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Psalm 72:1-2; 11-19 1
1 Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness. 2 He will judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice……11 All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him. 12 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. 15 Long may he live! May gold from Sheba be given him. May people ever pray for him and bless him all day long. 16 Let grain abound throughout the land; on the tops of the hills may it sway. Let its fruit flourish like Lebanon; let it thrive like the grass of the field. 17 May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun. All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed. 18 Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. 19 Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.

clip_image042Background 2

This psalm is about the best king that there can ever be! Maybe David wrote it for (or about) his son, Solomon; or maybe it is by Solomon. Christians have always believed that there is only one king it can really be about: Jesus!

Biblical Truths

There are two important words in this part of the psalm:

  • righteousness means goodness, or being very, very good (verses 1, 2, 3). In verse 1 we see that it is God’s righteousness that the king has. In verse 7 the good people he rules will have it, and also be righteous.
  • justice means fairness, or being fair (verses 1, 2).

In verse 1 the king and the king’s son are the same person.

  • the person in need (verses 12, 13). “In need” is an English way (or idiom) to say people that need money, food, clothes or a home.
  • the poor (verse 12, also verses 2 and 4). This means more than people with not much money. It also means people that rich and powerful people oppress. Oppress means that they are cruel (very *unkind) to them. They make them work so that the rich and powerful people get more money and the poor get very little money.
  • save (verses 12, 13, also verse 4). These words are not all the same in Hebrew, but all mean “save” or “rescue” (“take you away from someone hurting you”) One of the Hebrew words is YOSHEA, which in Greek became JESUS!

There is a special word that comes 4 times in this part of the psalm: bless (verses 15, 17, 18 and 19). There is no English word that means the same as the Hebrew “bless” (baruch). It means more than “say and do good things to”. Also, it does not have the same meaning when:

  • God blesses us (which means we will have many children, so will our animals, our plants will grow well and we will have much money, houses and fields)
  • We bless God (which means we say how good, great and glorious he is, in other words, we praise him). “Glorious” is the adjective (a word that describes) from “glory”. “Glory” means “shining as the sun”.

In verse 16 grain is what we make bread with. In Lebanon, all the plants grew well. In verse 17 “for ever” means “always” … even after we die!

Items for Discussion

  • What is it about mankind that seems to want to be led by a king?
  • What should the relationship be like between a good king and good subjects?
  • In the cases where people rose up and defeated their king, what were the typical reasons?
  • In what ways is our God not like mankind’s kings?
  • What is God’s greatest attribute that makes Him a great king? Your opinion

 

Luke 1:34-35
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

Background

The Gospel of Luke (literally, according to Luke; is a synoptic Gospel, and the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels of the New Testament, which narrates a story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. The author was also the author of Acts of the Apostles. Like the other canonical gospels, the gospel originally circulated anonymously. Since at least the 2nd century, authorship has been ascribed to the Luke named in Colossians 4:14, a doctor and disciple of Paul.

Estimates on when it was written range from c. 50 to c. 100. Traditionally, Christians believe that Luke wrote under the direction, if not at the dictation, of Paul. Conservative scholars suggest this would place it as having been written before Acts, with Acts being composed around 63 or 64. Consequently, the tradition is that this Gospel was written about 60 or 63, when Luke may have been at Caesarea in attendance on Paul, who was then a prisoner. If the alternate conjecture is correct, that it was written at Rome during Paul’s imprisonment there, then it would date earlier, 50–60. Additionally, Acts does not contain the martyrdom of Paul (c. 62), so conservative scholars suggest Luke-Acts were written before this.

Biblical Truths 3

Verse 35. The Holy Spirit will come upon you. See Matthew 1:20.

The power of the Most High. This evidently means that the body of Jesus would be created by the direct power of God. It was not by ordinary generation; but, as the Messiah came to redeem sinners–to make atonement for others, and not for himself–it was necessary that his human nature should be pure, and free from the corruption of the fall. God therefore prepared him a body by direct creation that should be pure and holy. See Hebrews 10:5.

The holy one. That holy progeny or child.

Will be called the Son of God. This is spoken in reference to the human nature of Christ, and this passage proves, beyond controversy, that one reason why Jesus was called the Son of God was because he was begotten in a supernatural manner. He is also called the Son of God on account of his resurrection, Romans 1:4;; Acts 13:33; Psalms 2:7.

Items for Discussion

  • Our faith asks us to believe in many difficult things like the virgin birth. What are some of the other things we Presbyterians believe in that others are skeptical about?
  • How do you personally rationalize the virgin birth (no wrong answers here, just personal thoughts)?
  • Could the Savior, Jesus, have been born of an ordinary conception (a man and woman) and still been our Savior?
  • When we accept the virgin birth, what kinds of benefits do we receive in our faith walk?
  • What about Mary, Christ’s mother, declares her a very special person and validates her virgin status?

Discussion Challenge

  • Why is our belief in the virgin birth tied so closely to our salvation?
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