Scripture Reading – Psalms 5, 38, 41-42
Our devotional commentary is taken from Psalm 41 where we find David at a low point in life, physically and emotionally. The theme of the psalm is, “God’s Care of the Poor” and scholars believe the king penned the song when he was ill or recovering from sickness.
Remembering the psalms were sung by priests and Levites during worship in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple, I invite you to notice four stanzas.
The first stanza is a Beatitude that opens with the word, “Blessed” (41:1-3).
Psalm 41:1-3 – “Blessed [Happy] is he that considereth [understands] the poor [weak; needy]: the LORDwill deliver [save] him in time of trouble [sin; wickedness; evil]. 2 The LORD will preserve [keep; guard] him, and keep him alive [sustain]; and he shall be blessed [prosperous] upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver [abandon] him unto the will [desire] of his enemies [adversary; foe]. 3 The LORD will strengthen [support; uphold] him upon the bed [couch; canopy] of languishing [sorrow]: thou wilt make [turn; overthrow] all his bed in his sickness [disease; malady].”
Having shown compassion to the poor, David rehearsed the LORD’s promise to hear and heed the cries of His people in their hour of need (41:1). The king remembered God keeps watch over His people and delivers them out of trouble in His time (41:2). Betrayed by those he loved, David had tossed and turned upon his bed as sorrows and disappointments washed over his soul (41:3).
The second stanza is a penitent prayer of confession and a cry for God’s grace (41:4). He prayed,
Psalm 41:4 – “4 I said, LORD, be merciful [gracious; show favor] unto me: heal [cure; purify] my soul [life]; for I have sinned [committed sin; guilty] against thee.”
The king had spent sleepless nights praying and searching his heart. He confessed his sin and pleaded for God’s grace, forgiveness and restoration (41:4).
In the third stanza, David rehearsed the sorrows and betrayals he had suffered (41:5-9).
Psalm 41:5-6 – “Mine enemies speak [charge] evil [sin; wickedness] of me, When shall he die [be slain], and his name [fame; honor] perish [destroyed]? 6 And if he [enemy; adversary] come to see [look; behold] me, he speaketh [declare] vanity [deceit; lies]: his heart gathereth [collect; heap; take up] iniquity [sin; wickedness] to itself; when he goeth [go forth] abroad [in the streets], he telleth [speak; say; talk] it.”
All who serve the LORD and walk with integrity will inevitably face such pain (41:5-7). Distressed by the sorrow of rejection and the bitter anguish of betrayal, David continued:
Psalm 41:7-8 – “7 All that hate me whisper [mumble] together [i.e. in chorus] against me: against me do they devise [imagine; fabricate] my hurt. 8 An evil [wicked] disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth [lays down] he shall rise up no more.”
Psalm 41:9 – “Yea, mine own familiar [close] friend, in whom I trusted [a confidant], which did eat [devour; consume] of my bread [food; meal], hath lifted up his heel [foot] against me [magnified himself].”
Psalm 41:9 gives us insight into the personal nature of the treachery that had befallen David. [I believe verse 9 is also a Messianic prophecy that was fulfilled when Judas betrayed Christ].
David’s adversary wanted to grind the king under his heel and humiliate him. His enemy waited for the satisfaction of the king’s demise. Although not identified by name, I believe David’s enemy was either Absalom, the king’s own son (2 Samuel 15) or Ahithophel, the king’s trusted counselor who had joined in Absalom’s rebellion (2 Samuel 16:23).
The fourth stanza of Psalm 41 concludes with a doxology of praise (41:10-13).
Psalm 41:10-13 – “But thou, O LORD, be merciful [be gracious; show me favor] unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them. [reward them for the evil his enemies had done] 11 By this I know that thou favourest [delight in] me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. 12 And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity [innocence], and settest me before thy face [presence] for ever. 13 Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.”
David’s hope was renewed when he turned his thoughts from his hurts and disappointments to the LORD.
Let’s take a lesson from David’s life: God is just and He favors those who put their trust in Him (41:11-12).
Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith