“The most basic problem for the county of H. is deep poverty. Children form more than half the population, and most live in poverty…H. has more…garbage dump children than any nation in the Americas. Violent gangs exploit vulnerable children as members and sex workers. H. has 60% of Central America’s AIDS patients. Organized crime and…gangs link with drug cartels and hold power in society. Pray for moral courage…pray for righteousness, and for wise government that works equally for rich and poor.”
Sadly, I read these words recently in the Operation World App which provides information concerning all the nations of the world suggesting ways to pray for them. Even sadder is the fact that these words could be written concerning far too many nations in our world.
No wonder the psalmist in Psalm 72 wrote the prayer we are about to read concerning the future King in Israel.
1 Endow the king with your justice, O God,
the royal son with your righteousness.
2 May he judge your people in righteousness,
your afflicted ones with justice.
3 May the mountains bring prosperity to the people,
the hills the fruit of righteousness.
4 May he defend the afflicted among the people
and save the children of the needy;
may he crush the oppressor…
7 In his days may the righteous flourish
and prosperity abound till the moon is no more.
Just imagine the difference in a country like H. if such a person or government were in power! So, we prayed that God would have mercy on the people of H. and that He would raise up such leaders to rule.
If you live in a country where there are valid and fair elections for government, what is it you look for in the candidates. What about someone who will rule with God’s justice and do the right thing according to God’s clear standards in His Word? Do you consider how he/she will treat those on the very edges of society? Will that person defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy, [and even] crush the oppressor? Of course, the one attribute we usually have no trouble with is if he/she will seek to bring prosperity to the people. But, does that mean ALL people, both rich and poor?
Maybe as you read this prayer psalm, you think that it is really a bit too idealistic? And possibly it is. Has there ever been such a ruler or government that measured up to this lofty standard? And, if so, how long did it last before corruption set in?
Commentators suggest that this psalm is part prayer and part prophecy. It is possible that this psalm was written by David to be read on the coronation of his son Solomon. Wilcock says, “In one sense he [the psalmist] is concerned primarily with his own time. He gives God’s people a liturgy for an enthronement ceremony in Jerusalem.” And, in some ways there were some similarities to how Solomon ruled (at least early in his reign). That’s the prayer part.
So, what about the prophecy part? Wilcock continues, “In another sense the kingship of Christ is primary – [in fact it is] the primary concern of all Scripture…everything right and good about the Israelite monarchy foreshadowed Messiah’s kingdom.”
In summary: “We see that this psalm is in a broader sense both prayer and prophecy. As originally composed, it is a prayer for use presumably at the enthronement of an Israelite king – Solomon…in the 10th century BC…[but] it is also a prophecy: it prophecies ‘something greater than Solomon’ [Matthew 12:42], the reign of Messiah, which was to begin a thousand years later and has been growing ever since.” (# 5)
Consider the mandate of Jesus at the beginning of his ministry when he quoted the words of Isaiah 61:1-2
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4:18-19)
Then in Matthew we read that Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:23)
Later we read that people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. (Matthew 19:13-15)
In the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John in a vision hears the sound of a trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)
Father, how desperately this world needs leaders who will lead justly and righteously, considering others before themselves. In particular to protect the most vulnerable and poor and the children. We know ultimately though we need you to come and rule in our lives, and in our sick, sad world. We wait impatiently for that day when you shall reign for ever and ever. Amen.