Rejoice With Trembling: The Proper Response to the Anointed of the LORD

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
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.

Psalm 2:11-12

God has His people. In the Old Testament, He redeemed a people, bringing them out of bondage in Egypt. In doing so, He created a nation. This nation was to have a king. This was not to be a king like other nations, but a king of God’s appointing. The king of Israel is anointed of God. He is God’s representative, His servant. For someone to come against the king was, in essence, to oppose God. The king was not someone with whom to trifle. Israel longed for the Messiah. We sometimes forget that Messiah and Christ are interchangeable, both meaning “Anointed One”. Therefore, when we speak of Jesus Christ, we speak of the King. Jesus is the fulfillment of the longing of Israel for a proper king.

When we read this passage in Psalm 2, we read this as a characteristic of Jesus Himself. To oppose Jesus is to oppose God. Any ruler of the earth will reckon with their treatment of Jesus. Approaching King Jesus must be done fearfully. What a tension is held in that command: Rejoice with trembling. Knowing that the one you approach has been given all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). Paul writes,

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11).

Concerning the consummation, John writes,

“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, ‘Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.’ And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.” (Revelation 19:11-21)

We flee unto Christ, rejoicing with trembling. Our only hope is in the one who has the power to destroy us. Therefore, let us, who have been born again of God, sing the inspired words of Paul:

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” (Romans 8:31-34)