God’s Faithful Word of Justice and Peace
Psalm 72: This psalm is an intercessory prayer for the king, with petitions for the king’s righteous judgment, long life, and worldwide rule that is marked by justice.
Teach the king to judge with your righteousness, O God; share with him your own justice.
1Teach the king to judge with your righteousness, O God;
share with him your own justice,
2so that he will rule over your people with justice
and govern the oppressed with righteousness.
3May the land enjoy prosperity;
may it experience righteousness.
4May the king judge the poor fairly;
may he help the needy
and defeat their oppressors.
5May your people worship you as long as the sun shines,
as long as the moon gives light, for ages to come.
6May the king be like rain on the fields,
like showers falling on the land.
7May righteousness flourish in his lifetime,
and may prosperity last as long as the moon gives light.
8 His kingdom will reach from sea to sea,
from the Euphrates to the ends of the earth.
9The peoples of the desert will bow down before him;
his enemies will throw themselves to the ground.
10The kings of Spain and of the islands will offer him gifts;
the kings of Sheba and Seba will bring him offerings.
11All kings will bow down before him;
all nations will serve him.
12He rescues the poor who call to him,
and those who are needy and neglected.
13He has pity on the weak and poor;
he saves the lives of those in need.
14He rescues them from oppression and violence;
their lives are precious to him.
15Long live the king!
May he be given gold from Sheba;
may prayers be said for him at all times;
may God's blessings be on him always!
16May there be plenty of grain in the land;
may the hills be covered with crops,
as fruitful as those of Lebanon.
May the cities be filled with people,
like fields full of grass.
17May the king's name never be forgotten;
may his fame last as long as the sun.
May all nations ask God to bless them
as he has blessed the king.
18Praise the Lord, the God of Israel!
He alone does these wonderful things.
19Praise his glorious name forever!
May his glory fill the whole world.
20This is the end of the prayers of David son of Jesse.
The petitions in this psalm read almost like a job description for a king. What verses indicate how a king should rule? Are any of these petitions relevant for leaders today? What petitions resonate most with you? Why? You may wish to compare Psalm 72 with the way the prophet Samuel had described the treatment the Israelites would receive from a king (see 1 Samuel 8:11-18). What differences can you identify?
Righteous and loving God, I will praise your glorious name forever. May all nations seek your blessing, may your justice flourish throughout the earth, and may your glory fill the whole world. Amen.
Psalm 73: An affirmation of God’s justice and care.