Jesus spoke of the difference between Shepherds and hired hands. He was referring to the men who lead the flocks of God, by this analogy to Pastors. His insinuation was that the "true Shepherds" would watch over the flock of God with their heart and soul, while the "hired hands" were only concerned with making a living. It can be similar to the way football players play football. When a player has a contract, he knows the team has a set amount invested in him, whether he gets hurt or not. If he gets hurt he may not be able to play, but he'll still get paid. He tends to give it his all, to improve the demand for his game. Meanwhile, players who are still looking to make a contract will just be out of the game and out of a job if they are injured and can't play. They are less likely to take risks in a game. Jesus was speaking of the concern a shepherd would have for his sheep, if they were his and his livelihood depended on them, rather than the man just hired as a day laborer who would move on to the next job if something happened to the sheep.
This idea of leadership extends to nations, as well as businesses. Typically, Kings rule for life. They have a vision for the Kingdom, and hope to pass the crown down through generations of their sons. They have much more at stake than a President who only has the office for one or two four year terms. The first term's vision is often to get re-elected. The second term's vision is to repay the folks who got him there, and grease as many palms as possible to ensure his rise to wealth when leaving the office. There is no carry over, no personal investment in the country, no heritage to leave for future generations in the minds of many career politicians.
It was not so in the Kingdom of Israel, particularly in the reign of King David, who was promised by God Himself that the dominion of his throne would endure forever. Many of the Psalms were written by David, though people disagree about how many. One which is certain to have been written as his last, according to tradition, and even says that it was written as a prayer for Solomon as he was taking over the throne and David was dying, is Psalm 72. Yet, some still say it was written by Solomon, though that contradicts the internal evidence. This Psalm is a lovely prayer for Solomon as a leader of the people, and more than that, for the nation to endure as a godly people.
Keep in mind that the Psalms were grouped into 5 books, much like CD Albums, and were not grouped in order of writing. Many include the authors' names, and the occasion of writing, as does "track 72," in the second "album" that extends from 42 to 72. This "album," o collection of Psalms is called the Exodus section, because in it they sing of the nation in ruin, and call out to God for deliverance. They speak of how God is able to rescue His people. Psalm 42 begins by crying out for God’s presence in a dry wilderness experience. The singers plead with God for deliverance from enemy oppression. The book finishes with Track 72, a prayer of David for Solomon. The final verses also praise God for His power and might, and His glory. Also, notice that this book (album,) like the first three books of Psalms (albums) ends with a double "Amen, and Amen."The last two books end with "Amen. Praise you the Lord."
I've given quite a bit of background for a purpose. This reveals a structure to the Psalms. The structure points out the purpose. Nothing God has done was done without purpose. So, now to wander gingerly into this jewel of a Psalm, which was after all, David's last song. I will paste the song in below, and substitute a few words as the whim strikes me. Substitutions are bold capped, and extra inserted words are in bold red caps. If you are troubled by my substitutions, don't think of them as taking license with the Scripture, but rather applying them to the here and now.
Give the PRESIDENT your judgments, O God, and your righteousness unto the VICE PRESIDENT. He shall judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice. CONGRESS shall bring peace to the people, and the GOVERNORS, by righteousness. THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE shall judge the poor of the people, DFACS shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the TAX CODE. THE POLICE FORCE shall fear you as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. INFLATION shall come down like GAS PRICES: as UNEMPLOYMENT RATES DROP TO the earth. In his days shall the GNP flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endures. He shall have dominion also from sea to SHINING sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of THE MIDDLE EAST: IRAN, IRAQ, SAUDI ARABIA shall bring presents: the kings of YEMEN AND OMAN shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him. For he shall deliver the needy when he cries; the poor also, and him that has no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their souls from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight. And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of YEMEN: prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised. There shall be a handful of grain in the earth upon the FARMS of the BREADBASKET STATES; the CROPS thereof shall TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD and THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST shall SPREAD like the grass of the earth. His name JESUS shall endure forever: his name JESUS shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call JESUS blessed. Blessed be the Lord God, the God of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, who only does wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name JESUS forever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.
The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.
Matthew 14:3-21 For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put
him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife. For John said unto
him, It is not lawful for you to have her. And when he would have put him to
death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. But when
Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and
pleased Herod. So that he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would
ask. And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John the
Baptist's head on a platter. And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's
sake, and them who sat with him to eat, he commanded it to be given her. And he
sent, and beheaded John in the prison. And his head was brought on a platter,
and given to the girl: and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came,
and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus. When Jesus heard
of it, he departed from there by ship into a desert place apart: and when the
people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jesus
went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward
them, and he healed their sick. And when it was evening, his disciples came to
him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now late; send the
multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves food. But
Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; you give them to eat. And they say
unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them here
to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the
five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and
broke, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that
remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand
men, besides women and children.
There are major differences in the two kings mentioned in this passage. You have Herod king of the Jews, and Jesus Christ, the King of the Jews. Notice the similarities in experiences:
1. Both kings have a loved one who is attacked.
2. Both kings withdraw.
3. Both kings feel an inward longing to satisfy people.
4. Both kings are forced into action that they had withdrawn from doing because of these longings to satisfy.
But, there the similarities end. Herod's sister-in-law Herodias was very important to him. John the Baptist had named their relationship as incestous and adultrous. Herod wanted to kill John for this. He was enraged, yet knew there were limits to what the people might endure. He withdrew his plans to kill John, and left him in prison instead. But, then at his birthday party, he was pleased to see Herodias' lovely daughter dancing for him in front of the crowds. In a desire to give her something, because he was pleased with this show of love, he offered her a gift. She, at the advice of her mother, asked for the head of John the Baptist. Now, Herod was forced to have John executed, because he had promised to give his daughter whatever she asked him.
Jesus' cousin John had laid the ground work for His mission. He had been the forerunner for Jesus. There had been a special bond between their mothers that had been strengthened by giving miraculous births within months of each other. Both births had been foretold by angels. Who knows how the death of John may have crushed Jesus?! The Bible records that Jesus withdrew himself to a desert place to be alone. He needed time to think, to grieve. He didn't seek the solace of friends, but felt He needed a rest. The hungry crowds of sick and hurting people followed Him, wanting so much to just be near Him. Jesus was moved with compassion for their needs and felt a desire to give them of Himself. he healed the sick. Then he fed them with much of nothing. Both of these gifts were performed miraculously with His own hands.
Herod's gift and his withdrawel were motivated by pride and selfishness. Jesus was motivated by love and compassion. They both gave gifts. They were both moved. But, to different ends. What moves you? How are you moved? What action do you take when you are moved? This is what defines you. Our plans are all just that... plans. No one is glorious because they have plans. It is in the mind of all of us to have plans. But, how do you react, or move when the chess pieces around you are moved? This is where you will find out what sort of king you really are.