The Ancient Decree of Psalm 2
By Matt Lockett
Having the privilege to live and minister in Washington, DC is both thrilling and sobering. It is no stretch of the imagination to think of DC as the most powerful city in the globe given that it serves as governmental headquarters of the most prosperous, powerful and influential nation in modern history. DC is the constant focal point of the daily news and the destination of ambassadors, dignitaries, celebrities and lobbyists. Special interest groups from every walk of life descend on this city on an ongoing basis. Not only that, but its home to the Pentagon where our nation’s global military efforts are coordinated. Is it any coincidence that there are more spies in the city of Washington, DC than in any other city in the earth?
In terms of prayer and ministry, why is Washington, DC important? It’s because God loves government. Throughout the ages the Lord has always intricately worked his divine will for humanity through the lives of kings and rulers. In fact, according to Romans 13:1-5, no human governing authority exists without his express permission and purpose. The Apostle Paul went on to explain that the governing authorities whom God allows are also bound to a divine ideal instituted by God for the purpose of restraining lawlessness and punishing wickedness.
While no human form of government can be perfect, there remains ongoing opportunity for government to align with God’s purposes which always involve establishing righteousness and justice. There are times, however, when governing leaders and governmental systems actually rebel against the heavenly ideal. Instead of upholding Godly values, they choose to form laws that oppress the weakest among us and even legalize the destruction of their lives. Psalm 94:20 speaks of a government in rebellion against the purposes of Romans 13.
Can a corrupt throne be allied with you—one that brings on misery by its decrees? They band together against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death.
The challenge to the body of Christ in moments like these is to break internal agreement in areas where government legislates rebellion. The United States of America is a republic. That means that instead of kings and a monarchy the supreme authority is held by the people themselves who elect their representatives. The experiment of democracy is relatively new in the earth, and with it has come a challenging prospect. No longer can a lone ruler be singularly responsible for governmental rebellion against God’s ideals. Instead, the blame is shared by not only the elected leader but also by all those who gave them permission to be there.
The warning of Psalm 94 has profound implications for the society that casts votes for their governing representation. This city is home to an elected President and a second home for 535 members of Congress. This constantly changing rotation of leaders is a window into the condition of the corporate spirit of the nation. Politics are a “lagging indicator” of the culture. Abraham Lincoln said, “Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government, practically just so much.”
We understand, then, that when it comes to government in this nation there is shared responsibility. The people are responsible for the leaders they elect, and the leaders themselves are responsible for the decisions they make. Nevertheless, at times a well-meaning politician may gain the votes needed from the people, but later they fail to represent the will of those people. The city of Washington, DC seems to have a corrupting quality to it that manages to challenge even the most respectable among us.
Rebelling Against the Divine Ideal
This brings us to Psalm 2. It is a picture of governing leaders who are in the process of rebelling against the Lord.
Why do the nations conspire (or rage) and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One (Jesus). “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters.” (verses 1-3)
This picture of governmental insurrection is utterly futile from God’s perspective. God longs for governmental leaders to lay down their rebellion. If only they knew the reality of His absolute and unchallenged authority.
The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.” (verses 4-6)
The unseen truth is that the Father has already given the highest position in heaven AND earth to a holy king. His throne is already established even now. What happens next in the passage is of great importance. A proclamation is made concerning this holy king and his true identity. With it comes an invitation to break from any agreement with rebellious earthly rulers and join in agreement with an ancient decree.
I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” (verses 7-9)
A Holy King
The glorious reality revealed here is that Jesus Christ is that holy King. Right now there is one seated on a very real throne, and it is the God-man Jesus. The one who is fully God stepped out of eternity and put on flesh to become fully man. He came, died for our sins to redeem mankind, and rose again. He is exalted to the highest place and has been given a name above every other name (Philippians 2:9). Regardless of mankind’s geography, it was the Father’s good pleasure to give all the nations of the earth to Jesus for it was by his own blood that he purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation (Revelation 5:9). His absolute rulership is already set, and soon he will return to the earth again to establish his throne on Mount Zion in Jerusalem for all to see. Isaiah 2:2-3 describes what will take place on the Lord’s holy hill.
In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
When Jesus made his entrance into the world as an unassuming baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, he came with the assured promise of Isaiah 9:6-7.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
The Persistent Invitation
Today the people of the United States face this shocking scene, and in particular those who would presume to be the power players of Washington, DC. The ancient decree of Christ’s rulership comes with a sober warning to governmental leadership. This warning is a forerunner message to be prayed and delivered by faithful witnesses who have come into agreement with Christ’s supreme authority.
Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (verses 10-12)
In moments of governmental rebellion, Jesus remains committed to the prospect that governmental leaders and systems can choose to align with him. Thankfully he is merciful, patient and long suffering. The result of aligning with him is guaranteed blessing. This holds true for both the individual governmental leader and the people who vote according to righteousness and justice.
In this nation, we must embrace a call to prayer for the shifting of culture and the reformation of society which is nothing less than revival and great awakening. At the same time it is imperative that specific prayer and intercession for our governing authorities be made a priority according to 1 Timothy 2:1-4.
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
In the movings and shakings of politics and public policy, we must prayerfully lay hold of the promise of Proverbs 21:1.
The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.
Let the governmental rebellion end and alignment come with righteousness and justice. As citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20) and ambassadors of our supreme holy King (2 Corinthians 5:20) we can stand in Washington, DC and declare with complete confidence, “There’s a hill above Capitol Hill.” Let it be declared faithfully for all to hear.
A full-time missionary, Matt Lockett serves as Executive Director of Justice House of Prayer DC and Bound4LIFE International. He and his wife Kim live in the Washington, DC area with their four children. Formerly he had a career in advertising and marketing; these days, he really wishes he had paid more attention in government class. Follow @MattLockett on Twitter.