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Psalm 72: Be a Blessing

Read Psalm 72

Open the translation of your choice...


In a Nutshell,

Psalm 72 is a blessing for the king-- the one who, in the Hebrew imagination, was hand-picked by God to carry out God's will for the nation. So no pressure there. :-)


The psalm charges the king to act with compassion and justice on behalf of those most vulnerable-- the poor, the needy and the oppressed-- and to be as generous as rain falling on fields.


Christians have sometimes steered the text in Epiphany and Advent to celebrate Jesus Christ as fulfilling this iconic portrait of justice.


The psalm is an occasion to bless our leaders as well as their governments and citizens with courage and humility.

Singing the Psalm

Be a Blessing (Psalm 72)






Be a blessing like rain showers the earth


With fierce compassion, defend the poor 

Hear the cries of the troubled

With firm conviction, open the doors

Lead the way to peace through the rubble


Be a blessing like rain showers the earth


With lovingkindness, notice the hurt

See those caught in the system

Work with the nations; help heal the earth

Brave our path ahead with a vision


Be a blessing like rain showers the earth


We stand together to send you out

and we pray for your courage

Great tasks ahead now; work from the heart

Be a blessing all through the voyage


Be a blessing like rain showers the earth

Be a blessing like rain showers the earth



©2014 (ASCAP) | All rights reserved. Please use only by permission. Licensed via CCLI, and


Music Resources

Be a Blessing is on the "Love Stands With" album.

Album songbook available here.



Be a Blessing Charts:

  • piano score

  • ​lead sheet

  • guitar/bass chart

  • jpg of congregational line

  • songleader's notes


                        Be a Blessing Charts

                        Only $7.00

Be a Blessing Accompaniment Pack:

  • all charts above


  • powerpoint & keynote lyric slides

  • original recording

  • instrumental accompaniment track


                         Be a Blessing Accompaniment Pack


Going Deep

True shalom has a personal stake in another's happiness. It's a natural sense of connectedness to and claiming of one another in community. Shalom means, 

"If there's anything you need that I have, it's yours."


  • Name someone in your life you feel a shalom connection with.

  • Who are some people you'd like to share shalom with?

  • How does your faith community practice shalom with one another? With other churches in town? With your neighborhood?

What's Shalom

The Hebrew word shalom in Psalm 72.3 means

prosperity, wholeness, blessing among the community.


The English translation is usually peace.

However, my friend Marva taught me it's way more than that.

The Good Leader Checklist

(According to Psalm 72)


be a wise and righteous judge (v. 2)

do justice for the poor (v. 2)

defend the cause of the humble (v. 4)

rescue the children of the needy (v. 4)

crush oppression in all its forms (v. 4)

respond to victims of oppression (v. 12)

help the helpless (v. 12)

pity the weak (v. 13)

protect the vulnerable from violence (v. 14)

hold citizens dear (v. 14)

bless all the nations of the world (v. 17)

Food Justice in Psalm 72


Psalm 72.3 reads, "May the mountains bring shalom to the people, and may the hills bring righteousness." A few verses later, verse 6 calls for the king to be like rain showering the fields.


What's with the land and weather language?


Psalm scholar Clint McCann suggests that the source of shalom in the mountains and hills refers to fields of food crops. It seems God's very creation enacts God's generosity.


"The tangible evidence of the divine character and will being brought to bear upon the world and humankind is food...


When justice and righteousness are done, the result is shalom. In v. 3, "the mounatins bear shalom" (my translation). Why the mountains? Because it was the hill country where Israelite farmers grew their food. It was the monarchy's responsibility to create a legal system (justice) and a web of social relationships (righteousness) that would protect small farmers and their land, precisely so that "the mountains bear shalom"-- that is, food."

(J. Clinton McCann, Jr. "Bread for the World: Toward an Agrarian Reading of the Psalter" (or "Reading the Christ Psalmologically" in Review and Expositor 112/2 (May 2015): 303-310).


Psalm 72 is an example of how spirituality and politics go hand in hand, and how ecology, social justice and economy are knit together.


  • Where do you get your food? If you purchase it at a grocery store, where does that store get the food you buy?

  • Does your neighborhood or town have a food shelf for families that can't afford good food? How many families does it serve on a regular basis?

  • Are there people in your neighborhood or town that consistently do not get nutritious food?  What do you think it would be like to feel hungry all day? To be unsure when you'd eat next?

  • What are some ways your neighborhood or church could be part of justice for people who need good food?

Food is Blessing hymn

Food Is Blessing
(A hymn around Psalms 67 and 72)

7 8 7 8 D

Suggested tune: NETTLETON (Come Thou Fount)


Food is blessing for our bodies

    Gift of God the earth provides

May we eat in such a manner

    that our bodies truly thrive

Faithful seeds are stretching open

    root and stem for sun and rain

Sacred blessings for our bodies

    Holy gifts for all the same


Food is blessing for all people

    Praise the miracle of life

May we eat in such a manner

    that all people truly thrive

Careful ministry of farmers

    bring shalom from hill and plain

Sacred blessings for all people

    Holy gifts to all the same


Food is blessing from our planet

    Let us bless the land with pride

May we eat in such a manner

    that our planet truly thrives

Our dear partners in creation:

    Soil and sky and sea we claim

Scared blessings from our planet

    Holy gifts for all the same


Food is blessing for the sharing

    Gift of life we can't confine

May we eat in such a manner

    all creation truly thrives

See the beauty of the garden

    Taste the love of God proclaimed

Sacred blessings for the sharing

    Holy gifts for all the same


 text: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan,

© 2015 (ASCAP)

Licensed via CCLI, and

Rain Your Love Down

Whether you consider yourself a leader or not, Psalm 72 throws the spotlight on how we engage people.


Verse 6 reads, "As showers fall on young shoots of crops, so shall [the king] bless his people, so shall they flourish." (The Lincoln Psalter by Gordon Jackson).


What does it look like to live generously as rain showering young fields?


In the United States Midwest where I live, we are very connected to farming. My neighbors and I are continually aware of how the weather is influencing planting, the growth of crops and harvest season. What's growing in the fields is what we eat, so it's in everyone's interest to pay attention.


There are people you encounter from day to day-- at home, at work, at school, on the bus, on the sidewalk-- over whom you have some influence. Whether you're intimately connected or only in passing, your words, texts or actions make a difference.


Shower the people you love with love.

Show them the way that you feel.

-- James Taylor, "Shower the People" from the album In the Pocket (1976)




















The rain falls and the sun shines on everyone alike (Matthew 5.45). Would that our love be so unconditional and generous.

Pic by Rachel Kurtz

More Songs for Psalm 72

Marty Haugen/David Hass











Greg Mailloux











Michael Joncas

















Thanks for studying with us


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