I will praise Him!
Praise the LORD.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD
or fully declare his praise?
Blessed are those who act justly,
who always do what is right.
Remember me, LORD, when you show favor to your people,
come to my aid when you save them,
that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones,
that I may share in the joy of your nation
and join your inheritance in giving praise.
(Psalm 106:1-5, NIV)
Reading: Psalm 72
For he will deliver the needy who cry out,
the afflicted who have no one to help.
He will take pity on the weak and the needy
and save the needy from death.
He will rescue them from oppression and violence,
for precious is their blood in his sight. Long may he live!
May gold from Sheba be given him.
May people ever pray for him
and bless him all day long.
May grain abound throughout the land;
on the tops of the hills may it sway.
May the crops flourish like Lebanon
and thrive like the grass of the field.
May his name endure forever;
may it continue as long as the sun.
Then all nations will be blessed through him,
and they will call him blessed.
Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel,
who alone does marvelous deeds.
Praise be to his glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.
This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse (NIV).
This is the concluding portion of Solomon’s prayer. Many scholars view this as David’s prayer for Solomon, rather than a prayer written by Solomon. In either case, it is a prayer calling for God’s blessing on the king and the nation. This brings us to a question. What is the purpose of God’s blessing? Is it only for personal benefit?
The answer can be found in the first few lines above. The righteous king is blessed and given wealth and authority so that he can be a blessing to others. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.
The great danger for any of us is that when blessings come, we accumulate these blessings for ourselves alone. Along with God’s blessings comes a responsibility to share and identify with those in need within our borders and beyond. We serve a God with a big heart. His love extends far beyond our narrow interests. God blesses His people abundantly, so that we can in turn bless others.
What a privilege we have to reflect the LORD’s character in a hurting world!
Response: LORD God, help me to see my many blessings as a gift from you. Show me today how I can be a blessing to others. You are my source. Lord, give me a generous spirit like you have. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you tempted to keep all of God’s blessings for yourself? How generous is your spirit?
Reading: Psalm 72
Endow the king with your justice, O God,
the royal son with your righteousness.
May he judge your people in righteousness,
your afflicted ones with justice.
May the mountains bring prosperity to the people,
the hills the fruit of righteousness.
May he defend the afflicted among the people
and save the children of the needy;
may he crush the oppressor.
May he endure as long as the sun,
as long as the moon, through all generations.
May he be like rain falling on a mown field,
like showers watering the earth.
In his days may the righteous flourish
and prosperity abound till the moon is no more.
May he rule from sea to sea
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
May the desert tribes bow before him and his enemies lick the dust.
May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores bring tribute to him.
May the kings of Sheba and Seba present him gifts.
May all kings bow down to him and all nations serve him (NIV).
There is a verse from Psalm 72 carved in stone into Canada’s Parliament building. From the King James Version it reads, “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth” (Psalm 72:8).
There are several ways of interpreting this verse. First, it should be noted that Psalm 72 is a prayer of Solomon. During his reign, Solomon brought the nation of Israel to the pinnacle of greatness, prosperity and dominance over its surrounding neighbors. But Solomon also sowed the seeds that brought about the nation’s decline after his death. His marriage to hundreds of foreign wives led directly to idolatry and a forsaking of the ways of the LORD. Personal wealth and aggrandizement were achieved by means of forced labor and high taxation. Revolt was festering beneath a surface of calm.
Another interpretation of this psalm takes a more messianic approach. The Messiah will reign. He will have dominion from sea to sea. Many believe this is how the Fathers of Confederation viewed this passage. They longed for the reign of Christ on the earth. Even so we pray, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. That should be the prayer of every Christian believer in whatever country we live.
Response: LORD Jesus, have dominion over me. I willingly submit to your rule. You are my King and my God. I willingly bow my knees before you. Reign over me, and in me to the end of time. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you by nature rebellious or do you find it easy to submit to God’s rule?
Reading: Psalm 71
Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
you who have done great things.
Who is like you, God?
Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter, you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up.
You will increase my honor
and comfort me once more.
I will praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, my God;
I will sing praise to you with the lyre,
Holy One of Israel.
My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you—
I whom you have delivered.
My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long,
for those who wanted to harm me
have been put to shame and confusion (NIV).
