Reader: “Blessed be the Lord,”
Response: “the God of Israel.”
Scripture: Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
Give your love of justice to the king, O God,
and righteousness to the king’s son.
Help him judge your people in the right way;
let the poor always be treated fairly.
May the mountains yield prosperity for all,
and may the hills be fruitful.
Help him to defend the poor,
to rescue the children of the needy,
and to crush their oppressors.
May they fear you as long as the sun shines,
as long as the moon remains in the sky.
May the king’s rule be refreshing like spring rain on freshly cut grass,
like the showers that water the earth.
May all the godly flourish during his reign.
May there be abundant prosperity until the moon is no more.
Praise the Lord God, the God of Israel,
who alone does such wonderful things.
Praise his glorious name forever!
Let the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Amen and amen!
Reader: “The word of the Lord. . .”
Response: “from a psalm of King Solomon.”
This psalm of Solomon, which concludes Book II of the five Book organization of the Psalms, points to a future king. Note the description of this king. He judges the people with righteousness and the poor with justice. It is a time of prosperity for the people. This king “defends the poor, delivers the needy, and crushes the oppressors.” Note that these are phrases picked up by the prophet Isaiah. (11:4) They appear again in Matthew 11:5 when John the Baptist sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he is the Messiah. These Messianic phrases have survived 1,000 years from the time of Solomon to the days of Jesus. In verse five, Solomon uses the words “may he live. . .” indicating that he is speaking of a future king who will live eternally in a world where peace abounds. Phrases like “till the moon be no more!” simply means for all eternity. The rest of the psalm goes on to describe the scope of this everlasting reign of the Messiah, concluding with a final benedicton. Think of it, from the time of Solomon, roughly 1,000 BC through the time of Isaiah around 700 BC, people were looking forward to the coming of the Messiah. A thousand years of people died never having their longing and waiting fulfilled. Then the arrival of the long-prophesied One! Virtually everyone with the exception of a few shepherds and some animals missed the arrival. Whatever the people were expecting with the arrival of the Messiah, this was not it! They missed it entirely. With the exception of a few short passages, we know little of this Lord of Glory until he was thirty years old. His public ministry was not without incident. His mission was accomplished and he returned to heaven to intercede on his children’s behalf which continues to this day. Next, as people waited 2,000 years from the promise to his arrival, we have waited 2,000 years since he left this earth. We too await his arrival, his advent, which means “coming.” Maranatha, “come Lord Jesus!” When he comes again, apparently it will be hard to miss!
Music: “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” Washington Choral Arts Society
A contrasting setting of the text: arr. Heather Sorenson
Gracious Lord, our heavenly King, we long for and await your return. In truth it seems like something far away, almost unreal. We read about it throughout the Bible from beginning to end. It most certainly will happen, but we never think it could happen in our lifetime. Give to us a mindset that lives in the reality of the heavenly kingdom even as we live in the reality of this earthly world. Do not let us separate those worlds as if one is real and the other just a truthful idea. Let us live in the expectation of your return and the establishing of your coming kingdom where your will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In the name of our coming King, our Savior and Lord, Jesus the Christ. Amen. ―Daniel Sharp