And I want to invite you to Psalm 2 and we’re going to have a contest of whoever can name that song gets a special prize of bragging rights. That’s it, you just get your name engraved in fame here at ABC. I’m kidding. Who cares what that song is.
Psalm 2 is where we are. I want to say this for Psalm 2, by the way, if you want to know our church’s announcements, look in the bulletin. I don’t know what they are.
Psalm 2, let me set the precedence for this. Sorry. I got up here and realized my pulpit’s shaking, it’s got me way off base here. We need Psalm 2. I need Psalm 2. The truth of this Psalm, I long for my soul to resonate with what it says. And the reason is because to do what God has called us to in this world requires us to have faith in a big God. I think sometimes, especially in the version of American Christianity and what we are today, the reason that we don’t do what God calls us to is because our faith really isn’t in that big of a God. But when your faith rests in the God that scripture proclaims, I think it gives us a certain security to walk the path that the Lord leads us down.
Let me give you an example. When I think about passages of scripture where God calls his people, the premise for his calling on his people is solely based on his authority. The only reason we can do anything that God calls us to is not because of how great we are, but because of how great he is.
When you get to Matthew 28:19, the last thing Jesus says to his disciples, the Great Commission, “Go into all the world and make disciples.” That is a very difficult statement when you consider the expression of Christianity around the world. In America, you may face a little bit of struggle in coming to Jesus or trying to walk with Jesus with family and friends. But I think about other brothers and sisters in Christ around this world and what it might take for them to worship Jesus today. Go into the world and make disciples, and when you think about this Jesus and what we proclaim, this light comes against darkness, and darkness wars against that light. And there can be an expense to that.
So go into the world and make disciples, the only reason you would do that is because you believe your God, the God of light, is greater than the darkness you stand in front of. And the only reason, I think, that we have the authority to go into the world and make disciples is because of the next statement Jesus makes, which is, “And I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.” I even think of like in the Old Testament, one of the verses that God used to provoke my life into following him, I was a very timid kid, hated public speaking in grade school. If the teacher said, “Oral book report time,” I would be like, “I read the book, but I’m taking the F, because there ain’t no way I’m standing in front of those people and saying anything.”
But I remember reading Joshua 1:9 very early in my faith where Joshua assumes the position that Moses has and he leads Israel after Moses’ passing. Imagine those moments, those are big shoes to fill. Joshua’s probably timid and God says to him, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage, don’t be dismayed because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” It’s under the authority of such a big God that we’re able to do anything that he calls us to in this world. And it’s because of who he is that we have the opportunity to live for him.
That’s why Romans 8 gives you the promise that if God is for you, what can stand against you? I mean, you just sang that in one of the songs, right? And so the beauty of this God becomes significant in the way that we live our lives and how my faith is experienced in him. If you feel like life has kicked you around at all, or maybe even this week there was some adversity you faced, this Psalm, Psalm 2 is an incredible Psalm to see, not only this Psalm, but the idea of this Psalm resonates in scripture on your behalf as the goodness and glory of this God is made known in your life.
When you look at the Psalms, we’ve shared a little bit about the background of what Psalms are, but Psalms represent a beautiful section of scripture. There’s a 150 Psalms in the book of Psalms. Most sections of scripture when you study the Bible is God speaking to us, but what makes the Psalms such a powerful book is it’s really man’s response to God. It’s how we then respond to the goodness of who this God is and worship who he is and the understanding that he has given to us through the truth of him being made known.
These Psalms are poetry, 150 Psalms are written poetically. In fact, it’s Israel’s songbook, it’s Israel’s prayer book in song. But when we say poetry in Israel’s day, it doesn’t mean rhyming like you think of rhyming today, roses are red, violets are blue, blah, blah, blah, blah. However you want to write that, everyone likes to create some kind of clever thing to the end of the roses are red poem. But we like to rhyme, right? That’s what poetry is in some ways in our culture today. But in Israel’s culture it wasn’t about rhyming, it was about lining. They wrote lines that paralleled. First line and second line, they had to be succinct in some way. The first line was enhanced by the second line, or the second line became antithetical to the first line. But it was written in parallelism.
