1 Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, 3 “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.”
4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. 5 He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, 6 “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”
7 I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. 8 Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
10 Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. 12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
Today's Psalm is most likely written by David, one of the greatest kings of Israel. Though there can be some application with the historical kings of Israel, like David, this is clearly a reference to Jesus, the Christ. The word "Christ" means "anointed One".
Though both the nations and kings of the earth oppose this Christ Jesus, God laughs from heaven at the absurdity of this. It is not as if these earthly powers can change the will of the Almighty One. It is a joke that mere mortals think that they are in control. In truth, God has given authority to His Son to rule over the nations both now and forever. God is not impressed!
To those who "kiss" or "bow down" to the Son, there will be a refuge. But to those who fail to recognize the authority the Son has been given by God, do so at their own peril.
What does this mean? No matter how much power one has on earth, we still are accountable to God. We see on the news people who think they have absolute power, like the current North Korean dictator. And, for a while, he may have some limited power over those who he rules. However, like every other ruler, he will eventually bow down to Christ. And as the psalmist warns, God's wrath can flare in a moment and can lead to destruction.
Most of us have been given some type of power, whether that be at home or at work. But all of our authority comes from God. We will all be accountable to him for what we do with this power. One day that King will come back down from heaven and establish His reign over all people. To those who bowed down to him in this life, they will have eternal life. To those who haven't their end is destruction.
I think this is summed up well by the verse, "Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling."