Theme: The Duration of the Kingdom
In this week’s lessons we see how this psalm ultimately points to the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Psalm 72:1-20
The second stanza of Psalm 72 (vv. 5-7) describes the duration of Christ’s kingdom, and the idea here is that it is eternal. It is a kingdom that will never end. David was a great king. He ruled in Israel for forty years. But at last David died, and the kingdom passed to his successor Solomon. Solomon reigned another forty years, but he died. So also with all the rulers of this world. No matter how powerful, how just, how good, how beneficial their reigns over their subjects may have been or how loudly their subjects may have cried out, “O King, live forever!” in the end all these earthly rulers die and their kingdoms pass to others. Not so with Jesus Christ! He is an ever-living king and his kingdom an everlasting kingdom.
It is true that the kings of this world have not yet willingly bowed to Christ and acknowledged his sovereignty, though they will one day (Phil. 2:9-11). But Jesus rules nevertheless. By his sovereign power he controls all that is unfolding upon the great world stage, and by the power of his Spirit he calls men and women to loving submission to himself within the fellowship of the church. Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote, “We see on the shore of time the wrecks of the Caesars, the relics of the Moguls, and the last remnants of the Ottomans. Charlemagne, Maximilian, Napoleon, how they flit like shadows before us! They were and are not; but Jesus for ever is.”1
One theme that reoccurs throughout the psalm is the blessing that will come to Christ’s kingdom because of the nature of his rule. This theme has already been suggested in stanza one, which mentions prosperity and the defense of afflicted people (vv. 3, 4). It is developed as a theme to itself in stanza 5 (vv. 15-17). It is present in this stanza in verses 6 and 7.
These verses compare the blessing of Christ’s rule to “rain falling on a mown field” and to “showers watering the earth.” These images find parallels in several places: in Deuteronomy 32:2, where they refer to Moses’ teaching about God; Job 29:22, 23, where they refer to the way Job says his words were received by others before the beginning of his troubles; and Proverbs 16:15, where they refer to the effect of the king’s favor. The most interesting and striking parallel is in David’s own final instruction to Solomon recorded in 2 Samuel 23:3, 4. David said, “When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth.”
That is true of human rule. Righteousness brings blessing, just as Proverbs 14:34 states: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” Yet among earthly rulers that ideal is realized only from time to time and partially. In Jesus’ case it is an ideal that is fully realized and is everlasting. As the hymn based on Psalm 73 and set to music by Sir Arthur Sullivan says,
Ever and forever shall his name endure,
Long as suns continue it shall stand secure;
And in him forever all men shall be blest,
And all nations hail him King of kings confessed.
1Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, vol. 2a, Psalms 58-87 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1968), p. 228.
Contrast David’s kingdom with Christ’s kingdom.
How does Jesus demonstrate his ruling power now?
What blessings will come to Christ’s kingdom, according to Psalm 72:7?
Reflection: Compare human rule to God’s rule. What is the result of righteous ruling?
For Further Study: To more fully understand the eternal nature of Christ’s kingdom, download for free and listen to James Boice’s message, “Christ, the Focal Point of History.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)