And it would follow that way through the Psalms, so if you read the Psalms, that’s what you see. First line written a certain way and the second line enforces the first line, or it’s the opposite of what’s expressed in the first line. And so that’s how Israel wrote their poetry.
These Psalms, the beauty of these Psalms teaches us really what an authentic relationship with God looks like. If you read the Psalms, what you see is it’s messy, but in the middle of that mess it’s surrendered worship. It’s truth to who we are what we face day to day as people. It teaches us how to worship in our own adversity. I think sometimes in life we tend to think that we’ve got to get ourselves together, we’ve got to be perfect before we come to God. Or at least make ourselves presentable before we come to God. And the Psalms just blow that thought out of the water. God’s not interested in that. What God is interested in is your heart.
In our lives, we tend to modify our behavior and then come to Jesus. But rather, Jesus doesn’t want you to modify your behavior, what he wants to do is transform your life. Because if he transforms your life, he modifies what you do because he changes the purpose for which you live your life. And so you come in the mess of that and you give your heart to God in worship and surrender, whatever that is, however that looks, whatever you present, Jesus wants that heart given wholly to him. And these Psalms present that in such a beautiful way.
And each of these Psalms are written for a purpose for all sorts of occasions. There’s Psalms of wisdom, which we saw last week in Psalm 1. There’s the Psalms of lamenting, there are Psalms of rejoicing, there are Psalms of struggle, there are Psalms that they sung during the holidays. And Psalm 2, what’s unique about the Psalm is the purpose of this Psalm is for Israel’s coronation day, the day Israel appointed a king. They even had a Psalm to sing when they appointed a king.
In fact, if I were just to take a Psalm that really highlighted that or a portion of this Psalm that highlighted that well, in Psalm 2, in the middle of this Psalm, it really identifies the thought of the coronation here when it says this, “But as for me,” God is saying this, “But as for me, I have installed my king upon my Zion, my holy mountain. I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord. He said to me,” now it’s the king saying what God said to him, which is, “You are my son, today I have begotten you.”
So Israel would sing this Psalm when they would present a king before the people. The interesting thing about this is the words that God uses to describe this king. He says, “You are son today, I have begotten you.” This phrase is really identifying with the promise that God gave his people in 2 Samuel 7:13-14. In that section of scripture, when God anoints David, what he tells David is that, “I will be a father to this king.” And when they would present this king before Israel, they would recognize him as a son because God was described as a father. So when it says that, “You are my son,” it’s recognizing the promise of 2 Samuel where God said he would be a father unto him. Israel would anoint their king, recognizing him as God’s choice.
Now I would say for the nation of Israel, this wasn’t always the case. Meaning, we studied in the life of Elijah that Israel very early on went into a civil war. They had Saul, David, Solomon, civil war. And really Israel didn’t wait for God to appoint kings, Israel appointed whoever they wanted to be king. But when God appointed a king, he anointed that king for that service. And so this Psalm was to be sung when God anointed that king to lead Israel.
But here’s the crazy thing about Psalm 2, truly this Psalm was sung when the anointing of an earthly king was made known in Israel’s day. This Psalm was intended for more than just an earthly king. In fact, David wrote Psalm 2 for the coronation that he had and coronations of Israel’s kings, but truthfully he is writing this Psalm, not to identify himself as king. But he’s using this Psalm as an opportunity that while he is king, to point Israel to the one true King, the King that they were waiting for. This big God who leads them to the brokenness of this world. Their ultimate King.
And the idea of Israel looking for this King, the precedent for that was set all the way back in the early portions of scripture. I mean, you think when God created us, the Bible tells us that he creates everything for his purpose, his glory, everything defined its existence in him. Then man rebels and God pursues. And in Genesis 3:15, he gives the promise. He says when man rebels that with Satan he’s going to put enmity between him and the woman, Satan’s seed and the woman’s seed. And the woman’s seed, he shall bruise the head of the serpent, Satan. And the serpent shall bruise him on the heel. What’s God promising here? That in the midst of sin, in the midst of rebellion, in the midst of the destruction that’s brought forth, God will bring one who will restore and bring peace back to the earth.
