************ Advent Sermon on Psalm 72 ************


By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman


This sermon was preached on December 18, 2016


Psalm 72
Psalm 72:18-19
"The Birthday of a King"
2016 Advent # 5

Introduction
Prepare your hearts; get ready for the King.
Get ready for the King to come!

Go tell the news; get ready for the King.
Get ready for the King to come!

This is what we just heard from our choir.


Alleluia! O how the angels sang.
Alleluia! How it rang!
And the sky was bright with a holy night,
'Twas the birthday of a King.

This is what we will be singing after this sermon.

Have you ever noticed that the songs of Christmas say a lot about Jesus as King and Lord? The baby in the manger is a King! Our Christmas songs get this, of course, from the Bible. The angel told the shepherds that the baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger is "Christ the Lord" (Lk 2:11-12).

On this fourth Sunday of Advent we turn to Psalm 72. Psalm 72 is all about the King. In Psalm 72, King Solomon is offering a prayer for the King -- that is, a prayer for himself. But you need to realize that whenever the Old Testament writes about a King, it is always pointing to something bigger, someone greater -- namely, the Messiah. This Messiah is the Lord Jesus Christ Who is described as "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Rev 19:16). So, as we will see, Psalm 72 is rich in prophecy about the coming Kingdom of Christ. King Jesus alone is the perfect King.

This means that the words of our text are nothing less than words of praise for Jesus Christ as King:
(Ps 72:18-19) Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. (19) Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.
The psalmist is praising God for King Jesus.

The question I want to ask you today is whether Jesus is your King? That baby in the manger, do you bow before Him? Do you come and worship and adore Christ the Lord? Do you worship Christ, the newborn King? Do you receive Him as your King? Do you live for His glory? Do you bring Him gifts as was done by the wisemen? Like the shepherds, do you tell others about King Jesus?

I The King's Righteousness (vs 1-4)
A The psalm begins with a beautiful picture of the King's righteousness.
(Ps 72:1-4) Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness. (2) He will judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice. (3) The mountains will bring prosperity to the people, the hills the fruit of righteousness. (4) He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor.
If you remember, Solomon is the king who asked God for wisdom when he could have asked for long life, or wealth, or the death of his enemies (1 Ki 3:9,11). He started off so well.

But do you remember what else we are told about Solomon? Solomon’s heart turned away from the Lord to "other gods" (1 Ki 11:4). So at the end of his life the LORD became angry with Solomon and took the kingdom away from him (1 Ki 11:9–11). King Solomon was such a disappointment!

Many kings followed Solomon's rule. But none obtained the pure rule of righteousness and justice that is spoken of in Psalm 72.

In this sin-filled earth, we look and long for a righteous and just King. But we don't find it in Solomon. We don't find it in David. We don't find it in Obama or Hillary or Trump. Why not? Because every human king and ruler is marred by sin and selfishness. So, the lesson of Solomon is easy to understand: no earthly king or ruler is able to serve God in perfect righteousness and justice.

B When we look and long for a righteous and just king, there is only One Who doesn't disappoint: King Jesus. He is the Righteous One. Jesus, and only Jesus, is not marred by sin and selfishness. Hebrews tells us Jesus was tempted as we are, yet was without sin (Heb 4:15). Luke tells us He was born of a virgin, without original sin. Telling us what? Telling us Jesus is righteous in all His ways, in all His life, in all His thoughts (cf Isaiah 11:3-5).

King Jesus is the only King and Ruler Who does not disappoint, Who never disappoints. So, with the psalmist we want to praise our God and Father for the righteous rule of King Jesus:
(Ps 72:18-19) Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. (19) Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.
Prepare your hearts; get ready for the King.
Get ready for the King to come!

Alleluia! O how the angels sang.
Alleluia! How it rang!
And the sky was bright with a holy night,
'Twas the birthday of a King.

II The King's Everlasting Kingdom (vs 5-7)
A Solomon prays that the King and His Kingdom will endure forever:
(Ps 72:5-7) He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations. (6) He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth. (7) In his days the righteous will flourish; prosperity will abound till the moon is no more.

Yet, as you all know, in this life and on this earth leaders and rulers come and go. For instance, in a couple of weeks a new President will take the oath of office in the United States. England has a new Prime Minister after the surprising vote to leave the European Union. The President of Korea was impeached. The President of Brazil was removed from office. The Prime Minister of Italy was forced to resign a couple of weeks ago. France is expecting a new President in 2017. And so it goes.

If there is one thing we have learned, no rule or ruler, no kingdom or king last forever though they might boast otherwise. The Nazis, for instance, talked about their thousand year Reich. Four times the book of Daniel says about the ruler of Babylon and the Medo-Persian empire, "O king, live forever!" In more recent history people have said "Long live the King!" or "Long live the Queen!" Yet, every king dies, every ruler is replaced, and every kingdom declines or even disappears.

B But this is not the case with King Jesus because He is an eternal King. Which means He always has subjects or people acknowledging His rule. After all, you aren't King if you don't have subjects under you.

What does the eternal rule and eternal kingdom of Jesus mean for you or me? This means the church is always preserved by God against the rage of the whole world -- even though for a time it may appear very small in the eyes of men. Even in the very dangerous time of King Ahab, for instance, the Lord preserved for Himself seven thousand men who did not bend their knees to Baal. So, an eternal King means an eternal church. An eternal King means the church is guarded, protected, and preserved by Jesus.

