Monday, October 13, 2008

Psalm 72 - The Just and Righteous King

LINK: Psalm 72

BACKGROUND

Psalm 72 ends Book II of Psalms.

The title at the beginning of the psalm reads, “A Psalm of Solomon.” The consensus of opinion seems to be that Solomon is the author of this psalm and that in some early version of Psalms all of David’s psalms were grouped in the first two books of Psalms, which is why verse 20 says, “The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.” Some commentators, however, especially older ones, believe that this is a prayer of David and that perhaps Solomon is named in the title because he’s the one who wrote it down. I’m not sure it matters – it doesn’t to me – but I thought I should mention it. There’s certainly no doubt that the psalm is about Solomon, at least on the surface.

This psalm is a prayer asking for God’s blessing on the king of Israel, Solomon, who was to reflect God’s character to His people. God, the true ruler, is the source of justice and righteousness and the kings of Israel were supposed reflect those traits to their people. As we read further in 1 and 2 Kings, we’ll have a chance to evaluate just how well the kings did!

If you look at the language of this psalm there are parts that point to the Messiah - to Jesus Christ, and there are parts that point to Solomon. This is one of those psalms with a clear double meaning. It is a prayer for Solomon, but it also clearly points to the Messiah – the ultimate and final Ruler, the one from whom Solomon’s power derived. So “this is a prophetic psalm, in which Christ is typified by Solomon, whose name means ‘peace’.” (Search the Scriptures, 243)

REFLECTION/APPLICATION

“Take me there!” That was my first thought after reading this psalm. We are in the midst of an economic crisis where people’s greed is being exposed and economic security is threatened. Here in the U.S. we are in the last throes of presidential election campaigns, with each candidate trying to convince us that his policies are the ones that will work and give peace and prosperity to our country. I doubt that any candidate will usher in a new era of peace and justice. I’m ready for the kingdom of Psalm 72!

The only Ruler who can truly promise peace and righteousness and justice (as well as mercy and abundance) is Jesus. We can taste those now, even in the midst of the conflicts and needs of this life. Someday we will know them completely. Someday everyone will know that Jesus is King and Lord.

Are you poor and needy? This psalm reminds me of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” God longs for us to be poor and needy so that He can deliver us and fill us with His abundance.

“His name shall endure forever;/… Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel,/ Who only does wondrous things!/ And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory./ Amen and Amen.” (18-19)

Who is your Ruler? Where do you turn when you are needy? There is only one kingdom that will last forever. There is only one Ruler who fulfills all His promises. His name is Jesus.

Can you take the time to read this psalm again?

PRAYER

“Blessed be the Lord God …who only does wondrous things!” Help us to put our trust in You. We thank you for being a King who cares for us. We pray for this country that we live in for awhile. We are needy, though we often don’t realize it. Help us to pursue goodness and mercy and truth. Raise up humble leaders who reflect Your righteousness and justice. Most of all, Lord, we pray that You will do what is best for Your kingdom, for Your Name.
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