At CCRC we are endeavouring to learn/focus on a Psalm or song each month. Psalm 72 – “O Lord, Thy Judgements Give the King” from the Cantus Christi hymnal is June’s song of the month. Below is a meditation for this month’s Psalm.
Meditation on Psalm 72
– A Psalm for Solomon –
Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son. He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.
He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.
In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.
For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.
And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised. There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they ofthe city shall flourish like grass of the earth.
His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed. Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.
– The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended. –
Originally Psalm 72 would have been a prayer for the coronation (“anointing”) of Solomon. Enduring-kingship is a repeated theme: verse 11 – Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him; verse 17 – His name shall endure for ever.
Note how David’s prayer for his son is not selfish or self-serving; David asks for God to give the king thy judgments . . . and thy righteousness unto the king’s son (verse 1), and the motivation behind this prayer is in order that Solomon might be a servant-king, endowed with wisdom, thus, enabled to judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment (verse 2). David prays this prayer for Solomon because David is a man after God’s own heart. David loves Israel, and when he is gone he wants Israel to be cared for by a good king. David knows that if the king is righteous then the people will be righteous and flourish (verse 7).
Solomon did become a wise king. 1 Kings 4:30-31 says, And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. Solomon, however, was not perfect, and later on in 1 Kings many of his moral failures are recorded. Because of Solomon’s sin eventually (after his death) the kingdom was torn in two.
Psalm 72, however, is not only a prayer for Solomon, it is also a prophecy regarding a different king—the Messiah. Jesus Christ is the anointed-king who truly has an enduring-kingship. He not only binds broken Israel back together post-Exile, but Christ also binds broken man back together (see Isaiah 57:19; Ephesians 2:17; Galatians 3:27-28). David prayed for Solomon to be a servant-king, and Solomon was, but only in part. However, Jesus Christ is the son of David who fulfilled David’s prayer. Consider just verses 1-8:
- Jesus is the son of David to whom righteousness is given (verse 1, see Isaiah 11; Matthew 1:1 & 3:17).
- Jesus judges people with righteousness (verse 2, see Matthew 25:32).
- Jesus uses mountains to bring peace to people (verse 3, see Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7; see also the crucifixion at Golgotha, the little hill called Calvary, in Matthew 27).
- Jesus saves the children of the needy, and breaks in pieces the oppressor (verse 4, see Psalm 2).
- Jesus is feared throughout all generations (verse 5, see Habakkuk 2:14).
- Jesus enduring-kingship is a life-giving rain that will water the entire earth (verse 6, see John 7:38).
- Jesus ensures that the righteous will flourish, that is, the Church will multiply and get dominion (verse 7, see Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).
- Jesus’ enduring-kingdom will extend from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth (verse 8, see Daniel 2:44-45).
Psalm 72 ought to be one of the most joyful songs sung by the Church of Christ. In this song we are proclaiming the righteousness of King Jesus, the redemption he secures for men, and both the arrival and the permanence of the Kingdom of God. Truly Christ’s redemptive work was once for all (Hebrews 10:10), therefore, with faith we hope for things unseen: we victoriously celebrate Christ’s enduring-kingship, both here and now, all-the-while anticipating the consummation of eternal life when we will sit down at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9).
In 1 Corinthians 13:12 Paul says, For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. Today when Christians sing Psalm 72 it is a prayer that we know will be answered in full, but it in praying this prayer it is like seeing through a glass darkly. However, when Christians sing Psalm 72:19 at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb – And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen and Amen – it will be face to face with God. Changed from glory to glory, what once was our prayer will have been changed into enduring-praise that proclaims the attributes of Christ’s enduring-kingdom!