I don’t know how it is for you, but sometimes when I read the Bible I get tired of all its talk about justice, righteousness, and peace. Throughout the English Bible, the word “justice” pops up 147 times, the word “righteousness” 241 times, and the word “peace” 256 times. Usually these three words appear in the same passages. After a while it starts to sound like a slogan, a mantra: justice, righteousness, and peace. “Ugh,” I sometimes mutter under my breath, “there are those words again.” They pop up in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, 1 Samuel, 2 Chronicles, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Amos, Micah, Habakkuk, and Malachi, not to mention almost every book in the New Testament. “Oh no!” I sometimes say to myself, “there come those old, repetitious words again—justice, righteousness, and peace. I’m a little tired of the Bible throwing them in my face.”
Do you ever feel this way? Well, here they come again in Psalm 72.
Why do these three words appear so often across such a wide range of biblical texts? The answer that makes the most sense to me is that God must care an awfully lot about justice, righteousness, and peace. These words, and the moral behavior they suggest, must lie at the core of God’s heart. They must be among God’s top priorities.
- Psalm 72:1 - 7
- Psalm 72:10 - 14