I think that at first glance the content of Psalm 72 seems pretty apparent.
Solomon is asking that God will give him his “justice.” He asks to be made into a righteous man. He asks that God will bless his land with prosperity as well as righteousness. He asks that his people will be loyal and that they will first and foremost serve God. He asks for dominion over his enemies and long days. He asks also to be remembered, but before all of it, he wanted God to be the centre of his kingdom. His heart was right in asking this. He wanted God to be glorified and he wanted his people to reflect that. Simply look and see the amount of praise that we find offered to God in his request! This is truly the work of someone who wants God.
Verses 18 and 19 state, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!” (ESV)
And does the heart of this man remain pure? Surely someone with so much passion for God would serve him faithfully! But this is not so. Solomon, as most of you presumably know, took many wives and served many gods in addition to this. He fell from the path of righteousness, as so many do. I think that God allowed this to happen in Solomon’s life so as to teach us, and Solomon himself, many lessons. We learn that no matter how magnificent our father or our mother may be (which to be honest, David was pretty cool), we can still fall. Upbringing does mold you, but you are still the person you choose to be.
We also know Solomon to be the wisest man that ever lived. Solomon followed God faithfully in his early life so God made him an offer. God let Solomon choose that which he wanted to have in his kingdom and Solomon chose wisdom. Not gold, not land, not men, but wisdom. God then said in 1 Kings 3:12, “Behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.” (ESV) Yet, Solomon still took to shameful sin.
Do you see where I’m going yet? We can think ourselves wise, and maybe we are. We can have amazing and loving parents who care for each other and for God, but we can still stumble. The vitality of our faith is maintained by us. That’s what God wants. He didn’t make us as a bunch of robots. Having wisdom and Godly people around most definitely helps, never would I say otherwise. However, when it really comes down to it, where the rubber meets the road, God has given the choice to us.
So let me challenge you today. Do you think yourself “safe” in terms of Godly things? Well, I can bet you, Solomon did too. Let this man’s life be a lesson to you. Sin is sin, and none of it is okay. If we think God still accepts us, even while we continually accept our own sin, then we are wrong. We need to keep the attitude of Psalm 72. The sheer conviction in these few verses display the life of someone who is truly sold out for Christ. We should be just like that.
When is the last time you felt this kind of indignation towards injustice? When did you ever want righteousness as much as the Solomon who wrote this Psalm? Shamefully, I admit that I don’t think I’ve ever been so convinced. But maybe we can be. I want this kind of life and I want to fight for it. We should fight the sin that so easily devoured Solomon, and so many others, but we will not do it alone. The Holy Spirit is our helpmeet, and that is something that even the wisest man on Earth never had.
We shouldn’t do this for our own glory. We can’t serve God and ourselves at the same time. We must be willing to set up the chairs as well as serve in the spotlight. There isn’t much recognition in the little jobs, but it’s what God wants done and what will build his kingdom.
The dominion that Solomon sets out here seems beautiful, but without the people seeking God first we will continue as we have and yet never see it. The world is growing darker and the kind of people we need are few and far between. Solomon’s story tells us a lot, but where in his life do you find yourself and how can you grow?