I’ve been back at work for the past several weeks and have been meditating on this verse a lot over that time. It is really a loaded verse to me and I keep hitting these checks along the way in my treatment of this Psalm. I’m getting hung up by the severity we see in Psalm 2:9 and I was attempting to lay some groundwork with the last entry, I was thinking about going off on another line, but as it stands I believe that the Lord wants me to wade into this at this point:
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
What ever happened to?
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
Now all of a sudden we are talking about an iron rod shattering people like brittle pottery in the context of prophecy being fulfilled under the new covenant? The covenant of grace? As if that wasn’t enough He repeats it to John the Revelator:
And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
So what is this saying? Lets first focus on what the Bible has to say about iron, the first time it is used allegorically is in Leviticus:
And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.
God is communicating through Moses that unless His people listen and obey Him they will receive punishment, that God will break their power and spend their strength on vanity. (Anyone have a look at the national debt clock lately?) Iron here is referring to judgement, particularly for disobedience.
Now lets look at rod. I think this is the amazing one.
And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:
The rod is an instrument of deliverance, it’s a sign and it’s a tool. In this case it also became a serpent and then (when taken at the tail) became a rod again. Let that soak in a minute. A serpent AND and instrument of deliverance? Pretty weird. Later we see Aaron (who becomes High Priest) casting down his rod and it becoming a serpent as well, later it buds as if to start growing again, eventually it made it’s way into the Ark of the Covenant.
The rod is also referred to as an instrument of punishment or chastisement:
Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me:
In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
David saw it as a source of comfort:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Interesting. David a man after God’s own heart considers the rod as something beneficial. Consider the whole of Psalm 2 again, who is this Psalm primarily talking about? It’s talking about the Lord and His anointed, His covenant people starting in verse 2:
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
Jehovah, the Father and Lord, surely His “anointed” here found in the original Hebrew to mean Messiah is His Son, Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, right? Hold on lets see what “they” say:
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
Wait, plural? Yes, plural. Meaning Christ, of which we are a part, a many-membered body.
If there is any doubt that the anointed, the Christ, about which David is prophesying here John can help us out:
But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star.
So that same promise that is given to the Lord’s anointed in the Old Testament book of Psalms is given again here as a promise to the Church if they keep His works until the end and overcome? Again, stop and think about this. What does that mean?
Who is the Lord’s anointed? When they ask of the Lord for their inheritance what are they going to receive? The “uttermost parts of the Earth”? The heathen?
Again, consider this. Who is promised to inherit the entire earth, the heathen and rule them with a rod of iron? Who was David prophesying in agreement with the red-letter words of Jesus Christ in Revelation of? David and Jesus were talking about the Church!
There is a lot to digest here. The Church, operating under the grace of God ruling with an instrument of deliverance and judgment? The Church holding the rod representing the authority of God? Maybe it’s through the outworking of grace and the great mercy that God has shown us that we will be able to bear the weight of that rod, precisely because we more than the rest of creation will know His great love and justice.
We’ll only be fit if the corruptible puts on incorruption, only when we through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the flesh completely, then He will call us sons and joint-heirs:
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.