'Endow the king with your justice, O God,

                                              the royal son with your righteousness.'

                                                                                        Psalm 72:1

     What is it that God looks for in a ruler, in a king? Is there a virtue He prizes above all others? a virtue that epitomises the ideal king? If there is one virtue we pray may characterise the reign of king Charles III, what should it be?Should it be that he be wise? that he be compassionate? that he be gracious? that he be noble? that he be victorious? that he be happy? that he be glorious? Should our prayers for the king echo the sentiments of the national anthem? Are any of these the virtue God looks for in a king; the virtue we should surely be praying for?

Well, the answer is 'no.' We may indeed pray that king Charles be many, if not all of these things, but if we want to align our prayers with God's will we will be praying above all that Charles will first and foremost be a righteous king.

     Psalm 72 is said to be a coronation psalm and is attributed to king Solomon. If Israel had an ideal king that king was surely king Solomon. His reign was largely one of peace and unrivalled splendour, and yet at the end of his reign the people were complaining about the hardship his reign had inflicted upon them, there were growing signs of unrest and disunity and the king's unfaithfulness had greatly angered God. Solomon had so much going for him yet failed to live up to expectations. Charles also has a lot going for him but the expectation is, understandably, decidedly less! Neither will be remembered as the ideal king.

But then, isn't any such hope bound to be disappointed? Who could possibly live up to such an ideal? Who could possibly personify such virtue? After-all, expectations such as these are surely beyond human attainment?Unless, of course, the King is non-other than God Himself. Unless, of course, the King is non-other than the God who 'became flesh' John 1:14. Unless, of course, this King is Himself 'the Righteous One,' Acts 7:52. Unless, of course, this King is Jesus!

    When you look in detail at Psalm 72 you begin to notice that many of the expressions and expectations recorded there can be understood either in a prayerful sense or a prophetic sense: hopes for today and hopes for the future. Hopes that the Christian knows have been and will be relised in the King who has come and the King who will come again: Jesus Christ, the one and only ideal King. Jesus Christ the one King to whom we would all be wise to pledge our aliegance.

                                                                                                                               Graham Pulham