In the texts of Scripture we read today, we learn about three leaders who show (or try to show) kindness and mercy to others.
Psalm 72 tells us about the ideal king of Israel who seeks justice and righteousness (vv. 3-4). He looks after the afflicted and saves “the children of the needy.” He delivers “the needy who cry out,” and “the poor who have no one to help” (v. 12). He has “compassion for the weak and the poor” and saves “the needy from death” (v. 13). He rescues them “from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight” (v. 14).
Acts 7 describes Moses as a leader who rescued Israel from slavery. The Lord said to him, “I have seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt” (v. 34). Previously, Moses had defended one of the slaves who was mistreated by an Egyptian (v. 24).
David was a king whose leadership was challenged, not only by his son Absalom, but also by his advisor Ahithophel, the grandfather of Bathsheba (11:3; 23:34). Ahithophel was greatly respected, for “in those days the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who inquires of God. That was how both David and Absalom regarded all of Ahithophel’s advice” (16:23). But “the Lord had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster on Absalom” (v. 14). David’s compassion is seen when he tells his military leaders to show mercy to Absalom (18:5), but in the end, the usurper was killed in battle (vv. 14-15).
Psalm 72:1 begins with a prayer for the leader: “endow the king with your justice, O God.” Let us pray today for the leaders of our church, our city, our province and our nation. May each one seek justice and righteousness. May each one look after the afflicted and the suffering. Amen.
Still Patti's favourite!