“Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
‘Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.’
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
‘As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill….’
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.” Psalm 2:1-6,10-11
There are many earthly kings, and one Heavenly King, and the psalmist takes a heavenly perspective on both. The contrast in description is vivid. The earthly attitude is almost humorous, if it were not so prevalent and stubbornly held. On our human plane, kings and leaders confer and gather, strutting their (limited) power and (temporal) authority as though they actually were sovereign, and think they can shake off any higher power or influence. Their positions may be high here below, but God’s throne is higher, and He rules supreme.
Any time we have authority, or are in a position of decision-making or influence over people and processes, we are still under the King of kings. Whenever we are called to lead, or put ourselves in a place to manage others who would serve our bidding, we are still under the Lord of lords. Any such role comes from God alone. He has entrusted to us dominion over His earth, and we are accountable to Him alone for how we exercise that stewardship. (Genesis 1:26; Psalm 8:4-6; 1 Timothy 6:15-16; Revelation 17:14; 19:16)
For us to be wise, we must be warned. Rather than connive and attempt to manipulate, to maneuver ourselves to better advantage or a more important title, we would do best as ‘kings of our world’ to worship the One who reigns over all. It is on our knees before Him, in fear, dependence, and rejoicing, that we learn best how to handle wisely and graciously any authority He has conferred on us.
“Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His Beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose – and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin.” ~William Temple (1939)
Whether we rage and live in vain, or serve the Lord reverently and joyfully, is determined by the height of our view of God, and the depth of our submission to His Lordship. Where do I stand? When do I kneel? And how fully do I bow?
“To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17)