And when it says that he will put head on the serpent, what it is is the kingdom crushing the head of the authority of the kingdom of darkness. In the midst of that, he suffers a heel wound. A reflection of what Jesus would suffer on the cross.
And so when you start with the idea of understanding of this kingship and God’s pursuit to establish his authority again over this darkness, and you read in Psalm 2:1, it starts off like this, “Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take their counts together against the Lord and against his Anointed.” Notice the word anointed here is capitalized. Meaning it’s pointing to something bigger than just the earthly king.
It says, “Saying, Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us.” And so you continue to see perpetuated this lack of peace as kingdoms of this world represent the kingdoms of darkness. But there is one who is to come that is the King of light, he will be the anointed one that God desires to establish. And this is reflected in the promises throughout scripture. But if we just stay in the context of Genesis, look what God says, Genesis 49:10. He gives the promise to Israel, he says, “The scepter shall not depart from the tribe of Judah nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet until Shiloh comes. And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”
This word Shiloh means rest, meaning what they’re ultimately looking for is that one King who will deliver and restore peace and rest. In fact, in Genesis 12:3 it says this, “And I will bless those,” talking to Abraham, God says this to him, “I will bless those who bless you and the one who curses you, I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” How is this so? Because through Abraham will come a seed and he will be the deliverer. And in his deliverance, all people groups, all nations, all ethnicities, will be blessed under his authority and his reign.
So you see in Psalm 2:1-3, the nations raging against God. But then in chapter 4, God gives his response to this, he says, “He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then he will speak to them in his anger and terrify them in his fury.” Let me stop right there and say this, if I just think about the last 12 hours of my life, I would describe it as at the very least hectic. Had a few sick kids last night and everything that could be broken this morning was. Coming to church, it was a frenzy, right? And what happens when you get in that state in life? You stress out. You’re not in control, but you’re looking for the opportunity to be back in control. You spaz a little, I’m by nature, like, my first inclination is to spaz. My kids get hurt at home and I spaz, I can do blood on me, I can’t do blood on others. I spaz, the world falls apart.
But how does God respond? When the nations rage, when they shake their fists at this king, when that kingdom of darkness shakes its fist against God’s people, how does God respond? In a frenzy? Spaz? No. In verse 4, he laughs. To think that these heathens could rise up against this king. And so what does God do in verse 5? He reminds them of his authority and power. We think we’re great, we think we have all the strength, and then God steps in and he demonstrates who really is in control.
And in verse 6, “But as for me, I have installed my king upon Zion, my holy hill.” I love this statement because it’s in past tense. Think about this, the nations think they are in control of their destiny, as if they’ve won the battle against God. But what does God say? In the middle of a coronation, when a king is being installed, he speaks about it in past tense as if it’s already happened. Meaning when God says it, it’s as good as done. I love the way my kids always say this, God is faithful to his promises. Meaning when you study the things of God, if anything in this world, when you study the things of God, you are never wasting your time because what God says will be true.
The rest of the world can make all the promises that it wants, but God is the only one that can deliver. And so when God calls in this Old Testament that he will bring a king, this is past tense because it’s already as good as done and there isn’t a nation that can stop it. The nations rage, God laughs because his promises are that good. And what God is saying, all the way back to the days of Genesis, is that this will happen.
Then when you get to verse 7, it says this, “I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord. He said to me, You are my son, today I have begotten you.” So we’ve read this already about the coronation of the king. “You are my son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me and I will surely give the nations as your inheritance and the very ends of the earth as your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, you shall shatter them like earthenware. Now, therefore, oh kings, show discernment, take warning all judges of the earth.”
