With the Word online Bible study–praying for justice

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Psalm 72.1-7, 18-19

Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son.
May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice.
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness.
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.
May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.
In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound, until the moon is no more.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things.
Blessed be his glorious name forever; may his glory fill the whole earth. Amen and Amen.

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What pops out at you in this psalm? Is there anything that makes you go “hmm….” or “huh?” or “hey!!!!” Are you reminded of any other stories–whether in the Bible, in literature/movies/music/TV, or in your own life? As you read, do you hear any music in your head?

The psalms are both a prayer book and a hymnal. Does it seem like this particular psalm is more like a prayer or more like a song? What’s the difference between a prayer and a song? Do you ever pray through music? What is that like for you?

Why does the psalmist choose to pray that the King would know God’s justice and righteousness? Who might the King be?

This prayer asks for a lot of things…do your prayers ever end up seeming like lists of requests? Are these the kinds of requests you’re praying for too?

If we imagine “the King” as anyone with power (political, economic, social, moral, etc) in our society, what would it look like for those people to act in ways this psalm suggests? What would it mean for our world if those with power lived as an answer to this prayer? And then what if we are the ones with power?

Is this a description of “justice” as you think of it? If not, what is justice?

The psalm ends with praise to God–not with an assurance that this prayer will be answered, or with praise because God has already done these things, but praise because God is glory and does wondrous things. How do we too praise when our prayer has not yet been answered but we still live and work in hope?

What do you hear as the good news in this text? What do you hear as a challenge? What might this passage have to say to our community today?

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