Psalm 41 - overcomer - Blessed is he who considers the needy
To be an overcomer we need to compassionately consider those in need. We will still suffer, but in our misery the Lord will be there transforming the place of suffering.
This is quite a way to end the 1st book of the Psalms. It shows how important it is to care for the poor (James 1:26-27).
v1 - The day of trouble will come, but it will just be a day, not that long.
"Days of trouble come even to the most generous, and they have made the wisest provision for rainy days who have lent shelter to others when times were better with them. The promise is not that the generous saint shall have no trouble, but that he shall be preserved in it, and in due time brought out of it." - C. H. Spurgeon
v2- Prosperity shall attend him. His cruse of oil shall not be dried up because he fed the poor prophet. He shall cut from his roll of cloth and find it longer at both ends.
If temporal gains be not given him, spirituals shall be doubled to him. His little shall be blessed, bread and water shall be a feast to him. The liberal (generous) are and must be blessed even here; they have a present as well as a future portion. Our Lord's real blessedness of heart in the joy that was set before him is a subject worthy of earnest thought, especially as it is the picture of the blessing which all liberal (generous) saints may look for. - Spurgeon
Our foes today are spiritual forces of evil in the heavenlies. (Luke 22:31)
v3- I followed John Goldingay's translation of this verse: "Yhwh sustains him on his sickbed; you transform the entire place where he lies in his suffering."
Alan, a manager at my work, recently survived esophageal cancer, the odds of survival for which are 1/14.
One day he read Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (NKJ)
He said, The Lord will give me a future and a hope.
So he was not fearful of the future.
He was confident he would survive.
He went thru chemo and radiation and had the surgery, which required the removal of the esophagus and the stretching of the stomach to reach up to the throat.
He had lots of holes in his body with tubes coming out.
He was told that in 6 mos he would start to feel better.
He was just going to let nature take its course, but he said that would be taking the credit away from the Lord. Healing is supernatural, not natural.
He did not turn on the tv in his hospital room.
He had lots of time in the hospital, so he cleaned up his room very nice, which took him a long time to do a little, but he had little else to do.
He arranged the room just like he wanted it.
Nurses told him that they felt peace whenever they went in his room.
One technician was asking him how come his room felt peaceful, which was different than all the other rooms.
Alan was going to answer him, but just then the doctor came in and said that he was being discharged.
He recovered amazingly fast.
He shared about it in his Bible study group saying that he had such peace.
One of the group members said, You have peace now, but when Armageddon comes you won't have peace.
Alan researched it in the Bible and found that the opposite of peace is fear, not war.
That is why he had peace, because he did not have fear.
Some time later he went to the hospital again for kidney stones.
The same technician came to his room.
Alan told him the answer to the question he had asked before, which answer he did not know before, but he knew it now.
The everlasting arms shall stay up his soul as friendly hands and downy pillows stay up the body of the sick. How tender and sympathising is this image; how near it brings our God to our infirmities and sicknesses! ... If he smites with one hand he sustains with the other. Oh, it is blessed fainting when one falls upon the Lord's own bosom, and is borne up thereby! Grace is the best of restoratives; divine love is the noblest stimulant for a languishing patient; it makes the soul strong as a giant, even when the aching bones are breaking through the skin. No physician like the Lord, no tonic like his promise, no wine like his love. ...
Herein is love indeed. Who would not consider the poor if such be the promised reward? A bed soon grows hard when the body is weary with tossing to and fro upon it, but grace gives patience, and God's smile gives peace, and the bed is made soft because the man's heart is content; the pillows are downy because the head is peaceful. Note that the Lord will make all his bed, from head to foot. What considerate and indefatigable kindness! Our dear and ever blessed Lord Jesus, though in all respects an inheritor of this promise, for our sakes condescended to forego the blessing, and died on a cross and not upon a bed. ...
We must not imagine that the benediction pronounced in these three verses belongs to all who casually give money to the poor, or leave it in their wills, or contribute to societies. Such do well, or act from mere custom, as the case may be, but they are not here alluded to. The blessing is for those whose habit it is to love their neighbour as themselves, and who for Christ's sake feed the hungry and clothe the naked. To imagine a man to be a saint who does not consider the poor as he has ability, is to conceive the fruitless fig tree to be acceptable; there will be sharp dealing with many professors (those who profess to be Christians) on this point in the day when the King cometh in his glory. - Spurgeon
v4- "because I have sinned against You" probably refers to David's sin against Uriah the Hittite, because of which the Lord told him he would suffer (2Sam 12:10). I think this psalm occurred long after that sin, probably during Adonijah's rebellion (1Ki 1:5-15).