I like verse 10, let me just start with this verse and we’ll back up for a minute. God is in control, right? I said in the beginning, the only thing you could ever do, the only reason you could ever do what God calls you to do is because of the authority of who he is. And the reason we don’t do things that God calls us to do is because our God frankly isn’t that big in our minds or in our worship. But the truth is, he is. And when he talks about these nations and what they’re doing, verse 10, the good part of verse 10 is that it’s showing while God is presenting his authority and power, his ruling, his reigning, that in verse 10 he provides a place of grace saying, “Look, wake up. I am king. Show discernment, take warning, oh judges of the earth. You’re not who you think you are. That’s my place. I rule and reign.”
Now when you look at this Psalm, what makes this Psalm incredible and you think of the time of Israel, I want our mentality to think like the Jews would receive the Psalm over time. King David was a good king, he wrote Psalm 2, he was a good king, he was a powerful king. But David never fulfilled what this Psalm is expressing. David ruled, David reigned, David had power, but David never had the nations under him, or at least not all of them. And when Israel left from King David and continued on, it didn’t get any better. In fact, it got worse. And here they are looking at these promises of God, thinking God says through Judah there will come one who will rule and reign and all nations will under his authority. And they continue to see their people go in this trajectory of darkness and other nations rise up against them and take them into slavery, Assyria and Babylon.
In fact, you get to the end of the Old Testament and there’s 400 years of silence. Where are you? God, are your promises true? Where is this King that says he wins? Where is the victory? And then you get to the New Testament, and I’m not going to read all these verses, but here’s something I want to highlight for you. I want you to see this, something incredible happens in the New Testament because the authors of the New Testament takes Psalm 2, and I know this is a little bit smaller writing, I had to do this to fit it in. But they take Psalm 2 and all of a sudden they start quoting this Psalm over and over again, 18 times they quote this Psalm directly.
What are they declaring? They’re beginning to show us in the Psalm how the King has come. Could you imagine being Israel? You’ve seen devastation among your people. In fact, you’re not even ruling right now, Rome’s thumb is over you. And you think of the promise of this King that who is to come to delivery you among all nations? And to bless all nations? Out of all the places that this Psalm is quoted in the New Testament, my favorite is in the Gospels. If I just picked one of those Gospels, I would say my favorite out of all of those Gospels is Mark 1. Mark 1, think about this for a minute, God’s been silent for 400 years. David wrote this Psalm and they remember their history, the way it’s been told, this King that would come and deliver from all the way back to Genesis 3. David writes this Psalm, they reach their height and all of a sudden everything crumbles. God’s been silent for hundreds of years, a people of no hope. The darkness looks greater than the light.
Then all of a sudden you get to Mark 1 and John the Baptist begins the proclamation of one who is to come, of which John says is greater than him. In verse 8, he even says that he is unworthy to untie the one who is to come’s shoes. Now you think in John’s day what that means, right? When Jesus and his disciples would walk around, common attire, if you had shoes, were sandals. Roads were often dirt and animals walked those roads. I know we drive cars today and we might forget what happens when animals walk roads, but if you just hang around during the Lehi Days, you will find out. It is incredible in this city when they say we’re going to have a parade, how many horses come from who knows where to walk in that thing, right? And then if you’re not careful, you’re going to walk in the residue they leave behind. And if you do that in sandals, in between your toes gets pretty interesting.
You can imagine in Jesus’ day, when that person would walk into a home. I know if I were to do that and my wife were home, the kind of reception I would receive. And in Jesus’ day, it was the duty of slaves to take care of the guests when they came in the door and it was the duty of the lowest slave to take care of the feet and what they brought in from off those roads. And John says about the one who is to come, “I am unworthy to even untie his sandals.” After he says that in verse 8, Jesus appears. And he goes down with John into the waters and he’s baptized.
