3rd Week of Advent
Genesis 49:2, 8-10
Psalm 72:1-4, 7-8, 17
Justice shall flower in his days. (Psalm 72:7)
Are we there yet? This question, which is a favorite of young children enduring a long journey, is just as appropriate for us as we look at the world around us. Will we ever reach the destination God has promised in Scripture—the peaceful kingdom where there is no injustice, violence, or division, where peace abounds, “till the moon be no more” (Psalm 72:7)?
Psalm 72 is a coronation song expressing the people’s hopes that their new king will follow in the footsteps of David, the ideal king. He was “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14) and a powerful warrior who credited God for all his accomplishments and repented wholeheartedly when he had sinned.
As time went on, the kings of Judah strayed further and further from the fidelity of their ancestor David. Many became corrupted by their desire for wealth and power. Only a few paid attention to God’s laws or tried to establish the kind of justice envisioned in this psalm—the justice that reaches down to lift up the lowly.
By the time the Psalter was brought together in its final form, the Davidic dynasty was long gone. The last few kings had been too weak to resist the Babylonians and too idolatrous to turn to God for deliverance. As a result, the Jewish people experienced exile, persecution, and occupation. They become keenly aware of the disparity between God’s promises and the reality of their present situation.
With inspired hindsight we can see that no human ruler is capable of fulfilling the aspirations expressed in this psalm. Only God can rescue his people from their real oppressors: not war or Babylon or Rome, but sin and Satan and death. Only Jesus, God incarnate, could fulfill the destiny of the chosen people—not by making foreigners “lick the dust” (Psalm 72:9), but by extending salvation to people of every nation (72:17).
We may revere David for his bravery and Solomon for his wisdom, but only Jesus fulfills the antiphon the church prays today:
“O Wisdom, breath of the Most High, pervading and permeating all creation, come and save us!”~WAU