Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son. – Psa. 72:1 KJV
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The bible documents the scripture for today’s devotional as the end of the prayers of David, son of Jesse – Psa. 72:20. David no doubt was the king in reference in this psalm, and the psalm was not only an appeal to the Lord on his own behalf only but also on behalf of his son, Solomon who was the heir apparent. In this appeal, he asked the Lord for His judgement and on behalf of his son Solomon, he asked for the Lord’s righteousness.
King David obviously was a caring person, one who desired that his son not only succeeded him as king but also had a successful and peaceful reign. He must have also desired that his legacy continued successfully after his departure from this realm and so did everything to prepare ground for success by not only appointing and revealing God’s choice as successor but also equipping the successor with all that may be required for success. He started out by taking concrete steps, while he was still alive to identify and enthrone Solomon his son from Bathsheba, as his successor – 1Kgs 1:28-40; 1Chr. 28:4-7. He went further to appeal to the elders of Israel to remain loyal to him even after his death by upholding his wish and giving Solomon his son all the support he will need to succeed as king knowing that he is young and inexperienced -1Chr. 28:8; 28:21; 29:1-9. He took time to properly hand over instructions and directives of God for the kingdom to Solomon, asking him to remain strong and courageous in the task ahead – 1Chr. 28:9-20. He rounded up his succession plans by handing over his son to the Lord, the same one who had chosen him as king and equally chosen his son as his successor, pleading that the Lord grant him the whole hearted devotion to keep all His commands, requirements and decrees – 1Chr. 29:19. Today’s scripture must be the final set of prayers to the Lord with regards to his desire for events to remain peaceful long after he was gone. He had asked for two things, one for himself and the other for his heir apparent. He pleaded for judgement of God for himself and righteousness for his son, Solomon.
Being conscious of the need to be able to assess situations rightly especially with regards to events that will happen long after he was gone from this realm, he knew he will require the divine skills to be able to make plans for peaceful succession after himself. There are several people who will act differently once he departs but who today remain very loyal to him. He needed to have the accurate assessment of each person from the divine perspective, so as to identify and give instructions that will prevent the disruptions that such people may cause after his departure. It was never going to be easy considering that even whilst he was alive, he had witnessed at least two recorded acts of rebellion against his reign and instructions. Absalom was so successful in his rebellion that he dethroned him for a period and he was only able to return to his position as king by Grace (2Sam. 15:1-20) whilst same grace and quick intervention was also responsible for preventing Adonijah from succeeding in a similar mission – 1Kgs. 1:5-10. As one who desired that events after him be successful and peaceful, he needed Jehovah’s ability to judge the activity of people as this will enable him put up a structure that will ensure that his plans were not disrupted as soon as he was gone.
He however did not lose out on the fact that a major point to note at ensuring that all these plans are successfully effected will be the main person at the center of this succession plan. He will need to possess divine righteousness. That Solomon was God appointed will be insufficient as he, David was a living witness to how king Saul who was also God appointed lost the grace because he lacked the righteousness of God. To be righteous in this instance is to do all that is right before the Lord. Those same things that King David listed in verses 2, 4, 12-14 of that same psalm seventy two. This is because it is only with divine righteousness that he will be able to perform in the manner described in those verses and of course receive the blessing that will define his reign and make it a peaceful and prosperous one, not only for himself but for the people he will superintend over – Psa. 72: 3, 5-11. In addition, the king requested from the Lord for his successor, long life and love of his people for him just as he prayed that his reign be characterised by prosperity for all – Psa. 72:17. What an indication of a strong desire for peace and prosperity to reign amongst his people long after he was gone.
Several families, groups and societies are in great turmoil today because the incumbent leader did not think of or make a good succession plan. For some of them, it is because it sounds like wishing on themselves evil since it involves activities that would happen after they have transited. It is like making such plans amounts to fast-forwarding their departure from this realm, something they hate to contemplate. For some, it is a nice way of remaining relevant like some form of power broker with everyone lobbying to be so appointed whilst for some, the excuse for not making and revealing a succession plan is to protect either the one making the plan or the one identified as the beneficiary of the plan. As much as all the above reasons and even others not mentioned may be valid, it can never be sufficient to justify the level of de-stabilisation that not making such plans have been causing and will continue to cause amongst men. There is no doubt that if the succession is made under the directives of the Almighty God, none of the anticipated negatives will manifest especially if the people involved continue to make the Almighty God their god exclusively.
Jesus Christ himself set an example in this direction by identifying Simon Peter and preparing the mind of the other disciples to accept him as the leader after his transition – Matt. 16:13-30; Jn. 22:15-17. Everyone who is leading and wants to be seen as a good leader must think of events after his leadership because either for reasons of death, or retirement or movement into higher callings, a leader will have to vacate a leadership position at some point. Then, it will not just be about how peaceful the reign was when he/she was alive, but for how long such a peaceful atmosphere subsisted long after such a leader would have departed.
Make divine succession plans so that your efforts will not just be recognised during your reign but long after you have gone. May God grant us the wisdom to make good succession plans that will ensure peace for those we leave behind long after we have gone in Jesus name. Amen.