The Glorious Reign Of
Messiah The King

A brief study of Psalm 72, adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 16 January 2009

Psalm 72 was probably written by King David for his son Solomon as he passed the sceptre over to him.

But Solomon was a type of Christ. God would not allow David to build temple partly because He would have the Son of David to build it. The son of David, Solomon would build the shadow of the temple in earthly Jerusalem. The Greater Son of David, Christ Jesus, would build the substance of the temple in heavenly Jerusalem. Solomon was a type of Christ.

Thus, when God had told David that he would not build the temple, He said to him through Nathan:

12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever” (2 Sam 7:12-13).

The New Testament makes it clear that this prophecy is not ultimately referring to Solomon, but to Christ, the greater Son of David, the greater Solomon (Lk 1:32-33; Acts 2:30; 13:22-23).

And so Psalm 72 is not ultimately about Solomon, but about the Greater Solomon. Indeed, if this psalm were only about Solomon, we would not be able to sing it meaningfully, for it would make little sense, and would have little enduring value.

So sure that this Psalm is Messianic that Hengstenberg, the commentator says:

“The Psalmist would have rendered himself ridiculous, if he had promised such a dominion to any of the ordinary posterity of David, and no such thing ever took place.… The violent assumptions which must be made, by those who do not adopt the Messianic interpretation, shew how imperatively that interpretation is demanded by the contents of the Psalm.”

With this sentiment we agree. Psalm 72 concerns the “Glorious Reign of Messiah, the King.”

This psalm has two parts. Verses 1-17 describes the reign of the Messiah. Verses 18-19 is a doxology. Verse 19, is not really a part of this psalm, but the ending note of the second division of the book of Psalms (which begun at Ps 42).

1. The Reign of King Jesus

In this section, which is the bulk of the psalm, we are given words to extol the reign of Christ our King from four perspective, namely: (1) Its Righteousness (v. 1-7); (2) Its Universality (v. 8-11); (3) Its Benevolence (v. 12-14); and (4) Its Perpetuity (v. 15-17).

a. The Righteousness of the
Reign of Christ (v. 1-7)

1 Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.

Our psalm opens with a plea to the Father to endow our King with righteousness and justice. Every king may claim righteousness and justice, but ultimately only the righteousness and justice of God matters, for He is the Law-Giver. No one has the right to define what is right and just, but He who is the Law-Giver.

Christ our King, as the God-Man was endowed with true and perfect righteousness and justice. As such, His reign is characterised by righteousness and peace:

2 He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment. 3 The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. 4 He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. 5 They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.

What a beautiful picture of peace and tranquillity that is brought about by righteousness and justice! Look at the mountains and the hills in the distance. Peace and righteousness seem to be flowing from them, like a refreshing mist. It will touch the lives of everyone.

The poor will not be neglected; the children of the needy will be delivered. The oppressors will be punished. This reign of righteousness and justice shall last forever and ever—as long as the sun and the moon shall endure.

Again, this righteousness will come upon the earth like a shower that refreshes the land.

6 He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth. 7 In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.

This righteousness will come when the Messiah comes. When He comes, His kingdom will be established for ever and ever. The prophet Isaiah expressed these same truths in prophecy some 300 years after this psalm was penned. He says concerning the Messiah, Isaiah 9:7—

“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

And again, Isaiah 11:4—

“But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.”

This rule of righteousness and justice and peace has already begun. In begun in the heart of his people and it will last for all eternity.

And this reign of peace is not only found in a small piece of land like in earthly kingdoms. It is a universal reign.

b. The Universality of the
Reign of Christ (v. 8-11)

8 He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. 9 They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust. 10 The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. 11 Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.

No earthly Jewish king, not even Solomon fulfilled this prophecy. Only Christ the king has fulfilled and is fulfilling these words.

Today, his reign extend from sea to sea as His subjects in every period, nation, tongue and clime bow down to Him in humble adoration.

It is true that his kingdom today is largely hidden, though it is no less real. But the day is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that “Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:10-11 Rom 14:11).

Herein is the universality of Christ’s reign. Every where in the world today, there are those who will confess him as King. And it will be so until Christ returns again, when His rule will be acknowledged by all.

But consider now the benevolence of His reign.

c. The Benevolence of the
Reign of Christ (v. 12-14)

12 For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. 13 He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. 14 He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.

We have already seen aspects of this when we spoke about the justice and righteousness of the reign of Christ, but here is more.

Our Lord is not an absent king. He does not only provide the people with a righteous rule and access to justice. He hears the cries of the needy. He helps those who are in need. He delivers them from deceit and violence. He does not shut his bowels of compassion against them.

He hears our prayer, and we can be sure he is doing something about it.

Yes, He may not immediately remove every injustice we suffer, for His kingdom of Christ is not of this world (Jn 18:36). But let us be sure that He hears our cries and he will not allow any sense of injustice in the heart of his children to remain forever. He will see to it the meek will inherit the earth (Mt 5:5). He will see to it that those who are persecuted for righteousness sake shall know everlasting blessedness (Mt 5:10).

And He is able to give this guarantee for His reign will know no end, which is the fourth attribute of his reign.

d. The Perpetuity of the
Reign of Christ (v. 15-17)

15 And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised. 16 There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth.

Here is another beautiful picture of Christ’s eternal reign.

It is a picture of perfect blessedness as those who have been blessed by Him cast their crown of gold before Him and praise and thank him for ever and ever (v. 15).

It is also a picture of overflowing blessings (v. 16). The reference to the ‘handful’ of corn must not be misunderstood. The original word (פּסּה) signifies abundance. It is a picture of a mountain carpeted with fruitful grain crop swaying in the wind.

The city of the Lord will flourish (v. 17), but her citizens will be fully provided for unlike in the case of many large cities around the world.

Such is the reign of Christ the king that we may confidently sing:

17   His name for ever shall endure;

          last like the sun it shall:

     Men shall be bless'd in him, and bless'd

          all nations shall him call.

Does not the hope and thrill of these words chase away the deepest gloom in our soul? Thank God for Christ our Lord. Thank God that He is our King today and forevermore.

But such a thrill in our heart cannot be contained. It must find expression in our tongue. And what better way to express our praise, than to lift up our hearts and voice together using the doxology in our metrical version.

2. The Doxology

18   Now blessed be the Lord our God,

          the God of Israel,

     For he alone doth wondrous works,

          in glory that excel.

19   And blessed be his glorious name

          to all eternity:

     The whole earth let his glory fill.

          Amen, so let it be.

What more shall we say? This is our desire. This is our hope. This is our future. This is our joy.

May the Lord fill the earth with His glory? May we bask in His glory for ever and ever.


The world that we live in has been wreck by sin. Bad news and grief confront us every step of the way so that it appears that we cannot enjoy a moment of happiness without a sustained period of grief. But let us not loose heart. Let us learn rather to rejoice in the midst of adversities—for we know that Christ our King is reigning. And the day is coming when all our tears and sorrows will be replaced by songs of joy.

Therefore beloved brethren, let us lift up our chins and look to our King, and live by faith and hope, not by sight. Blessed are those who believe and who would walk in this hope. Amen.

—JJ Lim