January 2

Psalm 72:1-7

“Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son. May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.” vss. 1, 4

The people of Israel always had high expectations of their rulers and even sang about their hopes in temple rituals. The psalmist might have composed this psalm for an enthronement ceremony and there is no doubt about what he believed the king ought to do. He knew there was little need to defend the cause of the rich or the privileged…in those days, as in ours, those folks were well equipped to take care of themselves. The ones who really needed the king’s benevolence and protection were the poor and the needy. It’s hard to argue with the psalmist’s job description and most would agree even in our time that any person in power should have special concern for the least and the lowly. No what their political stance or party, people of faith know in their hearts that God desires justice for the oppressed and the marginalized. The problem is that the number of the poor in our world is increasing exponentially. There are so many wars and rebellions…famine and drought are a constant threat…there are more displaced persons than ever before in human history. The needy are everywhere and it’s hard to know what to do. Our leaders need our constant prayers for guidance…may they have the wisdom and the will to do what God desires.

Thought for the Day: Why is it tempting for rulers to neglect the poor?

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