Devotion for 1 April 2020 - Our Deliverer
Kia Ora Cambridge Baptist and friends,
In trawling through social media this week, I have noticed there has been a lot discussion about what makes a good leader in a time of crisis. Most people’s consensus is that our prime minister is actually doing as good as job as could be expected, and certainly better than many of her overseas counterparts, although some health professionals and people in the media have questioned why the government took so long to shut New Zealand’s borders, in light of the fact that most of our COVID-19 cases have been linked with overseas travel.
Putting that issue aside, most people acknowledge that we have been fortunate in recent times to have a leader who is empathetic and good at communicating and connecting with the public.
In today’s devotion from Redeemer which is taken from Psalm 72 we see looking to a leader for compassion and deliverance was also something the Israelites placed a lot of value on and how it actually reveals a deeper yearning in all of us for a king who will be our ultimate deliverer.
Let’s begin reading Psalm 72 together
1 Endow the king with your justice, O God,
the royal son with your righteousness.
2 May he judge your people in righteousness,
your afflicted ones with justice.
3 May the mountains bring prosperity to the people,
the hills the fruit of righteousness.
4 May he defend the afflicted among the people
and save the children of the needy;
may he crush the oppressor.
5 May he endure[a] as long as the sun,
as long as the moon, through all generations.
6 May he be like rain falling on a mown field,
like showers watering the earth.
7 In his days may the righteous flourish
and prosperity abound till the moon is no more.
(skipping to verse 12)
12 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.
15 Long may he live!
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.
Theologians tell us that Israelites would offer a prayer like Psalm 72 at the coronation of a new king. While the prayer not only asked for the new sovereign to be blessed by God, it also expressed a set of expectations and criteria for their leader to follow.
Chief amongst these was a willingness to protect the weak and vulnerable. This shouldn’t have been a naive hope because it was rooted in the character of the one who had anointed the person to be king, the Holy One of Israel. The God of Israel is by nature a rescuer and helper to the helpless, so therefore must the king be because he was called to reflect God’s own character.
So prayers for the endurance of the king’s name were based on that expectant hope, that the king would fulfil his commitment to the weak and the needy, so prayers for him meant safety and happiness for all.
However, history has sadly shown that no king or leader has ever been able to fulfill these divine standards - no human leader can deliver all people from all their troubles all of the time, the kings of Israel couldn’t and Jacinda certainly can’t - despite her big heart. As a consequence many people have lost faith in leaders and distrust them. Because this oven subconscious longing is never met.
As followers of Christ, however we know that human leaders can never truly deliver us, God has given us the One in whose name the needy, poor and helpless will truly find deliverance.
We can know that in Christ, we have a king who is not only concerned with our needs and suffering, but compassionately identifies with them.
We can know that in Christ, that the establishment of his kingdom will mean genuine salvation, peace and blessings for all those who call on him.
My question for you this morning is do you know that this King truly cares for you and meeting all of your needs even in the midst of this crisis? Have you called on his name?
Almighty God, we praise you that your Son is the king we all want and need; that his compassion far outweighs anything we have ever seen. Help us to trust and obey you as our righteous king, and may your name be forever praised. In Christ’s Name, Amen.