Daily Devotions

Justice and Righteousness

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"Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king's son." (Psalm 72:1)


 The traditional understanding is that the king in question is Solomon. Yet, Psalm 72 continued to be used after the disappearance of the monarchy. According to The New Interpreter's Bible Commentary, "Verse 1 clearly marks the beginning of Psalm 72 as a prayer, and it introduces the two key words and concepts: justice and righteousness." The words "justice" and "righteousness" are not simply for the earthly king to determine. These fundamental words define how the king is to live out God's royal policy.

Both "justice" and "righteousness" are not words used to honor the king. "Justice" and "righteousness" focus on the poor and those in need. Hence, the role of the king is to be God's representative in caring for the poor and needy. To be a "ruler" is not about self-aggrandizement, but about caring for the daily and long-term needs of the poor and needy.

Pray for our political leaders today, and pray for our presidential candidates as well. Then, pray for America's citizenry, that we will seek a President and other political leaders who will focus less on their own ego and more on the needs of our poor and needy. We are only as strong as the weakest among us. The Psalms do not focus on heaven, at the expense of our earth. For the Psalms, our world, and all the human beings in it, are valued. We live not simply to get our ticket punched for heaven, but to make a difference in this world that God cares so much to restore.


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 I know a couple who live in a village.

The husband was taken suddenly and seriously ill. He was removed to an infirmary. Daily his wife visited him and we always asked how he was getting on.

One night his wife said to me, "Do you know what he said to me today?" I said, "Tell me." "Well," she said, "when I asked him if there was anything I could bring him, he said, 'All I would like is a drink of water from the pump that draws water from the well in the village street.'"

 If anyone knows his/her Bible, straightaway his/her thoughts will go to David, hiding in the cave of Adullam and wanting nothing in the world so much as a drink of water from the well that was beside the gate (2 Sam. 23:13-17).


When we are up against it, it is the simple things we want, like water from the village well.

Thomas Carlyle travelled far from the little village of Ecclefechan, in the south of Scotland, but he used to say that what kept him right was his mother's voice across the years: "Trust in God, and do the right."

You remember Jesus, and his dying prayer, "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" (Lk. 23:46). That is a quotation from Psalm 31:5, with the word "Father" added. It was the first good-night prayer that every Jewish mother taught her child to say before going to sleep, just as many of us were taught "Now I lay me down to sleep."

Jesus died with his boyhood's prayer on his lips. Happy is the man [person] who has a childhood's faith on which to look back-for no life is stronger than its foundations.

 The simple things, the foundations-these are the things that matter when the hard times come.


 Since I am on vacation this week, the week's devotion are taken from Daily Celebration, by William Barclay.

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