A Hope-Filled Kingdom

Psalm 72

Youth Group – Spring 2020

We have discussed various types of Psalms so far. Some of them are clear because of their structure – like Lament and Praise Psalms, and others are distinguished because of their content – like wisdom and royal Psalms. Tonight we are going to look at the final type of Psalms that we will cover, the Royal Psalm. These Psalms have a royal theme throughout. Some are looking back, some focus on the present, while others look forward to a better kingdom.

This Psalm, as we look at it, will both look at present realities but also point ahead. In an age of political chaos, it helps us be centered on a better kingdom and how we can live faithfully in the present.

1. Hope for Justice

In the first section, verses 1-4, we see David longing for his son to be a just ruler. This justice is a mark of a hope-filled kingdom. It is interesting that here is the “only direct address to God, and the only time the king is mentioned.”[1] The type of justice is directly connected with God himself. The King is to represent God’s just rule in the way that they act. What does this look like? The rest of this section spells it out for us.

The King Should Champion Justice for both the Rich and the Poor[2]

In verse 2, David starts to describe the king that deals justly with the poor. Hardly do instructions need to be given for the treatment of the rich; they typically have loud voices already when it comes to accusations against them. With this verse, we should see the desire for the king to act justly regardless of economic standing. There is no favoritism. Unfortunately, this is a tragic characteristic many leaders possess. Money and power, and the desire to elevate themselves through influential people can dominate a King’s actions. Instead, the king should see their role as one that should help everyone.

The Land Should Benefit in Righteousness

The role of God’s people, ever since the Garden, is to glorify God as His representatives. One way that works is through our rule. We are called to exercise dominion over the earth and animals and take care of them. Here we see the King is called to use his rulership in a right and true way that reflects God’s rule.

Taking Up the Cause for the Poor Against Oppression

Not only should the King act justly towards the rich and poor alike, as in verse 2, but he should also stand in defense of the poor against oppression. The poor can quickly be taken advantage of, and the King should make sure they are protected. The King should also seek to end their oppression. We have seen this at play in our country, leaders using influence for the good of the oppressed and abused. We should pray for leaders to fearlessly stand in defense of the neglected and outcast and seek to do so ourselves.

2. Hope for Everlasting Reign

The next part of David’s prayer is for Solomon’s reign to be everlasting. That it does not end. This language can’t be applied to an individual; each of us dies. But, there are two ways for us to understand the everlasting reign.

Righteous Reign Legacy

First, is that Solomon’s descendants would continue the legacy of a righteous reign that led to people fearing the Lord. The King has the power to influence people to worship and obey as he does.[3] On the other end, it doesn’t take much reading in the history of God’s people to see the people following after the wickedness of a wicked king. The Psalmist uses imagery that shows that the King should be beneficial to the lives of the people and refreshing.[4] When the King is righteous, when the King delights in what is good, that will only serve to benefit the righteous in the kingdom.

Everlasting Reign of Jesus

This ultimately points us to the everlasting reign of Jesus. God’s people have understood the enduring language for a long time to refer to the coming Messiah. It’s interesting the closeness of this wording with Isaiah 11:1-5.

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,

and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.

2    And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,

the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the Spirit of counsel and might,

the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

3    And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

       He shall not judge by what his eyes see,

or decide disputes by what his ears hear,

4    but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,

and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;

       and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,

and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

5    Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,

and faithfulness the belt of his loins.[5]


If Isaiah is looking ahead to Jesus in what He writes, then we can see in this Psalm how they point ahead to Jesus.[6]

What does this mean? It means that Jesus came as King to establish His kingdom that would never end. Living under His Kingship is a forever benefit for those who have been declared righteous through His sacrifice.


3. Hope for Extended Dominion

The last section ends with a desire for peace to abound. The peace is “shalom,” the Hebrew word for wholeness or rightness. It is how the world should be. Ever since sin entered into the world, things are messed up; this Psalm is longing for things to be made right – to be brought back to shalom – through the hope-filled kingdom. The desire isn’t for this kingdom to be contained to a particular area but to span the globe.

The King’s Dominion Should Stretch from Sea to Sea

Just like before the King would fulfill the instructions of Genesis, here we have the same words used as in Genesis with the expression “he will rule.” The word rule is the same as Genesis 1:26. This King is actually living out what people are called to do.[7] He is extending the rule of God, the good and righteousness rule, to the whole earth.

