November 30

Psalm 72:1-7. 18-19

“May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.” vs. 4

As the new king ascended the throne in Israel the psalmist gave voice to the hopes of the people. They had an agenda, and they didn’t have in mind more palaces for the royal family or tax advantages for the rich. The people of Israel yearned for a king who would defend the cause of the poor and give deliverance to the needy. And over and over again they were disappointed. There’s something about power that breeds corruption and it’s seldom used to advance the concerns of the poor and the needy. As a result the kings of Judah were almost uniformly a disappointment, and ultimately the government fell, easy prey for foreign invaders. When Jesus came and began his ministry he gave new hope to the downtrodden and the hungry. He loved to hang out with them and he called them “blessed”! Of course he wasn’t the righteous king the psalmist was hoping for but he did something even better. His movement gave birth to a whole army of followers who walked in his way and who gave their lives to stand with the poor and work for justice. It’s at this time of year that their ministries are most visible–even the secular world gets involved and newspapers call it the Season of Sharing. All that caring has been sparked by Jesus, and as we participate with generous hearts we can hear the angels sing with joy.

Thought for the Day: How do I respond to holiday giving appeals?

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