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Devotional

Psalm 72

The King Who Rules in Righteousness

In Psalm 72, we see that the righteous ruler David hoped for finally came in Jesus. He is the ultimate king over the world, and the one who unites all nations under him.

What’s Happening?

Psalm 72 is one of only two psalms attributed to Solomon, King David’s son and successor. David hoped Solomon would establish God’s Kingdom on the earth. And David told his son that if he followed God’s commands, he and his kingdom would flourish forever (1 Kings 2:3-4). So Solomon asks God to empower him to follow his commands, judge fairly, and rule justly on behalf of the poor (Psalm 72:1-2). And in response to this righteousness, Solomon prays that God’s gifts of prosperity, peace, and wholeness will cover the land (Psalm 72:3). 

Solomon hopes his good reign will last as long as the sun and moon (Psalm 72:5). He prays that those he rules over will be rewarded for their righteousness by flourishing forever (Psalm 72:7). Solomon hopes his kingship will be like rain, making possible new life and goodness for all in his kingdom (Psalm 72:6). 

Borrowing language from the creation story, Solomon prays he will rule, like Adam, over the entire earth (Psalm 72:8; Genesis 1:28). He prays that all kings and tribes will bring him gifts and bow before his power (Psalm 72:9-12). But this global dominance is leveraged on behalf of the needy (Psalm 72:12) Solomon prays his global leadership will provide for the poor and respond to the needs of the oppressed on a global scale (Psalm 72:13-14).

Solomon then leads his kingdom into a final prayer (Psalm 72:15-16). Reworking God’s promise to Abraham, he prays the divisions that exist between nations will end and an eternal era of blessing, prosperity, peace, and wholeness will begin (Psalm 72:17).

Then, to mark the end of the second book of Psalms, a short hymn is added to the end of Solomon’s prayer. It praises the God who lives forever, and hopes for a day when his name and kingdom fill the entire earth (Psalm 72:18-19).

Where is the Gospel?

Sadly, Solomon did not follow his father’s advice. Solomon did not establish the Kingdom of God and he did not complete the promises God made to Adam and Abraham. But Solomon’s prayer for a king empowered to judge fairly, rule justly on behalf of the poor, and fulfill the promises God made to Abraham and Adam was answered in Jesus. 

Like a true son of David, Jesus followed his Father’s command and even died to save his people (John 5:19). Jesus’ inaugural address promised prosperity, peace, and wholeness to all who were oppressed (Luke 4:18-19). Like rain, Jesus’ kingly acts made goodness and new life grow wherever he went. He healed the blind, fed the hungry, and preached good news to the poor (Matthew 11:5). Even his grave became a womb, bringing new life out of it. All the needy, poor, and oppressed who call out to Jesus are given the prosperity, peace, and wholeness David hoped for his son (Matthew 5:3-10). 

And right now, like Adam, Jesus is the ruler over the entire earth (Philippians 2:9). People from all nations and languages bow to King Jesus in recognition of his sacrifice and the justice his Kingdom brings (Revelation 7:9-10). Jesus has also made God’s promise to Abraham come true. United in worship, the divisions that exist between nations and people are ending (Galatians 3:28). Jesus’ eternal era of blessing, prosperity, peace, and wholeness has begun. Right now we are living in the Kingdom of God. And the good news is, it will continue for as long as the sun and the moon exist. 

See for Yourself

I pray that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to see the God who judges fairly and rules justly. And may you see Jesus as the one who rules an eternal Kingdom of blessing, prosperity, peace, and wholeness.

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