If we think of these two psalms that way, notice first that Psalm 1 tells us about the importance of reading all of the psalms in context with the rest of the Bible. If we want the blessing that verse 1 promises, we must find our joy, our delight, in all of Yahweh’s law. If we only pick up the Bible to read the psalms, even though we have good intentions like finding comfort in the midst of trials, verses 1-2 tell us how far we are from knowing God: “Blessed is the man who[se]… delight is in the law of the LORD” (Psalm 1:1-2), a reference to the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy). The law of the LORD is the basis for understanding all of the psalms. They were written by men who rejoiced in the law; they console and give comfort to those who know His word and obey it. As we read the psalms, let’s not forget this point of entry.
Psalm 2 prepares us for the importance of God’s Anointed in the psalms that follow. The Anointed, called the Messiah in Hebrew or the Christ in Greek, refers to someone who is anointed with oil, showing he is set apart by the LORD, His chosen instrument for the purpose of redeeming or rescuing His people, chosen to reign and govern in justice and righteousness (read 1 Samuel 16:1-13 to see an example from Israelite history). Historically, this title referred to King David or his descendant who reigned from the throne in Jerusalem, but the prophetic meaning of many of the verses about the Anointed point to a Being much greater and more glorious than King David, a physical descendent who at the same time is from eternity, Jesus Christ.
For example, the first verses of Psalm 2 tell us about a rebellion against Yahweh and His Anointed. “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.’” (Psalm 2:1-3) The rest of the psalm sings of Yahweh’s condemnation of their rebellion, His reaffirmation of the Anointed One and His warning that the kings love His Anointed with fear and trembling.
Notice that in Acts 4 in the New Testament, Jesus’ disciples understand these verses as a prophecy about Him. In prayer they say, “Through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’ – for truly in this city they were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place (Acts 4:25-28). According to Jesus’ disciples, King David was not the subject of the psalm as much as God’s means of communication, His mouthpiece through whom He instructed us about Jesus Christ, the Anointed par excellence, how He was to be rejected by the Jewish and Gentile leaders who crucified Him, and how He would be vindicated by the Father in His resurrection.
Therefore, from the double-doors of Psalms 1 and 2, we see the importance of reading the Psalms with our attention placed on all of God’s law, delighting in it in obedience, and at the same time submitting ourselves to His Chosen One. If we rejoice in God’s word and submit to His Anointed One, we are ready to enter into the Book of Psalms.