This psalm, in its references to both king and king’s son, brings immediately to mind David and Solomon. In this psalm attributed to King Solomon, the psalmist asks the Holy One for help. Let’s see what he seeks in his prayer-song. He seeks God’s faultless judgment. He asks that the king be a good person of sound judgment, particularly with regard to the impoverished citizens of the realm. He requests peace and righteousness. He desires his own ability to bring justice for the poor ones and for children who are in need. He asks to defeat those who oppress the poor ones.
The psalmist solicits a long life for himself and his administration—and a reign that will bring good things, like rain upon the earth. He asks that those who pursue goodness will have success and that peace prevail on earth “until the moon is no more.”
The psalmist notes the qualities desired in the new leader in a repetitive phrasing: righteousness, justice, peace. These are the qualities that support the king in his duty, the qualities valued by the people. And so the Son of David comes, bringing righteousness, justice, peace.
The community likely used this psalm when the nation crowned a new ruler, perhaps also on special anniversaries of the reign. What a great idea! Do you have a psalm that lists the intentions of your reign over your personal realm? For what characteristics would you pray? For the increase of what abilities and awarenesses would you ask? What will you plead for your children? Would you have the courage to return to the psalm each year on your anniversary to assess your progress and restate your interest in righteousness and goodness, kindness and peace, justice and good judgment?
Spirit of peace and beauty, help me to focus my life on peace and beauty. Remind me of my purposes and my intentions. May I align my words and actions with my psalm. Amen.
The Old Testament roots of Advent hope are cast in royal imagery. The psalm marks the king as one whose work is to bring justice to the weak. The new king makes a new world possible. The Gospel reading is both invitation and warn- ing that we must make concrete decisions to reorder our life in ways appropriate to God’s new intention. Characteristically Paul makes the grand, sweeping claim: The new behavior appropriate to God’s new governance is that the strong and the weak, the haves and have-nots, relate to each other in new faithfulness. Advent is spent pondering speci c decisions about bringing our daily life into sync with God’s rule.
• Read Isaiah 11:1-10. When do you allow yourself “fallow” time? How does that time of “resting” nurture your fruitful- ness?
• Read Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19. This prayer for the king expresses the qualities that the people desire in a leader. What would you add to the list?
• Read Romans 15:4-13. Paul notes that Christ welcomed you for the glory of God. Consider the last several months: Whom have you welcomed for the glory of God?
• Read Matthew 3:1-12. What is growing in your heart’s wil- derness this Advent season?
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