Just and Righteous Leaders (Psalm 72:1–7) - Radical

Just and Righteous Leaders (Psalm 72:1–7)

“Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son! May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice! Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness, May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor! May they fear you while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations! May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth! In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more!”
– Psalm 72:1–7

Psalm 72:1–7 is a powerful prayer for the king of Israel in the Old Testament. There are definitely specific things in this Psalm that relate to God’s people in the Old Testament and the ruler over God’s people in the Old Testament. The picture of a just and good king is something we certainly are compelled to pray for in the leaders of our government, of any government. What I want to do, instead of just reading this Psalm, Psalm 72:1–7, and then talking about it and praying according to it, I want to pray through it.

This Verse Leads Us to Pray for Our Leaders

And so, I just want to read, and as I read through it lead us to pray right now for just, good, righteous leaders that God would provide those kinds of leaders as we’re in the middle of a presidential election, as we’re thinking about how to steward our vote as followers of Jesus in the United States in an election, but regardless of where we live to pray for good, wise, just leaders for God’s grace in current leaders that they might be good wise, and just, and for God’s grace in future leaders.

God, please provide us with leaders who are known for their love for justice and for the oppressed.

Let’s pray Psalm 72:1, “Give the King your justice, Oh God, and your righteousness to the royal son. Oh God, even from the very beginning, we praise you, Jesus, that you are the ultimate royal son, that you are the ultimate king, and you are completely just and completely righteous.” And so, we pray, God, for these attributes, these characteristics, and those who lead in our government in the United States, specifically in current leaders and future leaders, as other brothers and sisters from around the world join in and the countries where they live. God, we pray that you would give our leaders justice and righteousness.

Psalm 72:1–7 Leads Us to Pray for Grace

“May they,” verse two, “Judge people with righteousness and the poor with justice.” God, we pray for that. We pray that you would raise up, give us, grant us by your grace leaders who judge with righteousness and who care for the poor with justice, in ways that bring prosperity, good, and righteousness for the people they lead.

Verse four, “May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy and crush the oppressor.” God, we pray for leaders who defend the cause of the poor. We pray for leaders who give deliverance to the children of the needy and who crush the oppressor, who lead governments in your good design to care for the poor, the needy, the children of the needy, and to care for those who are oppressed, to lift them up.

This Verse Leads Us to Pray for Leaders who Fear God

“May they fear you while the sun endures, and as long as the moon throughout all generations.” God, we pray for leaders who point people to the fear of you, all before you, reverence for you as the ultimate leader and king over all.

Verse six, “May he be like the rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.” God, we pray for leaders like that. We pray for leaders that are a blessing to people in these ways.

Verse seven, “In his days, may the righteous flourish and peace abound.” God, we pray for that. God, we pray, and this is exactly what you tell us in your word, 1 Timothyn2, to pray for kings and leaders who are in high positions, that the righteous may flourish, that those who do good and right may flourish and peace may abound. God, we pray for peace to abound more and more. And God, even as we asked for these things, we know, we know we live in a fallen world. We know that peace will not abound as we desire until the day you return, until your justice fully and finally, as a manifest on the earth.

Psalm 72:1–7 Leads Us to Praise God

So we pray, our father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done. As we walk through this election season, our longing for your kingdom to come is growing. It increases every single day. God, we praise you as our king. Jesus, we praise you as the just and righteous king overall. We ask, we plead, right now for, by your grace, God, save us. Save us from ourselves.

Grant us, we pray, by your grace, the leaders who are good, and wise, and righteous, and just. Give us leaders who defend the cause of the poor, give deliverance to the children. Please grant us leaders who help the needy, crush the oppressor and lead to good for those they lead. We ask for leaders who promote good among those they lead, good according to your goodness. We pray this, according to Psalm 72:1–7, in Jesus’s name, amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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