Worship Notes- O God Your Judgments Give the King

1 O God, your judgments give the King,
his son your righteousness;
with right he shall your people judge,
your poor with uprightness.
And then the mountains shall bring forth
to all the people peace;
the hills because of righteousness
their blessing shall increase.

2 The people’s poor ones he shall judge,
the needy’s children bless;
and he will break in pieces those
who would the poor oppress.
The just shall flourish in his days,
and prosper in his reign;
and while the moon endures he shall
abundant peace maintain.

3 His large and great dominion shall
from sea to sea extend;
it from the River shall reach forth
to earth’s remotest end.
Yea, kings shall all before him bow,
all nations shall obey;
he’ll save the needy when they cry,
the poor who have no stay.

4 Now blessed be the Lord our God,
the God of Israel,
for he alone does wondrous works
in glory that excel.
And blessed be his glorious name
to all eternity.
The whole earth let his glory fill;
amen, so let it be.

O God Your Judgments Give the King

Our final hymn this week comes from Psalm 72. Its inscription says, “Of Solomon.” It is a prayer for the king, and the last verse identifies it as a prayer of David the son of Jesse, so that the inscription means that Solomon is the subject of the Psalm, not the author. It may be that Solomon versified the prayer that David prayed for him, or it may be that David himself wrote the psalm. Either way, David should be regarded as the author, and Solomon the intermediate subject. But Solomon did not fulfill the prayer of David except partially; his rule did not lead to everlasting righteousness and justice. Zacharias’ prayer at the birth of his son John identifies the events of his lifetime as being the fulfilment of these and many similar prophecies; it is Christ the Son of David who is ultimately the king spoken of here, and the glory of His reign which is promised, from Old Testament eyes.

The first verse shows that it is only with the power of God that a king can accomplish these great things, and especially that the righteousness of God is worked in the king. The wickedness and incompetence of their kings was the continual plague of the nation of Israel, and their rare righteous king could do little to reverse the tide. But God had promised David that one of his seed would come and be endowed by God in a special way, and that His kingdom would reign forever. The Babylonian Captivity definitively proved that none of the line of David up to that point was that king, and none from the line of David ever sat on the throne in Jerusalem since then. But God sent His Son, to be born the Son of David after the flesh, and anointed Him with power and glory to fulfill the ancient promise.

This king will provide justice and righteousness for the people. No longer will the strong oppress the weak, and the rich exploit the poor, which is the normal course of the world. People will live in peaceful community with one another, no longer fearing invaders, robbers or evil oppressors. It will be a time of great material abundance, as even the tops of the mountains will be fertile and productive.

Verse 3 shows that this dominion of the king would extend from sea to sea, and all the nations of the earth will be subject to it. The glory of the Lord will be known throughout the world, and the kingdom of this king will rule over all, bringing peace and justice not just to Israel but to all the world.

The Psalm therefore presents to us a time on earth when all the nations are ruled in common by one king, that all oppression and injustice ends, that is characterized by tremendous material abundance, peace, security and knowledge. All of this comes as a result, we see in verse 4, of the wondrous work of God, who “alone does wondrous works” for His glorious and blessed name.

There has always been a great deal of debate about how this state will come about. I believe it makes the most sense to understand this as the eternal state seen somewhat dimly from Old Testament eyes, a time when all of God’s people from every nation live in fellowship and harmony together, praising God and enjoying His good creation without any oppression, fraud or violence, for all eternity. It happens when Christ comes again and destroys all the evildoers and oppressors and wasters, all those who have not bent the knee to Jesus’ kingship and accepted the forgiveness of their sins.

That debate will no doubt continue to rage until the actual state of affairs is fully achieved and all the questions are answered. Until then, however, we clearly can take comfort in the knowledge that Jesus Christ is certainly bringing about this state of affairs even now according to His secret plan. We also can have wisdom to know that since God has endowed Jesus Christ with this power and righteousness, we should certainly expect no other ruler or great man to bring us security, prosperity and justice, except by God’s grace only very partially, as Solomon did. Christ is the hope of this sad world, and there is no other. So blessed be the glorious name of God, and of His Son, Jesus the Messiah, for the day will infallibly come when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Worship Notes: Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

1 Love divine, all loves excelling,

Joy of heav’n, to earth come down:

fix in us thy humble dwelling,

all thy faithful mercies crown:

Jesus, thou art all compassion,

pure, unbounded love thou art;

visit us with thy salvation,

enter ev’ry trembling heart.


2 Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit

into ev’ry troubled breast;

let us all in thee inherit,

let us find the promised rest:

take away the love of sinning;

Alpha and Omega be;

End of faith, as its Beginning,

set our hearts at liberty.