And in verse 11, look at this, guys, the first time God speaks to Israel in 400 years. Look what he says, “And a voice came out of the heavens and said, You are my beloved Son. In you I am well pleased.” Psalm 2:7, the King. Could you imagine if you were Israel? Psalm 2 was sung by God’s people. But here in this moment, at Jesus’ baptism, it’s not God’s people singing this song, it’s God himself singing this song over his people in recognition of who Jesus is in their lives. The King of Shiloh. The King of rest and peace. Make no mistake, Jesus understood exactly what was said about him as the Father anoints him as king over Israel, that’s what that baptism was. And in Psalm 2, they anointed a king. Jesus’ baptism, it’s the anointing of a king in recognition before God’s people who is.
And when Jesus finally opens his mouth to Israel and to teach the world, look what he says, his first words of pronouncement, “The time is fulfilled.” What’s fulfilled? Psalm 2. The time is fulfilled and look, “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” The kingdom has come. This idea of repent and believe is just to say to Israel, “Israel, whatever you’re trusting in, whether it be Rome, other nations, religion, whatever you’re finding your identity in, turn from that, trust in this, this is the Gospel or the good news.”
The way this worked in Jesus’ day is kings would go to battle. And when the kings would battle, the people of that kingdom would wait and just hold on to hope that was my king victorious? And when the king had finished the battle, the battle was complete, he would pick an apostle. And the apostle would run back, he would beat the army back into the town and he would herald the news. And if the king was victorious, it was the good news. If it was the bad news, it was like, “Look, other king won. You are now possessed by someone else.” But if your king wins, you’re victorious and you’re not slaves, you are free.
When Jesus proclaims the Gospel, the good news, why? Because past tense, remember, guys? When God declares it, it’s as good as done. Jesus comes and wins the victory for you. Sin, Satan, and death defeated on the cross. We win victory in Jesus, whether it be tomorrow seeing small victories, or ultimately in eternity, God works together all things for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose.
Now if were to take a step back for just a moment from this Psalm and to do more of a 10,000 foot view, I want us to know the Bible cares about what you think about Jesus. Meaning, if your God isn’t big enough, you will never do what God calls you to in this world. If you don’t see your God as greater than the things that you face, you won’t walk with him in faith. And so your idea of who God is, in light of him being King over kingdom and ruling all nations in authority and power becomes significant to how you pursue Jesus with your life. Your view of Christ matters.
And I love the way God teaches us about who he is in scripture. I think he does this in a way that’s experiential. You think in Israel’s day, this inauguration was important, right? I mean, you’re picking a king who is going to lead you until he dies. That inauguration day is significant, at least for a few decades in their history. But in the midst of learning about their earthly king, God experientially uses the identity of this earthly king in Psalm 2 to continue to point them to their heavenly King. God teaches us that way throughout all of scripture. I think the way that the Bible was put together in a lot of ways, it’s like this, Israel or in the New Testament, the church, they face problems, they have questions and God inspires someone to write the answers.
We tend to learn on a need to know basis as people. As a kid, the wonder of life is inspiring. But something happens to you when you get old. You quit so much wondering and being mesmerized by things and you start focusing on just getting the job done, right? You learn on a need to know basis. That’s why Google becomes second to God in your life, or YouTube maybe. Tell me how to fix this, YouTube. You learn when you need to know it. And God knows that our hearts are hungry to learn when we need to know it. Which is why in scripture when the Bible is talking about creation, it reflects on God being sustainer, creator, ruler. Or when the Bible talks about the pain of this world, it demonstrates that God who is just, forgiving, Savior, restorer, redeemer. God uses circumstances of which we encounter in life to really build on the significance of who he is in light of that.
Learning who God is is important. Who Jesus is is important. Many people in our country today, even though we’re in a post Christian time period, it’s still popular in our country today for people to call themselves Christian. It’s just sort of this label that we wear. I’m not trying to be negative towards that, I’m glad when at least people are favorable towards the thought of that. But let me just ask, just because you believe in a Jesus, does that make you Christian? Just because you believe in a Jesus, does that make you Christian? I know you might think that’s a trick question here, but let me just say it like this, and this isn’t offensive, I don’t think, to this people group, but Muslims believe in a Jesus. Are they Christian? I think if you were probably to tell them that, that would offend them. “You believe in a Jesus, therefore you’re a Christian.”
