Sunday, January 09, 2005

Psalm 72: 1-2,10-17

The psalm appointed for the day:

1 Give the King your justice, 0 God, *
and your righteousness to the King's Son;

2 That he may rule your people righteously *
and the poor with justice;

10 The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall pay tribute, *
and the kings of Arabia and Saba offer gifts.

11 All kings shall bow down before him, *
and all the nations do him service.
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.

15 Long may he live! and may there be given to him gold from Arabia; *
may prayer be made for him always, and may they bless him all the day long.

16 May there be abundance of grain on the earth, growing thick even on the hilltop
may its fruit flourish like Lebanon, and its grain like grass upon the earth.

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

Probably a coronational psalm, when the ruler ascended the throne. Appropriate to a theocracy; entirely inappropriate to the present day.

But the sense of justice upon which Israel thought itself founded, and upon which the profits said it foundered, by ignoring the poor and the lowly: that is a wisdom applicable to any nation, any time, in any place, on any foundation. Because a nation where the ruler makes sure to take care of the poor is a nation that prospers. And a nation that ignores the widow and the orphan, the weak and the powerless, is a nation that ensures its own destruction.

The grave weakness of power politics, is that it imagines only power is the ultimate force in the world. But if it were, empires would never fall. It isn't eternal vigilance that maintains nations. It is justice.

Justice is weak. But that is why it is eternal.

No comments:

Post a Comment