3 Come, Almighty to deliver,

let us all thy life receive;

suddenly return, and never,

nevermore thy temples leave.

Thee we would be always blessing,

serve thee as thy hosts above,

pray, and praise thee, without ceasing,

glory in thy perfect love.


4 Finish, then, thy new creation;

pure and spotless let us be:

let us see thy great salvation

perfectly restored in thee;

changed from glory into glory,

till in heav’n we take our place,

till we cast our crowns before thee,

lost in wonder, love, and praise.

This is a song about sanctification.  The writer (Charles Wesley) fixes the nature and source of our sanctification from the very beginning in the love of Christ, a love greater than any love; and vital to success in sanctification.  As long as we think of repentance and good works merely as a duty or as a way to earn God’s favor or avoid His wrath, we will never truly progress.  On the one hand, we will look to our own strength for the source of our labors, which is woefully insufficient.  On the other our motivation will be fundamentally selfish, and how can we progress in righteousness motivated by sinful motives?  But when we recognize that the love of Christ toward us is the source of all progress in truth, and the motivation for all our efforts in repentance and sanctification, then our efforts are on the proper footing.

Wesley demonstrates a rich understanding of the Scriptures throughout.  Much of the thinking here is drawn from John 14-16, though there are references to many other Scriptures as well.  The lyrics are a progression of thought through the Biblical doctrine of salvation, starting with the love of Christ, through the work of the Spirit, reuniting us to the Father, and ending with our eternal glorification.  This follows well the process of salvation as we experience it subjectively in our own lives.  We become aware of the love of Christ for us in what He did for us in His death.  That love works more and more in us through the power of the Spirit, making us know and understand God better over time, leading more and more to despise the false ambitions, threats, and seductions of this world.

Wesley prays for the divine love to come and make a home in our hearts (verse 1), as Jesus promised to do.  He does this via the work of the Holy Spirit (verse 2), and this is very helpful to know, for it helps us understand the way that our salvation is accomplished.  The salvation of Christ is at work in us through the ministry of the Spirit of God.  Jesus said He would send His Spirit to His apostles, and this resulted in the inspired Scriptures being sent.  The Spirit comes to us as well, not that we might write new Scriptures, but that we might understand the Scriptures already written.  Understanding the role of the Spirit in our salvation helps us give full glory to the Trinity for our salvation, but also to understand the means by which that salvation occurs so that we can be obedient to lay hold of the means of grace as we are instructed.

The Spirit of love is also the Spirit of adoption, and verse 2 recognizes this with a prayer that in the Spirit we might inherit the promise.  The land of Canaan was a type of the promise we have in Christ, a figure to which Wesley refers in verse 2, “let us find the promised rest.”

Verse 2 also gives us a profound bit of psychological understanding.  “Take away the love of sinning.”  This is the great problem of sanctification, of course.  We can develop disciplines, techniques, and habits, and these are all well and good, but in the moment of temptation, the problem is that we don’t want to follow those things.  We want to sin.  And ultimately we’re going to do what we want to do.  Sanctification therefore requires a change in our desires, and this is work that only the divine power of God can accomplish.  He’s promised to work through means, so we’re not passive, but we have to understand that this is not anything we can ever do in our own strength.  Thus Wesley’s prayer, “take away the love of sinning.”  The last part of that verse recognizes that God is therefore not just the One who starts us in the faith, but the one who preserves and finishes us in that faith as well—“Alpha and Omega be, end of faith as its beginning.”  And the result of this is freedom—freedom from the greatest slavery mankind knows, the slavery to sin.

Verse 3 again calls on Old Testament imagery of the temple of God in Jerusalem, in which the presence of God dwelt.  When that temple was corrupted by idolatry, the glory of God departed (Ezekiel 8-10).  The prophets all promised a return to His Temple though, when the Messiah came and poured out His Spirit.  The people of God are that temple (1 Peter 2:1-9), consecrated by the shed blood of Christ and indwelt forever by God.  The consecration of Christ’s blood is so much better than that of bulls and goats (Hebrews 9:13-14), and this new temple to God will never be defiled.  Thus, God will never again leave His new temple.  Verse 3 goes on to reflect on the eternal fellowship of love and worship that the people of God will enjoy forever in this new temple.

So the final verse calls on God to complete the work that He has begun.  The Christian earnestly desires to be free of sin completely.  We do not desire to be merely forgiven sinners, but perfected saints.  Forgiveness is only the beginning.  When we are complete in our salvation, restored to the image of God, recognizing finally and fully that the love of God is greater than any other love, then we will finally be able to come before God and see Him face to face with no impediment, and return to Him all the glory and worship that He deserves.