I see the first two Psalms as an introduction to the whole book of Psalms. Psalm 1 opens with the beatitude and blessings on the one man who wins favor with God and always prospers in everything he does and can stand in the day of God’s judgment. Psalm 2 ends with the Beatitude, “Blessed are those who take refuge in Him.” Since I see this as the introduction to the entire Psalter, I’m looking for the Messianic references in all the Psalms. The first Psalm teaches us about God’s one and only Son, who has perfectly fulfilled all righteousness. In the Gospels, God opened the heavens and spoke how his beloved son was well-pleasing to Him. No one has had that pronouncement, yet Psalm 2 ends with a beatitude blessing all those (plural) who take refuge in Him, the Son. All of us can be the person of Psalm one, not by obeying perfectly! We’ve already failed in that measure. But we can have a “well-pleasing” pronouncement from God through humbling ourselves in repentance and putting our hope not in our good works but the character and work of Jesus Christ.

It’s essential to notice that the introduction of each Psalm is part of the Biblical text. Psalm 3 tells us that David wrote this song and that it was produced on a particular occasion. It says, “A Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom, his son.” In 2 Samuel, we get the story of Absalom rebelling against his father, David, while attempting to take the throne for himself. David wanted to forgive his son out of his deep love, but his general chased Absalom down and killed him, and brought the good news back to David. David did not rejoice at the death of his enemy. His enemy was his own son. Instead, we read in 2 Samuel 18:33, “And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, ‘O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!’”

David loved his son so much that he would have died in his place. How could David love such a rebellious son? Wiersbe says it well, “But neither did he want the army to fight his son! Absalom had stood at the gate in Jerusalem and attacked his father (15:1–6); now, David stood at a city gate and instructed the soldiers to go easy on Absalom. Absalom certainly hadn’t been gentle with his father! He had murdered Amnon, driven David out of Jerusalem, seized his throne, violated David’s concubines, and now he was out to kill David. That doesn’t sound like the kind of man you would want to protect, but if David had one fault, it was pampering his sons (1 Kings 1:5–6; see 1 Sam. 3:13). But before we criticize David, we must remember that he was a man after God’s own heart. Let’s be thankful that our Father in heaven hasn’t dealt with us according to our sins (Ps. 103:1–14). In His grace, He gives us what we don’t deserve, and in His mercy, He doesn’t give us what we do deserve. Jesus didn’t deserve to die, for He was sinless, yet He took the punishment that belonged to us. What a Savior!”[1]

[1] Wiersbe, Warren W. 2002. Be Restored. “Be” Commentary Series. Colorado Springs, CO: Victor.