In Psalm 72 the worshiper extols the character and deeds of the Ideal King. Ideal to the extent the king reflects the priorities and promises of the Lord God in caring for people. At the center of it all is the power of God activated by the love of God on behalf of the people of God. All the people to be sure. But God’s priorities, power and promises find their most consistent focus on the poor, the needy, the oppressed and the captive.
Of the Ideal King it is said:
4 He shall defend the needy among the people; he shall rescue the poor and crush the oppressor.
12 For he shall deliver the poor who cries out in distress, and the oppressed who has no helper. 13 He shall have pity on the lowly and poor; he shall preserve the lives of the needy. 14 He shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence, and dear shall their blood be in his sight.
17 May his Name remain for ever and be established as long as the sun endures; may all the nations bless themselves in him and call him blessed.
18 Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous deeds! 19 And blessed be his glorious Name for ever! and may all the earth be filled with his glory. Amen. Amen.
In a world where we can scarcely go a day without multiple reports of terror and violence against the vulnerable, about kidnappings and martyrs, and the ever present poor and abused, it is helpful, I think, when we note that:
- The faithful have always known that there can be gaps of time between our cries and God the Lord’s responses;
- The responses may be different than expected in the way they come, through whom they come, and how those responses relate to other persons and circumstances out of our view; and yet …
- The responses do come often in elegant and stunning fashion, and for the benefit of those most in need; and
- The Lord God who is King does indeed deliver, finally taking matters into hand, and in doing so sets up the whole world and all its people to find blessing in the Lord and to see the glory of the Lord flood the world.
There is no mathematical formula, and no algorithm grounding a human certainty that eliminates the possibility of doubt. But over the millennia there is the clear, consistent, and public witness to countless responses that bring freedom, fill with joy, and cause the flourishing of life.
Lord God, King of the ages, let it be!