God Save the King!

by Catherine McNiel on September 21, 2022

Endow the king with your justice, O God,
    the royal son with your righteousness.
May he judge your people in righteousness,
    your afflicted ones with justice.

May the mountains bring prosperity to the people,
    the hills the fruit of righteousness.
May he defend the afflicted among the people
    and save the children of the needy;
    may he crush the oppressor.
                                                                                           —Psalm 72:1-4

 Something astonishing happened earlier this month: Queen Elizabeth, the longest reigning monarch in British history, died at the age of 96. Global census information estimates that 90% of the world was born while she was on the throne. So now, for the first time in nearly everyone’s lifetime, a new British monarch will be crowned.

It’s been difficult to be on any sort of media the past few weeks without hearing a few lyrics to “God Save the King” (alternatively “God Save the Queen”). But, being Americans, few of us know the words in full:

God save our gracious King!
Long live our noble King!
God save the King!
Send him victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the King!

O Lord our God arise,
Scatter his enemies,
And make them fall:
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix:
God save us all.

Thy choicest gifts in store,
On him be pleased to pour;
Long may he reign:
May he defend our laws,
And ever give us cause,
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the King!

Do these themes sound familiar? May God send the king victory; may he win over his enemies; may he provide for the people; may he be just and good; may he care well for the people; may his reign be long; may he give us cause to worship God.

This is essentially a modern-day reprise of Psalm 72, which is also a coronation hymn. Whether or not it was first used for Solomon’s installment, it was likely used for his successors. The hymn asks God to provide for and through the king justice, a long reign, prosperity for the people, victory over enemies, provision for the needy, and cause to praise God.

And, of course, always a hopeful look towards the future when God’s true reign will bring full justice and provision to all, at last.

Questions for reflection and discussion: Have you ever attended a coronation? What do you see in this Psalm? Not being a king yourself (unless these devotions have a greater reach than I realize!) how does this Psalm feed you and teach you about King Jesus and your life as His own?

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