Psalm 72

Endow the king with your justice, O God,
the royal son with your righteousness.
May he judge your people in righteousness,
your afflicted ones with justice.
May the mountains bring prosperity to the people,
the hills the fruit of righteousness.
May he defend the afflicted among the people
and save the children of the needy;
may he crush the oppressor.
May he endure as long as the sun,
as long as the moon, through all generations.
May he be like rain falling on a mown field,
like showers watering the earth.
In his days may the righteous flourish
and prosperity abound till the moon is no more.
May he rule from sea to sea
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
May the desert tribes bow before him
and his enemies lick the dust.
May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores
bring tribute to him.
May the kings of Sheba and Seba
present him gifts.
May all kings bow down to him
and all nations serve him.
For he will deliver the needy who cry out,
the afflicted who have no one to help.
He will take pity on the weak and the needy
and save the needy from death.
He will rescue them from oppression and violence,
for precious is their blood in his sight.
Long may he live!
May gold from Sheba be given him.
May people ever pray for him
and bless him all day long.
May grain abound throughout the land;
on the tops of the hills may it sway.
May the crops flourish like Lebanon
and thrive like the grass of the field.
May his name endure forever;
may it continue as long as the sun.
Then all nations will be blessed through him,
and they will call him blessed.
Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel,
who alone does marvelous deeds.
Praise be to his glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Amen and Amen.
This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse.

Psalm 72 is attributed to King Solomon, only one of two psalms attributed explicitly to him. The other is Psalm 127. This psalm —Psalm 72— paints a picture of an ideal king who rules with righteousness, justice, and compassion. He is a righteous ruler who brings peace, prosperity, and equity to the land. The psalm has obvious messianic undertones, and we see the fulfillment of this Messianic hope in Jesus.

Before commencing his ministry, Jesus declared his mission by quoting the prophet Isaiah. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me," he said, "because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 4:18-19).

This statement reflects the same compassionate and just mission described in Psalm 72. And Jesus embodied the qualities of the ideal king described in it. Jesus exemplified justice and righteousness in his interactions with the marginalized, the outcasts, and the oppressed. He stood up for the rights of the poor, healed the sick, and brought hope to those in despair.

Psalm 72 invites us to consider the qualities of a just and righteous leader, both in the context of ancient kingship and in contemporary leadership. Today, most leaders, even within the church, behave more like politicians seeking power and fulfilling their own agendas. We would do well to evaluate our attitudes and actions, examining how much we resemble Jesus in leadership style and performance.

God bless you.

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