Typically Christians view resurrection as a New Testament concept, but here in the conclusion to Psalm 71, we can see that the Old Testament psalmist had a solid grasp of resurrection truths. Consider his words. Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.
That sounds like resurrection to me. Jesus fulfilled the prophetic words of the psalmist when he stepped out of the tomb on resurrection morning. Elsewhere David spoke prophetically of Christ and his resurrection when he wrote, “I am your chosen one. You won’t leave me in the grave or let my body decay” (Psalm 16:10).
Peter sited this verse as proof of Jesus’ resurrection when he preached to the crowd that gathered on the Day of Pentecost. See Acts 2:22-36.
The promise of the resurrection filled the psalmist with hope and it should do the same for us. Because Jesus is alive now, we too will be raised to life. That thought should buoy us on tough days. When we lose a loved one, whose faith was rooted in God’s redeeming love, we can rest assured that our farewell is not forever. We will see them again at the resurrection. On that great day we can join with the psalmist and declare, “My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you—I whom you have delivered.”
Response: LORD God, thank you for the promise of resurrection. Thank you for the hope we have in Jesus. Through Jesus’ shed blood we have redemption, and the forgiveness that makes resurrection possible. Hallelujah! Amen.
Your Turn: Why is the resurrection meaningful to you?
Reading: Psalm 71
Do not cast me away when I am old;
do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
For my enemies speak against me;
those who wait to kill me conspire together.
They say, “God has forsaken him;
pursue him and seize him, for no one will rescue him.”
Do not be far from me, my God;
come quickly, God, to help me.
May my accusers perish in shame;
may those who want to harm me
be covered with scorn and disgrace.
As for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more
My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds,
of your saving acts all day long—
though I know not how to relate them all.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign LORD;
I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.
Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your mighty acts to all who are to come (NIV).
I am not officially a senior, but I am inching my way toward that prize, if you can call it that. With each passing year I can more fully identify with the psalmist’s prayer. For those of us in our seventh decade and beyond, great wisdom can be found in this psalm. As physical vitality declines, more and more we come to rely on the strength of God.
The psalmist laments, “For my enemies speak against me; those who wait to kill me conspire together.”
Our enemies don’t all strut about on two legs. Some of them creep into our lives in more subtle forms like discouragement, depression, dementia and disease. These are the more common enemies that conspire against us. When they gain the upper hand, our golden years lose their lustre. Against this backdrop the psalmist is defiant. He takes his stand. As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more…
Having come this far by the grace of God, this is not the time to retreat… till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.
Response: LORD God, thank you for your presence with me since my youth. Continue to fill my life with joy, meaning and purpose. Day by day, be my help and strength until I see you face to face. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you look forward to your golden years?
I will praise Him!
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.
(Isaiah 9:6-7, NIV)
I will praise Him!
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
(Luke 4:4-7, NIV)
I will praise Him!
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—
and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
(Isaiah 11:1-3, NIV)
Reading: Psalm 71
In you, LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
turn your ear to me and save me.
Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.
For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD,
my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you.
I have become a sign to many;
you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
declaring your splendor all day long (NIV).
I must confess that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with rocks. I grew up on a farm on the Canadian prairies and annually the rich soil produced two crops—a crop of grain and a crop of rocks. Grain crops such as wheat, barley and oats were welcomed—the rocks not so much.
Simply working the soil in spring would bring the rocks to the surface. It was our job as children to help our dad to pick those rocks and haul them off the fields. For the most part it was tedious work. That’s the unpleasant part of my relationship with rocks. But as for the rocks themselves, for the most part I liked them. They came in a huge variety of shapes, colors, sizes and textures. I found them fascinating.
For the psalmist, the LORD was his solid foundation—his rock of refuge in a changing world. Hear his prayer: Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
In the shifting circumstances of life, it is essential that we have those things that remain solid and unwavering. From our childhood onward we need a rock of refuge from the storms of life—a rock to which we can always go in good times and bad.
It’s wonderful when we can say with the psalmist, “From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you.”
Response: LORD God, thank you for being my solid rock. Your faithfulness has steadied me in stormy times. You have been my help and strength, my shelter and fortress. Amen.
Your Turn: How has the Lord been a solid rock for you? Do you find yourself drawing closer to the Lord as Christmas approaches?