On one of my recent trips to Canada, I sat down in a restaurant to look at their menu. It was more like a catalogue. It was several pages thick and had way too many options. It was hard to make a decision. I guess I’ve become used to a more limited range of choices in Europe. It’s not unusual to visit a restaurant for lunch and be offered three choices – take it or leave it. That can often simplify matters.
We generally think that having more choices is a good thing. According to some research, having the choice of 31 flavors at the ice cream shop doesn’t make us any happier. In his book, The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz says that we imagine that more options mean more freedom. Most people tend to think that limitless freedom is a good thing. However, it leaves most people dissatisfied with their choice.
The quest for limitless freedom is often sought in spiritual matters as well. Many people don’t want to commit to any particular belief, but rather pick and choose the views that fit their lifestyle. The writer of Psalm 2 asks, “Why do the nations rage and the people plot in vain?” (Psalm 2:1) He goes on to talk about how our fallen nature tends to rebel against God or the idea of submitting to God. We want more choice, so nations (the people) turn from the things of God in an attempt to be free.
The Psalmist reminds us and then warns us that we really only have two choices in this regard: we can embrace God and his anointed one (Jesus), or we can resist him and face the consequences. This is a hard message for people in the 21st century to hear.
Psalm 1 is about the blessings of following God. Psalm 2 is about the dangers of rebelling against God. Those are our choices, and “blessed are all who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 2:12)