No, it’s not that you believe in a Jesus that makes you a Christian. But rather what you believe about Jesus. The truth of who Jesus is, the Bible cares about what you think about Jesus. In fact, John 8:24 says this, “Unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins. 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, Paul says this, “But I am afraid your minds will be led away from the simplicity and purity of the devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, you bear this beautifully.” Mark 24:5, Jesus said this, “For many will come in my name saying, I am the Christ, and will mislead many.”
Now I’m not telling you that to freak out, don’t spaz about that. If someone says to you, “I am a Christian,” cool. Great label. I think the more important question that we could just stop in those moments and ask rather than argue with anyone is just, “Well tell me what you think about Jesus. Who is Jesus?” Just look past the label for a minute, just talk about Jesus. Who is Jesus? Because what you truly believe about Jesus will determine how you live your life. If you look at the Connection Group questions this week, if you don’t have any, they’re in the bulletins, you can grab one when you leave. But the Connection Group questions, just the bottom of the questions, there’s just eight questions on the identity of Jesus and verse references for you. Just so you can see the significance of who Jesus is.
Because who Jesus is matters. Because what this Psalm proclaims is that this Jesus big enough to take the cares of the world upon himself and defeat sin, Satan, and death, to be that true king. And I would just go a little step further and say this, it’s not just in the sense that what you believe in Jesus in an intellectual assent, but rather what you surrender your life toward. So it’s one thing just to know the information about Jesus, but it’s a totally different thing to then give your life over to him and say, “You are the King.”
In fact, if you follow this theme of Jesus being King, I mean it rests throughout all of scripture, but at the last book of the Bible, in Revelation 17, look what it says in verse 14, “These,” talking about the nations, “will wage war against the Lamb,” the Lamb being Jesus, he was the Lamb led to the slaughter, died on the cross for our sins. “They will wage war against the Lamb and the Lamb will overcome them because,” look at this title, “he is Lord of lords and King of kings.” Psalm 2. “And those who are with him are called the chosen and the faithful.”
What we think about Jesus matters and so at the end of this Psalm, this is how it ends in verse 11 and 12, he says this, “Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling.” This idea of trembling is the recognition that when you stand before such power, it is humbling. Not one nation, not all nations can thwart his power. To be in the presence of such authority is humbling. It’s trembling. But rather, he says worship this, this is the point, rather than you fight, let Jesus fight for you. He wins. Shiloh. Rest. He wins. Life can be exhausting, right? Especially when we put it all on our shoulders, like it’s up to us. If Jesus said to his disciples, “Go into the world and make disciples, it’s all on you, fellas!” No, no. Rather rest in him. His victory is as good as won. He defeated it all. Worship. That’s what worship is. Resting under this King.
“Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage,” that’s another word for worship. It’s a word of intimacy, it literally is about to kiss toward. “To kiss toward the son that he not become angry and you perish in the way for his rather may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in him.” Now, I want to say this about his anger, I think I’ve talked about this recently, but when it talks about God’s anger, guys, it’s not like human anger. Human anger for us is we fly off the cuff and everyone look out. “I’m going to blow my lid if you do that one more time, boy!” Right? And then all of a sudden it’s pandemonium and everyone get out of your way. And you’re just as destructive as they were because you have just become as toxic and venomous back.
That’s not God’s wrath. God is long suffering. God knows when he will return and God will pour out his wrath, not because he loses his head, but because the king just says enough. And so what’s God doing? Well, in Mark 1, when Jesus declares the good news, he’s extending his grace. The good thing about Jesus is that he is a God of reconciliation and redemption. In the beginning of Genesis, what we see in Genesis 3 when it talks about one who will come and crush the head of the serpent, what we see is a God who is pursuing us to offer us redemption in his Son as he dies on the cross. God’s desire is reconciliation, to belong to that kingdom for which we were originally created. And so, at his first coming when he declares his kingdom, he’s extending to us grace and forgiveness. To be invited to belong to this kingdom because when he returns, justice against the darkness that wars against the light. All nations submit to him.
