Scene 6 - "The world and its rulers reject the Gospel"
40. Aria (Bass) or Aria and Recitative
Why do the nations so furiously rage together: and why do the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against His Anointed. (Psalm 2:1, 2, Acts 4:25-26, Book of Common Prayer)
Note: This is a "rage" aria with fast notes on the strings in the introduction that mimic agitation. Notice the emphasis on RAGE when the bass sings!
Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us. (Psalm 2:3)
Note: Verse 3 is the voice of the nations. There is a voice of daring arrogance in the music of the chorus. They really think they can get away with their rebellion!
In the last scene, the Gospel was going out to the whole world; but in this scene, the whole world does not accept the message.
Psalm 2 is a royal psalm along with Psalms 18, 20-21, 45, 72, 89, 101, 110, 132, and 144. It celebrates the coronation of a Jewish king and the rebellion of vassal nations that hoped to gain freedom. A vassal nation is one who is subservient to the ruling nation. Often nations became vassals through conquest, becoming servants and paying tribute.
This royal psalm is written by David (Acts 4:25) and might have been written as a result of the defeat of the Philistines (2 Samuel 5:17-25), Moabites (8:1-14), Ammonites, and Arameans (10:1-19). Those nations who rose up against David, God's anointed, were defeated.
Psalm 2 is also a Messianic psalm along with Psalms 8, 16, 22, 40, 41, 45, 68, 69, 102, 110, and 118. (Only Psalm 2 and 45 are both royal and Messianic.) It is considered a Messianic psalm if it is quoted in the New Testament and refers to Jesus.
Psalm 2 is the most quoted (or alluded to) Psalm in the New Testament (Matthew 3:17; 7:23; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35; John 1:49; Acts 5:25-26; 13:33; Philippians 2:12; Hebrews 1:2,5, 5:5; Revelation 2:26-27; 11:18; 12:5; 19:15). That is why it is so appropriate for the libretto of Messiah.
The Message paraphrase puts Psalm 2:1-3 this way:
Why the big noise, nations?
Why the mean plots, peoples?
Earth-leaders push for position,
Demagogues and delegates meet for summit talks,The God-deniers, the Messiah-defiers:
“Let’s get free of God!
Cast loose from Messiah!”
Why do people rebel against God? Warren Wiersbe says it so well:
David didn’t expect a reply when he asked this question, because there really is no reply. It was an expression of astonishment: “When you consider all that the Lord has done for the nations, how can they rebel against Him!” God has provided for their basic needs (Acts 14:15–17), guided them, kept them alive, and sent a Savior to bring forgiveness and eternal life (Acts 17:24–31; see Dan. 4:32). Yet, from the tower of Babel (Gen. 11) to the crucifixion of Christ (Acts 4:21–31) to the battle of Armageddon (Rev. 19:11ff), the Bible records humanity’s foolish and futile rebellions against the will of the Creator.
Be worshipful (1st ed.). “Be” Commentary Series (17)SOUL SEARCHING
"The first duty of every soul is to
find not its freedom but its Master."
(Scottish Theologian, 1848-1921)
Quote from Positive Preaching and the Modern Mind, p. 28
I have to continue quoting Warren Wiersbe because it is so good:
The kings and minor rulers form a conspiracy to break the bonds that the Lord has established for their own good. The picture is that of a stubborn and raging animal, trying to break the cords that bind the yoke to its body (Jer. 5:5; 27:2). But the attempt is futile (vain) because the only true freedom comes from submitting to God and doing His will [emphasis mine]. Freedom without authority is anarchy, and anarchy destroys. I once saw a bit of graffiti that said, “All authority destroys creativity.” What folly! Authority is what releases and develops creativity, whether it’s a musician, an athlete, or a surgeon. Apart from submitting to the authority of truth and law, there can be no true creativity. The British theologian P. T. Forsyth wrote, “The first duty of every soul is to find not its freedom but its Master.”
Be worshipful (1st ed.). “Be” Commentary Series (17)Submitting to God frees us. Jesus said, "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:30). There is no need to cast off His yoke!
Search your heart and ask God to reveal any areas of rebellion. Do you truly believe God's way is the best way? Do you try to do things your own way? How is that working for you?
Maybe you have expectations about how your holiday should go. Can you let go of those expectations and let God be God no matter what happens?
Take on His easy yoke today.