The Gateway to Praise in the Psalms

Psalm 1 and Psalm 2

give a preview, a trailer,

... of the Lord’s intended purposes for the Book of Psalms.  Acting as opening gateway-pillars, these two Psalms show us the trail head as we trek through them all until we reach Psalm 150. 

Why take them as unit? Psalm 1:1 begins,

“Blessed is the man who…”

and then there’s Psalm 2:12 as it finishes,

“…Blessed are all who…”

That’s the signature of grace for the church—we know the Lord in his abundant grace and blessing.

Psalm 1: we’re blessed to walk with the Lord.

Psalm 2: we’re blessed as taking refuge under the enthroned Lord, just as kings and princes should.

First, let’s take up Psalm 2.

Psalm 2 depicts the David-like warrior-king who is subduing rebellious enemies who refuse to acknowledge his authority (and this passage is mentioned in Hebrews 2); this Son plays the man—the new Adam, who reigns over the nations of men, in this way exercising dominion with a view to shepherd all peoples.

Psalm 2:6-12  6 "As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill."  7 I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you.  8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.  9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."  10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth.  11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.  12 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.

The Son subdues and progressively takes down every rule and every authority and power (see 2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

As a song, this enthronement means drawing sinners to worship, and it expands the choir loft for more voices of praise! This singing of the Son’s enthronement advances the gospel work of the church.  Here is the gospel: the atonement of our Savior and his enthronement overall—ascended and seated in glory.

Now, note Psalm 1.

This Psalm rolls out the law. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.”

This song is the song of God’s precepts and commandments. The lyrics serve as a guide and a hedge. Singing the commandments etch them in the memory and the heart—as a delight for meditation.

A warning comes in this psalm. It begins in the negative—“…who walks not, [who] does not stand, [who] does not sit…” Why a warning and an admonishment? Because of our propensity to fall headlong into sin remains.  The sinful world around us has a song of its own. The world’s lyrics communicate worldly expressions of half-truths for beliefs and half-comforts of guidance for day to day living. And we are easily lured away into temptation; and if not resistant, to stand against the temptation, we will yield to sin.

Nevertheless, the psalm serves as a guide for the walk of the believer who aims to praise and serve the LORD in every area of life—he meditates on the law day and night, as something that guides him the whole of his waking hours and for all aspects of life.  

Both Psalms direct our faith to Jesus Christ. He is the law-keeper for us; and he is the Deliverer-King for us. In this way, Jesus lives out the law in his obedience to the Father and he gives his life to die and be raised as the Almighty Lord and God. Here is law and gospel perfectly blended in Christ.

Psalms 1 and 2, the gateway to the whole Book of Psalms, show us the life of worship to which we are called. We sing the word and we sing to the enthroned Lord who is worthy of praise.  With this start to our trek and adventure, we journey through the Psalms to the end—to Psalm 150, the crescendo of praise, where we’re told everything that has breath is to praise the Lord!