Psalm 41: Blessed Is the One
February 19, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Leviticus 11-13, Psalm 41, Matthew 18:15-35, Acts 25:13-27
There are many motivations for generosity: a response to what Christ has done for us, an expression of genuine kindness, and even if somewhat less positively, the motivation of looking good by doing good. Charity is motivated by many wells of desires deep within the human heart. But one such motivation is alluded to here in the first few verses of this psalm: happiness. “Blessed is the one who considers the poor” (41:1).
Perhaps you are someone with resources. Perhaps you are someone who has the means and wherewithal to give. In fact, everyone can give something. This is the lesson of Jesus’ story about the “widow’s mite.” What counts is not so much the amount we give as the amount we retain. God is looking for cheerful givers. And to give is “blessed”: more than mere passing happiness, it is the kind of lifestyle that God loves to bless. “In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him” (41:1).
This thought about how God delivers him then seems from verse 4 to turn David’s thoughts to the ways that he needs to be delivered. “O LORD, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you!” There is none who does not sin. If we say we have not sinned, the truth is not within us; but if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9). David is quick to ask God to forgive him, heal him, help him when he has sinned. Perhaps you are conscious of some particular sin this morning. Would you confess that sin to God and ask him to heal you?
But David also needs rescue from his “enemies” (41:5). Perhaps they had seen what David had done and were out to get him because of it. They had been lying in wait for the opportunity to point fingers at David and accuse him. And now he has “sinned”; they see their chance! “When one comes to see me, he utters empty words, while his heart gathers iniquity; when he goes out, he tells it abroad” (41:6). There are some people who will come to us to listen to us—or so they say—but in their listening, they are only gathering information which they can then distort to tarnish our name to other people. ‘Twas ever thus—long before social media, David fell victim to a public slander campaign. He needs God’s help. Perhaps you have “enemies” who are slandering you. Take comfort that David experienced that kind of opposition, and like David, would you turn to God this morning for his help?
Yet it is worse still. It is not just “enemies” who are out to attack him, it is his “close friend” (41:9). Few things sting more than betrayal, and when it is betrayal from someone you trusted (even a close friend), it is brutal. Have you experienced that kind of betrayal? Again, like David, look to God for help! David is even honest with his desires about these “enemies” of his: “O LORD, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them!” (41:10). We know, as the Bible says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19). We are not to seek revenge or to “repay” people. But it is true that we sometimes want to take vengeance into our own hands. Perhaps you do too. Perhaps someone has done something so bad to you that you wish to “get them” for it, and to “repay” them for what they did. There is room for a righteous desire for justice. And perhaps David, as king and judge in a political sense, is thinking of righteous justice. But there is not room for personal vengeance. Leave that in the hands of God.
David concludes with the thought of how he will know that God delights in him. “My enemy will not shout in triumph over me” (41:11). And he then declares, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel” (41:13). God blesses him for the care he has shown to the poor. And David declares, to round off the connection between the beginning and end of the psalm, that God in his own nature is blessed. All happiness and blessing comes from our personal relationship to God, for he is the source of all blessing and true happiness. Seek God then today, that you might be blessed in him, the Blessed One!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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