The Reign of the Lord’s Anointed

1. Why do the heathen rage in foolish pride?
    And with their vain imaginings deride?
The kings and rulers set themselves as one
    Against the Lord, His church, and His Anointed Son.
“Let us renounce that hated law,” they cry,
    “Unfetter men, cast off the heav’nly tie.”
But He who walks above with watchful eye
    Smiles at their folly, as He passes by.

2. When time is ripe He speaks with words that burn,
    Reproving those who from his presence turn.
The men of mischief shall His vengeance feel,
    As worthless vessels break upon the potter’s wheel.
Yet do I trust my King on Zion’s hill,
    His newborn pow’r to do th’eternal will;
This world, the heathen buy and sell with greed,
    He will possess and all His holy seed.

3. O kings of Earth, attend me and be wise;
    Take my instruction, you that wisdom prize.
With unfeign’d rev’rence serve and fear the Lord
    And tremble at the wonder of His solemn word.
His message hear, lest in a night of wrath
    You lose your guide and wander from the path.
When thunder threatens and the torn skies blaze,
    The trustful still will calmly walk His ways.


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This is a psalm about Christ’s victory over the kingdoms of the world, which is yet future, and will be accomplished by the purifying of His church from sin, through His mediation in heaven as High Priest, and then by the protection of His church from the persecution of Babylon the Great.

God’s solution to this last crisis are the messages given in the second part of Revelation 14, which culminates in a people who “keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” They are a commandment-keeping people, who respect God’s authority and Law, and recognize it as the way of life. To them it is no burden, but a joy. Through the “faith of Jesus” they are brought into harmony with that sacred law, and it is no longer an “impossible standard.”

On the other side are the united powers of apostate church (Babylon the Great, mother of harlots), and the kingdoms of the world. These powers want to cast away the the “cords” and “bands” of God’s kingdom. To them, the Law is a restriction and slavery. It hinders their desire to hoard riches, and to exalt themselves. They want a gospel that makes excuses for sin.

Therefore, they do not see their own disharmony with God’s Law as a problem. Yet it is this very disharmony (and their teaching of it via church doctrine) that has caused the problems that exist in the world. Instead, like Cain, they look to blame someone else, and eventually, the faithful people of God (who are pointing to the real cause), are singled out.

This battle will escalate into the final conflict between Christ and Satan, not fought with weapons of carnal warfare, but with spiritual teachings, ideas, and lifestyles.


About the music: the origin of the melody used for the Genevan version of Psalm 2 is unknown. Calvin included it in his first Psalter, published in 1539, which was to be followed by quite a few more expanded Psalters in the years to follow. At the time of this first publishing, he was in Strasbourg, and according to Wikipedia:

Most of the melodies therein were familiar tunes used in the German church in Strasbourg at that time. Some of these melodies were presumably composed by Wolfgang Dachstein or Matthias Greiter.

In any case, the tune fits very well to the text. This lovely polyphonic arrangement by Goudimel really brings the words to life.

About the text: This metrical version was mainly taken from “The Unquenched Cup” a 20th century adaptation of the Psalms by Willard Grimes. Most of the poems in this book were written while he was serving as a Colonel in the Second World War. They are of the highest quality and devotion.

As with Psalm 1, I’ve taken some liberties with the text, and adapted it to speak more clearly to the issues of our times. But for comparison, here is Grimes’ original:

Pray tell me why the unbelievers rage
    And faithful followers meditate in vain?
The worldly-minded are entrenched again
    And plot against man’s holy heritage.

“Let us renounce religion’s cords,” they cry,
    “Unfetter men—cast off the heavenly tie.”
But he who walks above with watchful eye
    Smiles at their foolishness and passes by.

When time is ripe he speaks with words that burn,
Reproving those who from his presence turn.

Radiant my King upon his holy hill I see,
    And, when I humbly listen for his voice,
I hear again his comforting decree,—
    “Thou art forevermore my choice,
    Today anew have I begotten thee.”

“Ask good of me and I will grant thee more
    Than all the doubting misers hold in store.
For all the hidden secrets of the Earth
    Were given thee in trust upon thy birth.”

They who do mischief shall his vengeance feel,
As worthless vessels break upon the wheel.

O kings of Earth, attend me and be wise;
    Take my instructing, ye that will assize.
With reverence unfeigned uphold the Lord
    And marvel at the wonder of his word.

Accept his messenger lest in a night of wrath
    You lose your guide and wander from the path.
When thunder threatens and the torn skies blaze,
    Still will the trustful calmly walk his ways.


A Lower Key

The version above is set in Em. This makes the soprano go up to high-E, which most soprano voices shouldn’t have difficulty with; but if men are singing the part, they might find this a bit high. So I’ve prepared another version transposed down to Dm, and offer it here. Bear in mind though that the Alto is driven down to it’s bottom range by this (hitting low F and even E once!):


Playback

Instrumental – Sampled Sounds


Download

MP3 – Instrumental PDF PNG
MIDI XML EPS
TXT SIB7 / SIB3 SVG

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