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Friday, January 7, 2011

All Kings Will Bow to Him: The Prophecy of Psalm 72

Psalm 72:1-11 is the assigned psalm for Epiphany.  I had never read it before today, and once again I am amazed at the prophetic nature of the psalms in terms of how they describe the Messiah, Christ Jesus.  I'll just quote some selected verses from this passage:

"He [the king] will judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice...
He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor.
He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations...
He will rule from sea to sea and from the River [the Euphrates] to the ends of the earth...
The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to him; the kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts.
All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him."

This psalm was has the subtitle "Of Solomon;" whether that means it was written by Solomon or for him, or both, we don't know.  It may also have been used at the coronation of multiple kings, and it can be read and applied in that context.  But, according to my study notes, it was also recognized by later Jews and by the early Christian church as being prophetic of the Messiah.  Jesus Christ, as the ruler of heaven and earth and the Son of the Great King, God, would judge his people with righteousness and justice, defend the afflicted and needy, and crush the oppressor: Satan.  He is eternal, enduring as long as the sun and moon- even longer!- and through all generations.  His rule extends over the whole earth.

The last two verses are the tie-in with Epiphany.  The Magi were most likely from Persia or southern Arabia, and Sheba and Seba are in those regions.  These kings, the psalmist writes, would present the king with gifts and "all kings will bow down to him."  In our world today we can see that not all rulers of the earth worship and revere the one true God.  But we know that when Christ comes again, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that he is Lord.

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