Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Rule of Righteousness (Psalm 72)

"Give the king Your judgments, O God, and Your righteousness to the king’s Son. He will judge Your people with righteousness, and Your poor with justice" (Psalm 72:1–2).

It is difficult to determine exactly who authored Psalm 72 because of the difference between the inscription, which says “of Solomon,” and the close of the psalm: “The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.” Calvin maintains that the psalm was most likely composed by David on his deathbed as he looked forward to the reign of his son Solomon. Others theorize that the psalm was written by David but reduced into poetical form by Solomon. Despite the confusion over the authorship, this psalm is rich in prophecy of the coming kingdom of Christ. While many kings followed David’s rule, none obtained the pure rule of righteousness that he anticipated in this psalm. Christ fulfilled that perfect reign. “ ‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a king who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land’ ” (Jer. 23:5).

David understood that blessing and happiness only came when the government ruled in righteousness, when true religion was allowed to flourish, and when rulers governed with justice and in the fear of the Lord. All rulers are exhorted to strive to govern righteously that the people might be blessed. To rule righteously is to do what is just. Christ achieved this perfectly and established a reign of perfect justice and peace among His people.

While it is the duty of all rulers to maintain righteousness in their government, only Christ can make men righteous. Governments cannot change men’s hearts; only Christ can bring about true righteousness, justice, and peace in the lives of people. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit, Christ reforms the hearts of men. “By this means He brings righteousness back, as it were, from exile, which otherwise would be altogether banished from the world,” Calvin wrote. “Upon the return of righteousness there succeeds the blessing of God, by which He causes all His children to rejoice in the way of making them to perceive that under their King, Christ, every provision is made for their enjoying all manner of prosperity and felicity.”

His kingdom is established in the hearts of men where He rules with justice and brings peace.

Think about what righteousness means. Using a concordance, look up several references of this word in Scripture. List insights you gain. How are you exhorted to live righteously? Do you strive to live righteously? Ask God to help you do what is just and right that you may be conformed to the righteous image of Christ.