Date: 12/5/04
Text: Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
Title: Behold Your King
Theme: In the Advent Season, we look forward to the coming of the King.

When the wise men from the east arrived at Jerusalem, looking for Jesus, they asked, “where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?” At the end of his life on earth, Jesus was brought before Pilate and charged that he claimed to be the Christ; meaning king. Pilate referred to Jesus as king of the Jews. When Jesus was nailed on the cross, there was a note with these words, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
Advent is preparation for the birth of Messiah, who was the king, prophet and priest. The entire OT period, its teaching and ceremonies pointed to the coming of the Messiah, the king. A quick reading of Psalm 72 gives the impression this is a prayer for a king’s coronation or a president’s inauguration. Therefore, on this 2nd Sunday in Advent, it is appropriate to use Psalm 72 as our text for this morning’s message.
Psalm 72 is a prayer by king David for his son, Solomon. However, a closer reading suggests that this is more than a prayer for his son Solomon, it is also a prayer for another son that is to come, a king that will come out of his family, Jesus Christ. In this prayer, we catch a glimpse of what this king and his kingdom is like. This psalm is known as a Messianic Psalm, a psalm about the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
I. The King who is righteous and just. Vs. 1-4
“1Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son! 2May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice! 3Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness! 4May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor!” In vs.1,2 there is the 4-fold ‘your’: your justice, your righteous, your people, your poor. It goes right to the heart of the matter. Righteousness and justice are God's attributes. It is the fabric of any society. Kings and rulers have the responsibility to do what is right and without favoritism.
Solomon in his early reign was righteous and just. He prayed for wisdom that he may rule justly. But this did not last long. Soon he began to drift from God and mistreated his people with heavy taxes.
A righteous and just king protects the poor. The poor is now “your poor”. We may not like the poor, but they are very special to God, and belong to the King. This means don’t mistreat them. With coming of Jesus Christ, he went one step further. In Matthew 25:35, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me," 36"I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me,…..” Jesus associated himself with the poor. When we serve the poor, we are serving Jesus Christ, God.
We see human rulers; sometimes they rule with righteousness and justice. But often it doesn’t last long. But with the 1st coming of Jesus Christ, the King 2000 years ago, he actually makes us righteous. He gave us his perfect righteousness and by his spirit he transforms our minds so that we will and can do what is righteous and just. We also look forward to the day when he will rule completely over this world with righteousness and justice.
II. The kingdom who is Compassionate. 12-14
Vs. 12-14, “12For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. 13He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.
14From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight.” What did this king do? He helped the poor and the needy. He delivered those who were oppressed and protected the weak and helpless. He was compassionate. Solomon knew this well; proverbs 20:28, “28Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king, and by steadfast love his throne is upheld.” But, unfortunately Solomon’s action did not live up to his own expectation and desire. After his death, his people said to his son, 1 King 12:4, “Your father made our yoke heavy….”
We know this too well. We constantly hear rulers and presidents promised to be compassionate; to protect the weak and helpless; to deliver people from poverty and all forms of oppression. There is no such thing as compassionate conservative or liberal. Whether you are a conservative or a liberal president, you are to be compassionate, period. As a ruler or president of this and any country, compassion is mandatory. It appears that the government does have the responsibility to care for the poor and weak among us. We don’t do too well in this area, do we? Yet it is in our human failure that we see the need for a King that is truly compassionate.
Let’s listen to Jesus' words, Matthew 11:28, “28"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 9:36, “36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” He is truly the king who is compassionate. Not only that; as he dwells within us, his spirit also make us into compassionate persons. As followers of the compassionate King, we too are to be compassionate to those he brings into our lives. Therefore, wherever Christians go, we see works of compassion. Many hospitals in Houston and other cities are founded by Christian churches. Many hospitals in today’s China were founded by Christian missionaries 60 or 70 years ago. It was the Christians that reached out to the poorest in Calcutta and Manila. I was so happy to see that close to 100 of us went to the Convention Center on Thanksgiving Day to serve the needy. This is not a once a year event but we must have an ongoing compassionate heart for the poor, the widow, orphans and the oppressed.