All Nations Will Serve The Righteous King

There is a description in verses 9-11 of all people groups bowing down and acknowledging the one who reigns as the righteous King. The desire for David in writing this is for the righteousness of God, the good rule of God through his son, to be used to bless the nations. We don’t live under the same leadership structure today. Israel was a theocracy; we are not. But, we can’t dismiss this passage as if it doesn’t apply. Philippians tells us that one day every knee will bow before Jesus. Jesus is the true righteous King. We should pray for His kingdom to come as we are instructed in the Lord’s Prayer. We should desire for every nation to come to know Him as King of King and Lord of Lords.


4. Hope for Deliverance and Care

Too often, we separate the good King from His kingdom. But, the kingdom shows us what God is like and how we can live in light of Jesus’ kingship.

The King Cares for the Poor and Needy

I want to jump straight to the application for us today with this section. The King cares for the poor and needy. This is a desire, this is a prayer of the Psalmist, and this is our great hope today. Those of you who are in desperate need.; those of you who recognize that you have nothing to bring to God; you are the ones that God came to rescue. You are the ones that Jesus talks about in Matthew 5:2-12 when He says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit… blessed are those who mourn… Blessed are the meek…” It is only in our weakness that we recognize the goodness of the King and our need for Him. It is only when we understand our spiritual bankruptcy that we find the infinite worth of Christ’s death beautiful.

If you are here tonight and you are looking at yourself thinking that you have nothing to offer to God, thinking that you are just weak and needy, praise God. Come as you are, He is eager to “save the life of the needy,” as verse 13 says. Verse 14 says that your blood is precious in His sight. The word blood means life, and for us, as New Testament Christians, we can’t help but be reminded that His blood makes our eternal life possible. He cares about your blood, don’t believe it? Look at His blood that was shed on the Cross for you.


5. Hope for a Prosperous Kingdom

Finally, the result of this King’s rule and this hope-filled kingdom is blessing for the people and the earth. Just like the King’s reign extends into the future, and the kingdom extends to the borders, the blessing is endless.

Endless Praise for the King

The people will love their king, the one who protects them and cares for them. Their praise will not be empty or vain, but it will flow from hearts that love Him. Because of this, they will pray for his well-being and bless Him. There are a couple of takeaways from this for today. The first is that we should pray for all leaders over us today. We should also give thanks to God for the good that they do. God gets praise when people benefit from their rule. Even more, when we think of this Psalm in terms of Jesus’ reign, we should praise Him for His goodness.  Our praise should come from hearts that love Him because of who He is and what He has done. We should also seek to bless others as we have been blessed.

Endless Blessing for the People

Jesus’ reign will bring blessing and goodness to people. It will restore shalom. We look ahead to the day when Jesus returns to set everything right. But, right now, we live in light of that future reality. This youth group should be a picture to the watching world of what the heavenly kingdom will be like. That means we want to live in a way that benefits other people. Too often, we live in fear or in reaction to the world around us. We can be defined by what we are against. As Christians, we should desire for other people to flourish and do well as we seek to live for King Jesus. Often, what that looks like often is different than what they see as good or beneficial. But desiring their good will change the way that we approach them, it will change the way that we talk about certain subjects.

If you are here tonight and you don’t know Jesus Christ and your King and savior, I long for you to know Him. I want you to see the beauty of the One True King. For you, as the Psalm says, to “be blessed in Him.” I also hope that you find glimpses of His goodness here at youth group. I hope that you are treated well, that – even if you disagree with what is said – you know it is said with what we believe is your good in mind.



The psalm ends wonderfully. It is a doxology praising God desiring for the whole earth to be filled with His glory. Isn’t that what we want as well as we seek to reflect the hope-filled kingdom. We desire God’s name to be lifted high, and for all to know this amazing God. It reminds me of the Westminster question one: What is the chief end of man? In other words, what is our primary purpose in life? The answer: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. That is what happens when we trust in and live under the forever King whose kingdom is full of hope.


[1] C. Hassell Bullock, Psalms 172, ed. Mark L. Strauss and John H. Walton, vol. 1, Teach the Text Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2015), 546.

[2] These three sub-point headings have been adapted from Allen P. Ross, A Commentary on the Psalms 189: Commentary, vol. 2, Kregel Exegetical Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2011–2013), 534.

[3] Ross, Psalms, 538.

[4] Ross, Psalms, 538.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Is 11:1–5.

[6] Derek Kidner, Psalms 172: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 15, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 273.

[7] Gerald H. Wilson, Psalms, vol. 1, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 987–988.