Friday, March 1, 2013

Psalm 41 -The third psalm to begin with Blessed

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Psalm 41

How blessed is he who considers the helpless; 
The Lord will deliver him in a day of trouble. 
The Lord will protect him and keep him alive, 
And he shall be called blessed upon the earth; 
And do not give him over to the desire of his enemies.
The Lord will sustain him upon his sickbed; 
In his illness, You restore him to health. 
As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me; 
Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.” 
My enemies speak evil against me, 
“When will he die, and his name perish?” 
And when he comes to see me, he speaks falsehood; 
His heart gathers wickedness to itself; 
When he goes outside, he tells it. 
All who hate me whisper together against me; 
Against me they devise my hurt, saying, 
 “A wicked thing is poured out upon him, 
That when he lies down, he will not rise up again.” 
 Even my close friend in whom I trusted, 
Who ate my bread, 
Has lifted up his heel against me. 
But You, O Lord, be gracious to me and raise me up, 
That I may repay them. 
By this I know that You are pleased with me, 
Because my enemy does not shout in triumph over me. 
As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, 
And You set me in Your presence forever. 
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, 
From everlasting to everlasting. 
Amen and Amen.


This psalm - Psalm 41  is the last psalm in the first book of Psalms.  You can tell it is the last psalm of a book because it ends with the phrase Amen and amen.  The first psalm of book one and the last psalm of book one both begin with happy or blessed.  This is the third Psalm opening with blessed.  Psalm 1 first is blessed is one who searches the word of God,  the second is  Psalm 32 blessed is pardoned sin, and now  Psalm 41 blessed the forgiven sinner who brings forth fruit unto God available for the good of others.

Psalm 41 is a beatitude psalm, it is also a psalm of lamentation, thanksgiving and a messianic psalm.  A messianic psalm predicting the betrayal of Judas. This psalm of David, Psalm 41:1-3  starts with the happiness of one who considers the poor or weak, Psalm 41:4-9 then moves to a plee for help and understanding, Psalm 41:10 then David states his case, Psalm 41:11-13  then closes with thanksgiving.  One would also not that it ends with

David probably wrote the psalm while reflecting on the betrayal of his by his faithless friend Ahithophel, who sided with Absalom when Absalom sought to usurp his father’s throne 2 Samuel 15-17  David was ill and he looked back and remembered that he had been merciful to others and had helped the week and the poor. This thought gave him encouragement. God is merciful to those who show mercy.

Psalm 41:1  The poor here are not only those who are monetarily poor, but those who are weak in body strength, those who are forgotten and despised, and those who are depressed and sad. To care for them is more than just to give them some money.  To care for the poor is to come to their rescue in their time of need.  It is to find the cause of their problems and to try to provide lasting relief. this kind of concern fot the poor is to reflect the love and concern given to us by Jesus.

Psalm 41:4 Now David is very ill. He is praying for mercy and confessing his sins to God. He is trusting in God for help. Psalm 41:5-8  David looks around and sees that his enemies are gossiping about him and wishing he were dead. Psalm 41: 9 Even his close friend, whom he trusted and shared bread with him turned against him. He kicked him while he was down.

At this point in the Psalm we can see how this is easily said to be a messianic psalm.  These words of David essentially predict the betrayal of Christ.  David’s close companion betrayed him; he kicked him while he was “down.” Jesus was betrayed by his close companion Judas. John 13:1 Matthew 26:21-25

Finally, David looks up again.  He looks at God and not at his friends and circumstances. He prays for mercy, and the opportunity to reestablish his position. He assures himself that the frustration of his enemies shows that God is pleased with him. Let David’s enemies spread their gossip. God would raise him up, hold him up, and will grant him his presence.

Book I of the Psalms  Psalm 41 closes with a doxology. The endings of the other 4 books of Psalms also end in a doxology Psalm 72,  Psalm 89,  Psalm 106,  Psalm 150 

As it has been said - Sometimes, how you feel depends on where you look.  Look up to God!

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