Observe: Psalm 41 focuses on two evils: sickness and treacherous friends. Verses 1 – 3 tell us that blessings belong to those who consider the poor (weak, helpless). A lament is expressed in verses 4 – 9 where a sinner pleads for mercy against evil-speaking enemies (vs. 4 – 6) and also experiences whispers and betrayal in verses 7 – 9. A plea for mercy and praise to the Lord is given in verses 10 – 13.
Interpret and Application: David, though obviously sick, still trusted God to strengthen and sustain him. When his enemies came to “visit” him, they whispered together, made up lies and slandered him throughout the land when they left. They couldn’t wait for him to die! But as bad as that was, to have one of his closest friends also turn against him and wish him ill…well, that must have hurt deeply! I’m sure he felt very forlorn at that moment. It is interesting to note that in John 13:18 Jesus quoted this psalm by saying: “He who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.” He was, of course, referring to Judas. However, Jesus did not include the words “in whom I trusted” (which David did) because Christ did not trust Judas as He knew He would be betrayed by him, even though Jesus made Judas the treasurer among the disciples. How often have we felt betrayed by a friend, let alone an enemy? It is rather devastating, but we know that those who do this to us will never triumph over us because God upholds us and sets us up in His presence (verse 12) and that is a comforting thought! His great mercy is unfathomable. The end of this psalm also marks the end of the first book in the psalms. A final praise to God and a hearty “amen” assure us that He is on His throne from everlasting to everlasting. Hallelujah!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that you are always there to strengthen and sustain us, even in our weakness. We are so grateful for your unending mercy. Help us to praise and glorify you, no matter the circumstances…even if those closest to us turn on us. You alone are our strength and song. Amen.
Song: Psalm 41
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.