1 Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 “As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”
The general theme of this psalm is quite simple. The exaltation of the Lord’s messiah is the end for all worldly rulers. Earthly rulers who refuse to submit to God “plot in vain” (v. 1) only to be dashed to pieces (v. 9). This is not purely spiritual but earthly in nature against the “Anointed” of the Lord (v. 2).
This text is fulfilled alone in Christ (v. 7; Heb 1:5) who is opposed by many earthly powers. The response of the Lord to the governments and rulers who believe they are the authority in their land? Laughter and derision. For a time the Lord will relent in bringing His wrath. But eventually the wrath will be proclaimed in the exaltation of Jesus Christ upon His throne. This event has occurred (Eph 1:20-22) and yet remains to be fully inaugurated (1 Cor 15:24-28).