Jesus' Kingdom will never end. Jesus' reign will never end. He is King forever. So, with the psalmist we want to praise our God and Father for the eternal rule of King Jesus:
(Ps 72:18-19) Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. (19) Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.
Prepare your hearts; get ready for the King.
Get ready for the King to come!

Alleluia! O how the angels sang.
Alleluia! How it rang!
And the sky was bright with a holy night,
'Twas the birthday of a King.

III The King's Realm (vs 8-11)
A In verses 8-11 Solomon asked God to bless the size of his kingdom:
(Ps 72:8-11) He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. (9) The desert tribes will bow before him and his enemies will lick the dust. (10) The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to him; the kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts. (11) All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him.
We know that under Kings David and Solomon, the nation of Israel greatly enlarged its territory. Solomon ruled from the Euphrates River in the north to the border of Egypt in the south, from the land of the Philistines in the west to the desert in the east.

Solomon also prays about the giving of gifts and tribute. When a powerful king arose in a country, other kings would give him gifts to form alliances and show friendliness toward that nation. We know that Solomon received about 25 tons of gold per year in tribute (1 Ki 10:14).

Yet, we can hardly say that Solomon ruled to the ends of the earth and that all nations served him. Do you realize the Nation of Israel at its greatest was about the same size as California's Central Valley -- measuring 500 miles by 100 miles. So, on the world stage it was hardly more than a blip.

A lot of history comes down to the fact that rulers want their kingdom to be bigger. So, the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, and the Romans all were bent on conquest. Yet, where are all of their kings and kingdoms today? Gone or greatly reduced in size.

B Jesus is an eternal King with an eternal Kingdom that is not confined, bound, or limited to a certain place or certain persons. But it is spread and dispersed throughout the entire world and covers every tribe and language and people and nation.

We see this already at the first Christmas. First, some Jewish shepherds come to the stable and bow before Him. Second, in fulfilment of Psalm 72, wisemen from the East come and bring gifts. This is a picture that Jesus is not only King over Israel but also King over the whole world! But is He your King?

Jesus is King of all the earth. So, with the psalmist we want to praise our God and Father for the universal rule of King Jesus:
(Ps 72:18-19) Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. (19) Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.

Prepare your hearts; get ready for the King.
Get ready for the King to come!

Alleluia! O how the angels sang.
Alleluia! How it rang!
And the sky was bright with a holy night,
'Twas the birthday of a King.

IV The King's Compassion (vs 12-14)
A The King is righteous. His rule is eternal. His realm is universal. In the next section Solomon prays the King has compassion on the poor and needy:
(Ps 72:12-14) For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. (13) He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. (14) He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.

For being the wisest man on earth -- except for Jesus, of course -- Solomon sure was dumb. Do you remember one of the reasons why his Kingdom split between the Southern Kingdom of Judah and the Northern Kingdom of Israel? Because Solomon inflicted upon the people a heavy yoke and hard service (1 Ki 12:4).

Isn't this what kings and rulers usually do? In most places around the earth, rulers look after themselves, their friends, their family. They use their position to gain wealth and power. They care little for the people under them. King Herod certainly had no compassion.

B But now look at King Jesus. Eight times the gospels tell us Jesus had compassion on the people. Out of compassion, He invites us to come to Him:
(Mt 11:28-30) "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
He is a compassionate King.

We especially see the King's compassion in the last part of verse 14: "precious is their blood in his sight." The King doesn't want the blood of the people to be spilled because of oppression and violence. The King cares about the blood of the people. Not only does Jesus care about the blood of the people but He allows His own to be shed for the sake of His people. His blood, above all others, is precious because it saves from death and hell and destruction.

Jesus is a compassionate King. So, with the psalmist we want to praise our God and Father for the compassion of King Jesus:
(Ps 72:18-19) Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. (19) Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.

Prepare your hearts; get ready for the King.
Get ready for the King to come!

Alleluia! O how the angels sang.
Alleluia! How it rang!
And the sky was bright with a holy night,
'Twas the birthday of a King.

V The King's Blessing (vs 15-17)
A We end with the King's blessing. In verses 15-17 Solomon describes the blessings that come from godly leadership:
(Ps 72:15-17) Long may he live! May gold from Sheba be given him. May people ever pray for him and bless him all day long. (16) Let grain abound throughout the land; on the tops of the hills may it sway. Let its fruit flourish like Lebanon; let it thrive like the grass of the field. (17) May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun. All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed.
We see this psalm literally fulfilled when the Queen of Sheba came to Solomon and gave him 4.5 tons of gold as well as large quantities of spices and precious stones (1 Ki 10:10).

B But, remember, the kings of Israel point to King Jesus. So Jesus used the story of the Queen of Sheba to teach about Himself:
(Mt 12:42) The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.
Jesus is greater than Solomon. Much greater.

Do you remember the covenant blessing promised to Abraham? "All peoples on earth will be blessed through you" (Gen 12:3). "Through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed" (Gen 22:18). It is especially the promise of these blessings that Solomon has in mind in Psalm 72. And, it is finally fulfilled in King Jesus.

Conclusion
Christmas is all about King Jesus. So, with the psalmist we praise God for Jesus the King:
(Ps 72:18-19) Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. (19) Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.

Prepare your hearts; get ready for the King.
Get ready for the King to come!

Alleluia! O how the angels sang.
Alleluia! How it rang!
And the sky was bright with a holy night,
'Twas the birthday of a King.

You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
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