Put Jesus in the story, how blessed are all who take refuge in him. You are created to belong, to let this King fight for you. I, in thinking about this, let me just close with a couple of thoughts. The book of Revelation, the idea of the King and kingdom, book of Revelation talks about, in verse 10, starts talking about 24 elders. And I find that people often get confused over these 24 elders. In fact, people just get confused in general when they read the book of Revelation. But these 24 elders, I’ve seen lots of people talk about what they think this might be. I think one of the more popular things I’ve seen is like people start doing some math here and they’re like, “Okay, there are 12 apostles in the New Testament and there’s 12 tribes in the Old Testament and you add 12 plus 12 and that makes 24, so that’s what this is.” I don’t think that’s what this is.
What’s happening here in Revelation is that Jesus is seated in his heavenly temple, in his heavenly throne and the angels are around him giving glory. And the Bible’s the describing the 24 elders. And here’s the interesting thing about in Jesus’ day and John when Revelation is being written, in the Old Testament you had priests, right? In the New Testament you have priests too, but the New Testament priests are different. Old Testament there was a particular group of people that held the priestly line. In the New Testament, because of what Jesus did for us, the Bible says in 1 Peter 2:9 and on that we are all God’s priests, male, female, Jew, Gentile, it doesn’t matter. We all are being built up into a spiritual household, we all hold the priesthood. We’re all priests before the Lord.
And in Jesus’ day and John’s day, in the temple, in the earthly temple, it took 24 priests to carry out the function in that temple. In the New Testament, the church becomes the temple. What I think is happening in Revelation 4:9-11 is it’s describing now before the throne of God, this King in his glory, in his heavenly temple, God’s church being represented to these 24 priests. And so what it says here in this verse, look at this, “And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne, to him who lives forever and ever, the 24 elders will fall down before him who sits on the throne. They will worship him who lives forever and ever and they will cast their crowns before the throne saying, Worthy are you, oh Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things and because of your will they existed and were created.”
Now this crown isn’t like a king’s crown in this passage, this crown is more like a wreath. Sort of like if you ran a race or a competition during this day you would receive this wreath as a prize for winning the race. And in that prize you would receive glory from the people as they saw you touting the victor’s crown. But what do these people do? They take the crown for which they have received glory, and instead of them receiving glory, they removed the crown and they give the glory to the King who won the victory for them. Forever and ever, it says in this passage. Rather than letting that fight rest on them, they allowed the fight to rest in Jesus.
Who Jesus is matters. Letting Jesus fight for you matters. Psalms 2 is an incredible Psalm. We could never do what God calls us to do without faith and the ability that he possesses as the victor on our behalf.
We sang this song a little earlier, we talked about the God of heaven’s armies. Isaiah 6, and this is the last thing I’ll tell you, Isaiah 6, God poses a question, “Whom will I send and whom will go for us?” As God poses that question in Isaiah 6, Isaiah looks up and he sees a heavenly picture. When Isaiah sees the heavenly picture, what he describes is he sees the Lord of hosts in heaven, his train of his robe filling the heavens and the foundations of heaven shaking and smoke filling the presence of God and angels covering their faces and together angels crying out one to another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.”
That phrase, Lord of hosts, an interesting way to describe Jesus. What it literally means is a warrior King coming to do battle with his angels. Now what’s that warrior King doing battle against? Sin. And what’s that warrior King doing battle for? You. Seeing the identity of Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of lords is intended to be the place for your soul to find rest in him. Rather than fighting the battles yourself, knowing Jesus is enough. If your problems are reconciled today or reconciled tomorrow, rest assured because of the identity of Jesus and the faith that you put in the King who has won the battle, Jesus will reconcile all of that wrong, brought and made new in him.
Who Jesus is matters and when you believe in that God, God leads you to do great things for him.