"Because I have sinned against Thee" could modify either or both the preceding "heal my soul" or the following "my foes speak evil of me". In Psalm 38, which I think takes place at the same time as this Psalm, David says he suffers both sickness and foes' evil speaking because of his sins. It is told that David's house would suffer the sword because of his sin against Uriah (2Sam 12:10). So David realized that Adonijah's and Absalom's rebellions against him were because of that sin.
A person should pray that his spiritual shortcoming be cured, not only its physical symptoms - Rabbi David Kimchi (aka RaDaK) (1160-1235)
Prove now thy gracious dealings with my soul in adversity, since thou didst aforetime give me grace to act liberally in my prosperity. ...
We ought to be far more earnest for the soul's healing than for the body's ease. We hear much of the cure of souls, but we often forget to care about it. ...
Here was the root of sorrow. Sin and suffering are inevitable companions. Observe that by the psalmist sin was felt to be mainly evil because directed against God. This is of the essence of true repentance. - Spurgeon
v5 - During Adonijah's rebellion, David was old and would die soon.
v6 "A little fault is made much of; a slip of the tongue is a libel, a mistake a crime, and if a word can bear two meanings the worse is always fathered upon it. ... It is base to strike a man when he is down, yet such is the meanness of mankind towards a Christian hero should he for awhile chance to be under a cloud. " - Spurgeon
v9 - "heel" indicates cheating as in Jacob being called a heel-holder (Gen 27:36 etc).
David had 2 trusted friends who betrayed him in ways that foreshadow Judas: Ahithophel who betrayed him in Absalom's rebellion (2Sam 17:23) and Joab in Adonijah's rebellion (1Ki 1:7; 2Sam 20:9-10). I think this verse refers to Joab because during Adonijah's rebellion, David was sick and near to death.
The Lord said that Judas fulfilled this verse (Joh 13:18). The previous verses of this psalm cannot be about Jesus because David says that he had sinned against the Lord. Verses 9 to the end seem to be about both David and Jesus.
It is noteworthy that the Redeemer applied only the last words of this verse to Judas, perhaps because, knowing his duplicity, he had never made a familiar friend of him in the fullest sense, and had not placed implicit trust in him. - Spurgeon
v10 - I took the "by this" at the beginning of v11 and put it on the end of v10.
By his being raised up from his sickbed, David will repay his foes by disappointing their hopes for his downfall. - Rabbi Hirsch (1808-88). This is the accepted Jewish interpretation. This is what happened in 1Kings 1:16-49, though it appears that David was still bed-ridden. A little later in 1Chron 28: 2, David stood up on his feet and addressed all the leaders of Israel.
v11 - "Thou hast a special regard to me, I have the secret assurance of this in my heart, and, therefore, thine outward dealings do not dismay me, for I know that thou lovest me in them all. ...
What if the believer has no triumph over his foes, he must be glad that they do not triumph over him. If we have not all we would we should praise God for all we have. Much there is in us over which the ungodly might exult, and if God's mercy keeps the dog's mouths closed when they might be opened, we must give him our heartiest gratitude. What a wonder it is that when the devil enters the lists with a poor, erring, bedridden, deserted, slandered saint, and has a thousand evil tongues to aid him, yet he cannot win the day, but in the end slinks off without renown. " - Spurgeon
12 - Our innocence and consistency are the result of the divine upholding. We are like those glasses without feet, which can only be upright while they are held in the hand; we fall, and spill, and spoil all, if left to ourselves. - Spurgeon
v13 - This Doxology closes the first book of the Psalter. Each of the 5 books ends in a similar manner. - F. B. Meyer
"Amen and amen" is used 2 other times in the Bible, also at the end of of the last psalm of the next 2 books of psalms: Ps 72:19; 89:52. Psalm 72 is the last psalm of Book 2 of the Psalms and Psalm 89 is the last psalm of Book 3.
The last psalm of Book 4, Psalm 106, ends with "Amen, Hallelujah!". The final psalm of Book 5, Psalm 150, the last psalm, ends with "Praise Yah, Hallelujah!"
-copyright Steve Miller