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A message for the week starting on Sunday 4 December 2022

Lectionary Week: Advent 2
Prescribed Texts: Isaiah 11:1-10, Psalms 72:1-7, 18-19, Romans 15:4-13, Matthew 3:1-12

Focus Text: Psalm 72:1-19

Pray for Peace and Righteousness and Then Put Them into Practice

Psalm 72:3 is yet another illustration of the important relationship between peace and righteousness in the Bible. “The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness” (AV). Compare verse 7: “May righteousness flourish, and peace abound” (RSV).

This wonderful closeness of peace and righteousness will become a reality for Israel when their King rules according to God’s justice and God’s righteousness (verse 1).

What will the practical implications be for the people when they live under a fair and righteous government? Psalm 72 gives a number of examples: People – including the poor – will be judged with righteousness (verse 2). Oppressors will be crushed, and the poor and needy within a society will be rescued (verse 4 and 12). The weak and needy will find help (verse 13) and deliverance from oppression and violence (verse 14a). Why will this be? “For their lives are precious to Him,” answers the New Living Translation in verse 14b.

Psalm 72 is a prayer for the King. It is a prayer for righteousness and peace. It is a prayer for the poor, needy and weak. It is no wonder that the Psalmist prays that this King’s rule will never end (verse 7) and will spread to the ends of the world (verse 8).

When we read this Psalm in the time of Advent, it revives in us a yearning that God’s righteousness and God’s peace will be a reality in our world. When we read this Psalm in this time of HIV and Aids, we know how desperately we need this righteousness and peace.

We are not only involved in the reign of God through our prayers, but also through our lives. Jesus calls His disciples to “seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously” (Matthew 6:33 – NLT), and James says: “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father, means caring for orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27 – NLT).

To think about (or discuss): What can we do to promote peace and righteousness in our circle of influence?

Written by: Rev. Nelis du Toit, trained Churches Channels of Hope (CCoH) facilitator, former CABSA Director