III. The King whose kingdom is eternal. Vs.5-7
Vs. 5-7, “5May they fear you while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations! 6May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth! 7In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more!” This is about permanence. The rule of this king is eternal. David was at the end of his life when he offered this prayer for his son, Solomon. David had reigned for 40 years. Solomon also reigned for 40 years. Later in the Jewish history, as recorded in 1st and 2nd Kings, we see kings come and gone. Some ruled for 20 or 40 years, others 1 or two years. Some were good; righteous and just and others were bad and evil kings. We may wonder why there is such a detailed record of who ruled and for how long. Yes, foremost, it is telling us about the historicity of the OT scriptures. They are not myths or man made stories. They were actual historical events that could be validated. The second reason has to do with the redemptive theme in the scriptures. It calls our attention that human kings come and go. But one day another king would come and his rule would last forever.
Charles Spurgeon wrote, “We see on the shore of time the wrecks of the Caesars, the relics of the Moguls, and the last remnants of the Ottomans. Charlemagne, Maximilian, Napoleon, how they flit like shadows before us. They were and are not; but Jesus for ever is.”
What a comfort it is to know that when this king comes into my life, he is here to stay. He is my king forever. This is the eternal security which we have as his children.
IV.. The king whose kingdom has no physical boundaries. Vs.8-11
Vs. 8-11, “8May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth! 9May desert tribes bow down before him and his enemies lick the dust! 10May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts! 11May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him!” This is a description of the boundary of this King. From the Euphrates (the River) to the Mediterranean. Tarshish is the farthest city to the west. Sheba and Seba are cities from the south, Ethiopia. In other words, to the best of their knowledge, this King’s kingdom has no boundary. It extends from one end of the earth to the other.
When Solomon was the king, because of his wisdom and wealth, nations came to pay tribute to him. But when the Messiah king comes, in John 12:32 we’re told that, “32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” Solomon drew people to himself via self display. But Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the King, will draw all people to himself through his redeeming death on the cross.
When he comes into my life, his kingdom is here. His kingdom is in the near and distant lands; in the big and small cities; suburbs and inner cities. His kingdom is in the land of plenty and the land of little; extending from north to south and east to west. If we understand this passage correctly, it is telling us that in every corner of the world, whether it is the unreached people groups or the 10/40 window, He is there. This understanding is not to deter us from sharing the gospel message. On the other hand, it motivates us to go where he wants us to go so we can point others to the God who is already there.
V. The King whose kingdom is prosperous and abundant. Vs. 15-19
“15Long may he live; may gold of Sheba be given to him! May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all the day! 16May there be abundance of grain in the land; on the tops of the mountains may it wave; may its fruit be like Lebanon;
and may people blossom in the cities like the grass of the field! 17May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun! May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed! 18Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. 19Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!” What do we see in this kingdom? David was praying that under his son, Solomon’s rule, there will be gold, abundance of grains and blossoming cities. It is about prosperity and stability. Yes, the nation of Israel reached its zenith during David and Solomon’s rule. The country was unified, stable and prosperous. But after Solomon’s death, it started to deteriorate. There was poverty, oppression and instability and it remained that way for the next 400 years. This is why they looked forward to the coming of the Messiah, the king to restore freedom, prosperity and stability to them.
The Israelites were disappointed when Jesus came into the world 2000 years ago. He brought neither a visible nor a physical change of the society. Instead, he brought about changes in individuals’ lives. When he rules in our hearts, there is spiritual well bring and stability in life. Personal stability will bring about well being and stability in family life and other relationships. This will in turn bring about stability and well being at work place. This is how the society can be changed by changing individuals.
Then we also look forward to the day when this King will return to this earth. When he fully establishes his kingdom on earth, there will be true prosperity and well being among us.
If we take a look at the revolutions that have occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries, almost without exception, the driving force was the desire for a society that is righteous, just and compassionate. Also with few exceptions, after successful revolutions, many failed miserably. Even in this country of plenty, we see many individuals living in poverty and feeling so helpless under a system which sometimes appears to be cold and without compassion.
During this Advent season, we prepare ourselves for the birth of the righteous, just and compassionate king. It will be good to remember that even as we seek righteousness, justice and compassion in our country and society, that this King will first work in our hearts. By his power, he will transform us into persons of righteousness, justice and compassion. Yes, the rulers, presidents and kings of this world have to do their best to bring righteousness, justice and compassion to their citizens. Equally important is that we followers of this King, by the power of the Holy Spirit are to be individuals who do what is right and not what is popular; without favoritism to either the poor or the rich and be compassionate to the poor, orphans, widows, oppressed and the neglected ones in our society and in other parts of the world.
Moreover, in the midst of human weaknesses and failures, we also look forward to the second coming of the King. When he comes on that day, there will be perfect righteousness, justice and compassion.