Psalm 2: How to Kiss the King

Read Psalm 2.

The second psalm may have been written by David for his son Solomon’s coronation, but David had more than Solomon in mind when he penned these words. He looked forward to a future King who would rule in Jerusalem from his throne. He would be the King of kings, the promised Messiah.

Those who lived the New Testament recognized this psalm as being all about Jesus. In the book of Acts, the disciples in Jerusalem saw the plot against God’s anointed in verse 2 as a reference to the death of Jesus at the hands of Herod, Pilate, and the Jewish religious leaders (Acts 4:25–27). And later, Paul saw the resurrection of Christ in God’s declaration, “You are my son; today I have become your father” (Psalm 2:7; Acts 13:32–33). That’s not to say that Jesus was somehow “born” at a moment in time, but rather that at His resurrection everything Jesus claimed about Himself and His relationship to the Father was proven true—and with power (Romans 1:4). He was shown to be the Son promised to David, the one who would sit upon his throne forever (2 Samuel 7:12–16).

Psalm 2:12 says, “Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction.” In the ancient world, a kiss was a sign of dedication, allegiance, and loyalty. That’s why, for example, the people of Israel kissed the idols they worshiped, and it’s why the prophet Samuel kissed Saul when he anointed him king (Hosea 13:2; 1 Samuel 10:1). But the idols were only imitations of the true God, and all the kings of Israel and Judah were but fractured shadows of King Jesus, who alone deserves our undivided devotion.

The Gospels only record Jesus being kissed on two occasions. There was, of course, Judas’ kiss of betrayal, which echoes so very tragic as I read this psalm. Judas’ allegiance to Jesus was only pretend—a lie on the lips of a false friend—and his way did indeed lead to his own destruction.

But there was another kiss. Luke tells us about a time when Jesus was invited into the home of a Pharisee named Simon. While he was there, a notoriously sinful woman entered the house with an alabaster jar of perfume in her hands. She came up behind Jesus and began to weep. Since people reclined on the floor to eat in those days, her tears fell on the feet of the Lord. So, with her hair she cleaned them, and then she kissed the feet she found to be so precious, before pouring her perfume on them (Luke 7:36–38).

The kiss of the sinful woman, or rather the forgiven woman (Luke 7:48), is the sort of kiss Jesus wants, the only kiss fit for the true King. Anyone can kiss the Lord the way Judas did. Though our motives may be different than his, a kiss that’s anything less than total devotion—of love and loyalty—is itself a betrayal. But the woman in Simon’s house recognized Jesus and the mercy He offered to sinners like her. She received His love, and it had begun to change her from the inside out. Her kiss was not out of obligation, but was instead an overflow of what was bursting from her heart.

It’s almost as though David had this woman in mind when he wrote the final line of Psalm 2: “Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (v. 12). At the feet of her Savior, she found the perfect refuge from her past sins, her present shame, and her uncertain future—and she couldn’t help but kiss Him in response.

What is this all about?

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