
Burn up our chaff with your breath
Separate us from sin so that we will not be separated from your presence.

Blessed is the one
    whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

We aspire, Lord, to fulfill this psalmist’s prayer.
We aspire to delight in your law.
We aspire to meditate day and night.

But we rely, Lord, not on our striving, but on Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the Blessed One, who delights in your law.
Jesus is the Blessed One, whose leaf does not wither.
We are merely grafted in branches, partaking of his righteousness.
Our fruit, our flourishing, and our faith are drawn up from his roots.
It is he who makes us prosper, and spreads the seed of his gospel over the earth.

Prayer: The Request for Presence
Give me the joy of your saving help again and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.  —  Psalm 51.13

Today’s Readings
Leviticus 4 (Listen – 5:17) 
Psalm 1-2 (Listen – 2:05)

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Read more In Praise of Christ’s Righteousness
Praise God we cannot be saved by the righteousness of humans. Imagine our difficulty finding one trustworthy enough.

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We are radioactive with sin. It vibrates out of us in ways that damage and harm us and anyone we come near.