Do me a favor and please read Psalm 72.
Well, we’re at the end of “Book II” of the psalms (42-72) and most of the psalms had this “call to deliverance” feel about them – which is why many consider this chunk of psalms the “Exodus” of the psalms. But our last psalm in this division is a new one – and yet absolutely fitting as a closer too.
I think many of us think of Solomon from 1 Kings 3 (16-28) where Solomon, in his wisdom, discovers the true mother of a child torn between two women – but before that we read Solomon’s simple request to God: Wisdom. Solomon, in his prayer to God as he sees all that is before him and the job he has to do with God’s people seeks God to bless him with wisdom, the knowledge of right and wrong, and the ability to make the right choices. This psalm, our psalm today, is a continuation of that hope and desire of Solomon. But where many commentators differ is if this is a psalm OF Solomon or FOR Solomon. That is – who the author was is up for debate (was this penned by David as he was dying, or by Solomon as he stood at the gates of kingship) but the intended person and hope is still the same. We could even argue that this is a “Christ” psalm – but we’ll get there.
David or Solomon – whomever we attribute this simply has one request: rain down your glorious attributes unto this man. Give him the wisdom you have to rule and make wise decisions and choices for his people. Give him passion and love for the oppressed and poor, to defend those who cannot defend themselves, and share with all whom the giver of all these gifts are – which is you, Lord. Finally – make his reign be from shore to shore, sea to mountain, and land to land. What helps us understand all of these requests is for us to simply remember that this was a request that was made back in 2 Samuel 7 and speaks of what is called the “Davidic Covenant”. So it’s really a plea for God to remember the promise that was made to David and his descendants – that God would bless David and put him on the throne for his people but then after David his line would continue. This line, if we recall, is the line that eventually comes to Jesus Christ. God would hold to his covenant with David.
This psalm is one of those that points its readers to the hope that David had in his line continuing, is a psalm that declares the type of people that God’s children should be, and the hope of the king to come – the type of King Jesus Christ is. And it is with these last two understandings that Christians should find themselves. Knowing Christ, knowing the type of King and leader he was, are WE emulating HIS attributes? Just as David was asking that God’s wisdom and love and justice-causes we too should seek those.
As a parent of two children myself I’m struck by David’s request from God upon his son. That he would be wise, compassionate, and a defender of the defenseless. So often we as parents talk about the type of children we want and yet so often we find ourselves maybe secretly wanting something else for them. Obviously David was NOT the best father, leader, or even the best person to emulate as one got older…but in his brokenness and humility God still worked with him, molded him, and found his passion and zeal to be valued. I’m pretty sure David also struggled with things of God and things of this world that he wanted of his children and yet he still had the deep-down understanding of what this all looked like. My wife and I have had numerous conversations with a good friend about our kids and how they are kind and compassionate towards others and that simply being “kind” and “good” is more valuable than sports, awards, or good grades. David’s hope for his son, a hope that is built off of who God is a good reminder that while I love the fact that my kids love music and get good grades and excel in their own sports (tennis or swimming) in the end that does not matter to me. My true desire? My deepest want of my kids? Be kind and compassion, full of grace, mercy, and kindness. Be love to people and show them what love looks like.
And why do I want this? Because this is really what makes the world go around. This is the only thing that will fight against the hate and evil that is so prevalent in our society. Emulating and living a life as Christ lived for us is what really makes each day living, fighting, and dying for. David may not have had the Messiah on his lips when he said this prayer but deep down it HAD to be part of his hope because David believed in the God who IS all of these things for his people.
May you and I, our children, children’s children and all others who profess the name of Jesus Christ LIVE lives that mirror our Savior and only our Savior. It is He who calls us to share in his kingdom and work it and the only way that is going to be is to live lives worthy of not only our calling but emulating Christ in all we say and do.