Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to the royal son!
May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice!
Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness!
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the children of the needy,
and crush the oppressor!
May they fear you while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth!
In his days may the righteous flourish,
and peace abound, till the moon be no more! Psalm 72:1-7 ESV
Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. Jeremiah 23:5 ESV
France was in an uproar in the 1780s, and there were many reasons for this. One reason is that there were many crop failures in these years, and so there was a big shortage of food. Peasants from the countryside poured into Paris trying to find something to eat, and the city was very overcrowded. While many people didn’t have enough to eat, the king and queen of France lived in great luxury. Many people were very unhappy about this. There’s a story that Queen Marie Antoinette, when she heard that the peasants didn’t have enough bread to eat, said: “Let them eat cake!” She probably didn’t really say that, but the story shows that people didn’t trust her to care about their needs. Another problem was that there were heavy taxes, but the noble people didn’t have to pay taxes. Only the peasants, laborers, businessmen, and professionals had to pay taxes. Besides taxes, sometimes people had to do forced labor without pay for the nobles and the royalty. These problems and some others caused the French Revolution to break out in 1789. There had been no justice for the poor in France, and the king and queen ended up paying with their lives.
Psalm 72 talks about a different kind of king than the king and queen of France. This king asks God to give him justice and righteousness, and especially justice for the poor. The king asks that God would give success and wealth to the people through his rule, and that he would defend the cause of people who are poor and needy, and also punish people who oppress them. The king doesn’t only want a kingdom where people have justice and plenty. The purpose of the king’s rule is so that people would fear God, and live in peace and righteousness. People who fear God live God’s way, and that does good things for the kingdom.
God promised to send his people a king who would be very wise. He would rule with justice and righteousness, and bring peace. This peace would between God and his people, but the peace this king would bring would help people to fear God and live his way, and it would bring great blessings to the whole world. Jesus was the king God promised. He made peace between people and God by dying on the cross so that the sins that separated us from God could be forgiven. Jesus cares about the needs of the poor and oppressed, and his love is for all people, not only people who are rich or powerful or popular. The kings in David’s line all died, but Jesus rose from the dead and will live as our king as long as there will be a sun and a moon, and even longer than that. He is our king of justice and peace forever!
Dear Jesus, thank you for being a good king who brings us peace and righteousness. Amen.