“He who sits in the heavens laughs” Psalm ii.4
It is not very often that we run into a verse such as this in the Bible. God laughs! Surely, this shouldn’t surprise us. He who gave us the ability to laugh should be able to laugh. Yes, some will indeed object: Was not the Psalmist using anthropomorphic language when he described God has someone who “sits” and “laughs”? God is indeed spirit and there is no need for Him to “sit” down or rest. The message, however, is clear. God is “enthroned” in heaven. He is the Most High God. Yet, there are people who do not understand God’s sovereign power and will. Their rebellious actions make God laugh; the Lord holds them in derision.
The psalmist, King David (cf. Acts iv.25 ff), had written this psalm for the coronation of his son Solomon. While David was on his deathbed, people of distant lands that he had conquered plotted to rebel against Jerusalem. They said, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” (v.3) They were unaware that God had provided a worthy successor to David in Solomon. Therefore, their rebellion turned out to be against Yahweh and His anointed one (the ‘messiah,’ v.2).
The coronation of Solomon and the rebellion of the ‘nations’ were mere shadows of a greater reality that was to be unveiled a few centuries later. God had promised David that He would raise up one of his descendants to rule over Israel forever. God fulfilled this promise in Jesus after His resurrection. The apostles celebrated and proclaimed Jesus’ resurrection. It was not its value as another miracle that sustained this proclamation; it was their realization that the resurrection was just a precursor to a greater and glorious event – the coronation of Jesus as the “Anointed” King, Messiah/Christ. (See Acts ii.36 and xiii.32-33)
The Jewish authorities of those days had beaten Peter and John and commanded them not to proclaim Jesus. The apostles came together to seek God’s help. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, they quoted Psalm 2 when they petitioned God against the Jewish authorities who had risen against Jesus, the Lord’s Messiah (Acts iv.24-31). The apostles prayed: “And now, Lord, pay attention to their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your message with great courage, while you extend your hand to heal, and to bring about miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
This prayer was a bold confession of their belief that Jesus Christ, the rightful heir to David’s throne, was enthroned in heaven as the eternal King of kings. As Christ’s apostles, Peter and his companions knew that God had promised this Messiah “the ends of the earth” as His possession (Psalm ii.8). The Messiah would rule the nations with “a rod of iron.” In that case, no ruler or nation can prevent the growth of the Messiah’s global kingdom. As Peter and his friends cried out to God, the place where they had gathered shook! It was God’s way of affirming their faith in His promises regarding Messiah’s global kingdom.
As followers of this victorious Christ, we too can take comfort from the fact that God laughs at anyone who sets himself up against the Messiah’s mission. We can boldly call upon nations and their rulers to remind them to submit to Christ and His gospel.
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.