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A PRAYER OF DAVID
“He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy” (Psalm 72:13).
Peace the Result of Righteousness
David had ruled Israel well for many years. Now he was an old man, and his son was going to take his place upon the throne. David had proved through the years that his strength and power came from God, and he wanted his son to enjoy the same blessings he had known. So he prayed “Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.”
David wanted peace for his people, the Israelites, and he realised that peace comes only as a result of righteousness. The Prophet Isaiah wrote: “The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever” [Isaiah:32:17]).
God had promised David that one of his descendants would be upon the throne of Israel forever. David understood, through the Spirit that inspired him, that this meant more than his son Solomon, or his grandson Rehoboam. Through faith he could look ahead to the Golden Age when Jesus Himself would come to this earth and rule in righteousness, and there would be peace on earth and good will toward men.
In some of David’s writing, he spoke of the time when Jesus would come as a Sacrifice for sin. That would be His first coming, when He would live humbly among men and be hated and abused by them, and finally crucified. But in this seventy-second Psalm David speaks of His second coming when Jesus will come, with His saints, to set up His own government in this world. What started out to be a prayer for his son became a glorious prophecy of the Millennium.
A Longing for Peace
From the time that the Israelites had lived in Egypt and had suffered under the lash of the taskmaster, they had dreamed about the day when all their troubles would be ended, when everyone would live in peace and prosperity, and there would be no one to hurt them nor to take from them what they had.
God had promised them such a life if they would obey Him. “Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.” “The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face.” “The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy store-houses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto” [Deuteronomy:28:3], [Deuteronomy:28:7-8]). All this would have fulfilled their longings if they had obeyed God, but they had missed it because of their sins. Even today millions of Jews are suffering, and greater judgment lies ahead of them before they will call upon their Messiah and be brought together for a thousand years of peace on this earth.
Through the centuries there has always been a cry in the hearts of downtrodden people for a better time. There have always been some very rich people, and a great many poor -- and the poor have suffered. Many of the Negro Spirituals we sing and enjoy were born in the hearts of slaves who suffered under cruel masters. They called upon the Lord to help them. “Swing low, sweet chariot, comin’ for to carry me home,” “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen,” “Ain’t Goin’ to Study War No More,” are all a cry for deliverance, and they express a hope for a better time.
Nations and political groups have tried to bring about ideal conditions in which everyone would have everything he wanted, but they have tried to do it without asking God how. We have Communism, Socialism, and many other creeds, which claim that everyone should share alike; but there are too many evil-hearted people among their leaders who want money and power for themselves. Under their rule the poor become poorer, and suffer greater hardships. In some countries the masses of the poor have given up hope that there will ever be a better world.
But God’s day is coming. His people will enjoy a wonderful inheritance right here in this world. We speak about wanting to be ready to live with Jesus in Heaven; but we are also going to have a thousand years right in this world when Jesus will rule in mercy, and His saints will rule with Him.
Much more is spoken in the Old Testament about the Golden Age on earth than about Heaven. The prophets prophesied it, and the Israelites longed for that day when the swords would be beaten into plowshares and the spears into pruning hooks and the people would learn about war no more. They were tired of fighting all the time, just as most people are today. They yearned for “peace in our time” so that they would have a safe place in which to bring up their children. They did not like to think that their young men, as soon as they came of age, must go off to war and perhaps die young for their country. They wanted to have their own homes with gardens and a place for their children to play. They hoped for a time when everyone would have enough to eat and wear, and there would be no poor people.
There really is such a time coming, and all the children God will enjoy it. Not even the wild animals will hurt them. “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them” [Isaiah:11:6]).
The descendants of the Children of Israel, the Jews, will be brought back to the Holy Land, and there will dwell in peace. The old people will live out their years, and there will be many happy children who will know nothing about war and trouble. The Prophet Zechariah spoke of that time when he said: “There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof” [Zechariah:8:4];[Zechariah:8:5]).
It was this time that David could see, through faith, while he prayed for his son. He spoke of Jesus when he said, “He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.” Of course, he hoped his son would be a good and righteous judge also.
From Sea to Sea
The King about whom David spoke was going to rule “from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth”. In the geography of their day they knew very little about the earth’s surface. They did recognise the Mediterranean Sea as the Great Sea, and they lived near the salty Dead Sea. Their forefathers had crossed the Red Sea. Those were bodies of water that they knew about. They were included in God’s promise to Abraham, and Solomon was going to rule over all this territory. But David went on to say, “From the river, [which was the Euphrates] unto the ends of the earth.” That was much more than the Israelites had ever thought of. Surely the King who would rule such a vast domain was greater than Solomon.
King of Kings
This would be a King to whom all the kings of the earth would bow. Think of it! All the rulers and dictators of our day who have gained tremendous power over millions of people (and perhaps even over a billion) will bow before the great King when He comes to rule in this world. No one will be able to stand against Him, not even Satan himself. “His enemies shall lick the dust.”
The kings of the earth will not only be humbled before Him, but they will bring Him presents from all over the world. All the nations will serve this Monarch.
Will He be proud of His exalted position? Will His friends be only the great of the earth? Jesus, Himself, said: “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” [John:15:14]). That includes all of us who obey His words. Just think that we can be friends of this great King who will put ungodly kings and dictators into the dust!
Jesus said that the meek shall inherit the earth. “He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.”
The Apostle Paul wrote that the true Christian is an heir with Christ of all things. God said to the Son, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom” [Hebrews:1:8]). And we, born-again Christians, are the children of God, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and Joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” [Romans:8:16];[Romans:8:17]).
Triumph over Suffering
There had been times when David had become discouraged because of the enemies who fought against him. He prayed, “How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?” [Psalms:13:2]). Then his faith would be renewed, and he would sing, “But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation” [Psalms:13:5]). He agreed with the Apostle Paul, who said, “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” [Romans:8:18]). “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” [2 Timothy:2:12]).
The Old and the New World
When the Apostle John was on the Isle of Patmos, he was told by the angel, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” [Revelation:20:6]). That will be here on this earth after the curse is lifted and Jesus comes to be King of all the world. Then the angel added, “And they shall reign for ever and ever” [Revelation:22:5]). Not just a thousand years on this old earth, but forever and ever on the new earth.
When David considered all these glorious things, which the Spirit showed him, he could only praise the Lord. “His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.... let the whole earth be filled with his glory.” This would fulfill all David’s greatest hopes and desires. There was no need to pray further. “The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.”
1. Who was David’s son?
2. Why did David pray for him?
3. What did David’s prayer actually become?
4. What was David talking about in this Psalm?
5. Who was going to be Ruler in the kingdom he mentioned?
6. What would happen to the kings of the earth at that time?
7. How long would His reign on earth last?
8. Who would be the friends of the new King?
9. How much territory would His Kingdom cover?
10. How long will the reign on the new earth last?