A Prayer for the King -- became a Messianic expectationWhat one gets from reading the first verses in this passage are two things which frame our meditation, the God of justice and righteousness and the preferential option of the poor.
First, God is presented as the embodiment of justice and righteousness. The God of justice and righteousness. A king therefore must be endowed with both justice and righteousness, hence the prayer by David for Solomon who was to be his successor.
Second, as one reads the entire passage, one sees the close affinities between justice, righteousness and the preferential option for the poor. The afflicted among the people, the weak and the children of the needy seem to have a great significance in how we ought to understand God. It must be stated that they are not afflicted, weak and needy because God desires for them to be like that. On the contrary God provides all things for humanity in abundance but there are people and systems that rob people of these. Also important to note is that for the afflicted and the needy to exist there must be an oppressor. Oppression and violence are key for the oppressor. In order for the poor to be saved, helped or rescued, the oppressor must be crushed. But often we see the collapse of justice and righteousness and the focus on the spiritual aspects. The collapse is intended to dissuade the exploited from resisting exploitation and the focus on the spiritual aspect is meant to direct them to find solace in the fact that even in their poverty or affliction, amongst other things, God loves them and that should be enough. Systems and structures that impoverish people and make them to set their minds on things above, i.e. heaven, spirit and not material, are equally evil and must be debunked!
The king that embodies justice, righteousness and has the poor at the heart of his reign will deliver the needy, the weak and the afflicted, save them from death and rescue them from oppression and violence. This message comes out strongly in Jesus' manifesto and thus speaks to our mission as church. We are called to disrupt the systems that impoverish God's people. If we are to understand God, our starting point will certainly be the poor, the afflicted, weak and the needy, "for precious is their blood in his sight".
|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. (Psalms72:12-14)
Fundiswa Kobo, Lecturer at UNISA. Serves as the Chaplain for Sedibeng House, and a member of the following committees of the General Assembly: Doctrine and Ecumenical Relations