Ep.163: Psalm 72: Politics and the Poor.

Hello. I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”. 

Psalm 72 is a royal psalm, a psalm about the king of Israel. Part of the king’s job was to represent God to the people by keeping God’s covenant and by creating a just political and economic system. The psalm uses hyperbole to express the king’s greatness: he is compared to the sun and the moon and mountains and rain. The poet prays that the king’s rule will extend from sea to sea, and from the River (v. 8, probably the Euphrates) to the ends of the earth. He prays that the king will reign as long as the sun and moon rule the skies.

One of the king’s responsibilities was to show God’s heart for the poor and needy, for the disadvantaged and the oppressed. His God-given goal was to create a government that constrains the greedy rich and sustains those without resources. God’s desire, expressed through the king, was a socially responsible economy, not a free market where the rich lobby the government to protect their acquisitive greed, leaving the poor defenceless and fending for themselves. The king was not to be a power-hungry, narcissistic, self-promoting despot. He was supposed to be God’s servant for the well-being of the country. 

How far ancient Israel strayed from that vision. How far our world has strayed from that vision of good government.

Let’s pray. 

Our father, with the poet we pray:
    May the mountains bring peace to the people,
        and the hills the fruit of righteousness (v. 3).
The majestic Rocky Mountains with their green foothills and emerald lakes watch over our land, reminding us that you watch over our lives, bringing peace and prosperity. Be our guard, our guide, our source of beauty.

The poet says of the king,
    May he be like rain falling on a mown field, 
        like showers watering the earth (v. 6).
Teach our rulers that true strength is not acquiring and hoarding power, but in building a nation of peace and justice. May our leaders be like showers that water the earth, not like acid rain that impoverishes and destroys. 

The poet describes the king’s care for the poor: 
    He will take pity on the weak and the needy
       and save them from death.
    He will rescue them from oppression and violence,
       for precious is their blood in his sight (vv. 13-14). 

Our father, in your sight the blood of the poor is precious. Every street person dying of fentanyl overdose, every indigenous person harmed by police violence, every pensioner killed by COVID, every woman scarred by domestic violence: each of these lives is precious in your sight, Lord. Rescue them from oppression and violence. Rescue our society. 

We remember those forced by COVID into unemployment. We remember immigrants and the poorly paid working in COVID infected meat packing plants. We remember the aged facing the pandemic in nursing homes.We remember the poor in India and Brazil in crowded slums without money or jobs or food. 

As COVID forces millions into desperate poverty, Lord, increase your care for them through wise leaders of the type our psalm prescribed for Israel.. 

We remember your promise to Abraham (Gen 12:1-3), which Psalm 72 applies to the king:
    All nations will be blessed through you,
      and they will call you blessed.
Our father, in our time, may the nations bless each other, instead of cursing and blaming and building walls. We look to that time when your king will reign, blessing every nation with wise and compassionate government. 


I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.