Daily reading: 7 January

The desire for righteousness and justice.

Something to read

Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king’s son.
May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice

Psalm 72:1-2, from full reading Psalm 72

Something to think about

The story of Daniel illustrates godly people being ruled by violent, despotic, oppressive rulers. The prayer of Psalm 72 is spoken out of the pain of suffering under unjust, worldly rule. In accord with principle of recognising earthly authorities, it prays for them, but with the desire for righteousness and justice. We are enjoined: First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way (1 Timothy 2:1–20).

This prayer in Psalm 72 describes just what that ideal ruler should be: the one who defends the poor and the needy; who protects and delivers them; who upholds their cause, and has compassion on them; who considers their blood to be precious in his sight.

This prayer asks for that; that authorities and rulers be reformed, and good principles be upheld. It rejoices in the blessings of a good ruler, that everything is better in such a place, implying of course that good rule has a consideration and responsibility for everything. Its hymn rejoices in that goodness. It takes real faith to be able to rejoice in the joy of the good ruler, where no good ruler is apparent, but then as well as a prayer it takes on a further meaning. It is a prayer for the Good King to come, and it rejoices in His coming, and in the Kingdom He will establish, which will be over all the Earth and acknowledged by all people.

It rejoices in the perfection of all things, as if already present, as if the future had broken through into the present with perfume of Heaven. Then this prayer describes that Good King, the King of Peace, who is our King. And as we are his people, our deeds can reflect His goodness; we can bear witness to that goodness and strive for it on the Earth as sign of His goodness, and the perfection to come. We can strive for those things which He does, knowing that He loves them, and will bless us in this.

Something to do

Find out about Christian Aid’s Voice and Governance work, seeking to hold decision makers to account across the world: https://www.christianaid.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/voice-and-governance

Something to pray

Let us pray for our rulers, that they might do what is right in the Lord's sight; that He might bless our lands. Let us seek peace and pursue it; let us uphold what is truthful, honourable, right and just. Help us, O Lord; give us courage and sustain us, as we walk in your ways and seek the common good.

Today’s reading was provided by the Reverend Jeremy Bevan, a minister of the Church in Wales.

('Something to do' was provided by Christian Aid.)