Psalm 2 asks; “Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot in vain?” The question is not one of worry, lament, misery, or distress. It is one of incredulity. It is asked from the perspective of someone in awe and wonder at sheer stupidity. The Psalmist asks, “Why and how could these idiots possibly plot and rebel against God?”
Of course, the stupidity in the rebellion lies in that it is a rebellion against God. The rebellion is stupid not only because God is all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere-present, and in control in every way. The rebellion is supremely ridiculous because it is a rebellion against love.
Psalm 2:3 voices the rebellion; “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” The desire of the mutiny is the overthrow of the restraints, the shackles, the chains of being a follower of God. This is how sin views God’s good commands. Sin views God’s commands as restrictive and not for our good. Sin says that God’s commands are only in place to keep us down, to limit us, to control us, and to keep us away from all the wonderful things our hearts desire. Like the serpent in Eden, rebellion says that God’s commands intentionally keep us from good things.
Hosea 11:4 (along with the rest of Scripture) tells a different story; “I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them.” Using the same language as Psalm 2:3, Hosea 11:4 is God’s view of His cords and bonds upon His people. God’s commands are kindness. They are for the purpose of feeding His people. They loosen burdens. They are life-giving. They are simply the expressions of His incredible love for His people.
By looking at Psalm 2:3 and Hosea 11:4, we see what the overthrow of God’s commands and presence really is: It is the overthrow of His love. Rebellion is ridiculous because it casts off the loving presence and care and wisdom of God. The nations rebel and plot against the love of God.
Our sin rebels and plots against the love of God. God has good commands for us about our relationships and forgiveness and forbearance and humility and reconciliation. Our sin rebels against that love, we seek our own way over against the good of others, and our relationships suffer. God has good commands about family life and submission and respect and sacrifice and gentleness. Our sin rebels against those loving commands, our families become dysfunctional, and we face the damaging consequences. God has good commands about worship and purity and holiness. Our sin rebels and creates idols and chases lusts and selfish desire, and our hearts are broken. In our rebellion against God’s loving bonds, we only succeed in hurting ourselves.
God is in every way loving, and His restraints are always for our good, so rebellion is always ridiculous. Paul, one who spent a good deal of his life raging against God’s love and plotting in vain, says this; “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Praise be to God, the Lord sent a Savior who loves stupid rebels, and saves them from their ridiculous rebellion.