Lectionary Reflection for the Second Sunday in Advent

This excerpt comes from Psalms for All Seasons, commenting on Psalm 72:

Psalm 72, a royal psalm, prays for the king and vividly describes the shalom that arises from the king’s just rule. It is the final psalm of the second of the Psalter’s five books and expresses a grand conclusion to a journey that began with the psalmist’s parched desire for God and continued through heights and valleys of praise and testimony (Pss. 46, 48, 66, 71), penitence (Ps. 51), lament (Ps. 59), and urgent prayer (Ps. 70).

The psalm is visionary, optimistic, and future-oriented, with a vision of God’s shalom that parallels the exalted language of Isa. 60-66. In this peaceable kingdom, the God-fearing king is concerned for the weak and needy but crushes those who cheat and swindle (vv. 4, 13-14), a theme echoed in the songs of Hannah and Mary.

The psalm can be read both as a prayer for a specific ancient king and also as a messianic prophecy. It can also be read as a confident assurance that the psalmist’s longing for a blessing that extends to the ends of the earth (Ps. 67) will be realized.

The psalm concludes with a doxology that closes the entire second book of the Psalter. Many Christian traditions have interpreted this psalm Christologically. Isaac Watt’s paraphrase begins “Jesus shall reign where’er the sun.”


Prayer for reflection:

God of every nation, your law is right, your rule is just,
and even in this fallen world your kingdom knows no boundaries.
May the compassion, patience, and forgiveness you show us in Jesus Christ our Savior
form the ministry of reconciliation we offer to all people in Jesus’ name. Amen.


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