December 4, 2013

Peace from the King

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 (NRSV)
DEVOTIONAL:

As contemporary people, I believe that many of us aren’t sure what to make of the role of kings in our lives. For many people, kings are only historical persons, and even in countries where monarchs exist, they are often more figureheads than legislative authorities. This makes it difficult for us to deeply resonate with the idea of Christ as King, although we can certainly see many glimmers in our lives of what that kingship might mean. Personally, I tend to think first of bowing before the King, and trying to live my life in fidelity to Christ as my King.

But Psalm 72 emphasizes a completely different aspect of kingship — the flourishing of justice and peace in a country ruled by a monarch after God’s own heart. The psalmist petitions God to strengthen the king for the express purpose of bringing righteousness and justice to the land. As that happens, even the land itself will bring forth the means for just and prosperous lives for all. This ripple effect moving out from the king’s decrees is likened to steady, life-giving rains, which stands in direct contrast to the images that mark many other Scripture passages of drought and desolation resulting from ungodly monarchs. And of course, if a human monarch can cause this degree of life-giving change, our King Jesus can bring that in its fullness. The wonder of Advent, of course, is that we celebrate the ongoing arrival of this new vitality, even in the dark seasons of our lives. With the psalmist we pray, “blessed be God’s glorious name forever; may God’s glory fill the whole earth. Amen and Amen!”

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 (NRSV)

Prayer for Guidance and Support for the King
Of Solomon.
Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king’s son.
May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice.
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness.
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy,
and crush the oppressor.
May he live 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 righteousness flourish
and peace abound, until the moon is no more.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.
Blessed be his glorious name for ever;
may his glory fill the whole earth. Amen and Amen.

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Comments (3)

  1. Great message, Jonathon. I appreciate the imagery in this Psalm of the relationship between Christ the King to the land, the earth and life-giving rain. “God strengthens the King … bringing righteousness and justice to the land … bringing forth just and prosperous lives for all.” An encouraging thought on this rainy December morning.

    Melissa Kinsey December 4, 2013 |
  2. Thank you, Jonathon. Peace from our King – an encouraging reality, standing in contrast to another headline that I read this morning; “Top 10 Ways the US Is the Most Corrupt Country in the World”. Blessed be the Lord; may His glory fill the whole earth!

    Dale December 4, 2013 |
  3. Thank you, Jonathon, for this Advent offering. I plan on using it for my science classes at Philadelphia Mennonite High School. With many of my students being skeptical of science textbooks and research especially with regard to issues like Climate Change, it’s a challenge for me to help them make meaningful connections regarding our earthly land, how we use/abuse it, etc. and our Christian faith. So, I’m grateful and find it helpful to have thoughtful and well-written pieces from brothers and sisters in the field of science from other Mennonite institutions who offer insight to one’s faith journey and reading of the Bible.

    Kent Beck December 4, 2013 |