Psalms 41: Seeing the Signs
This Psalm begins with a bit of theoretical wisdom (v.1-3). David tells us that, God will bless the man who is gracious to the poor. He says the Lord will protect him and keep him alive. He says the Lord will sustain him on his sickbed and even from his enemies. How many of us believe that in our heads but secretly doubt it in our hearts? I know many people who do. We tell everyone what a great God he is, but when push comes to shove, we throw that out the window and start doubting whether God is even listening! We sometimes even rant at God as if He has confirmed our belief. We cause our own pain because our faith is in our heads not our hearts. David’s response, as usual, is different. David recognizes primarily, that it is his sin, and not God, that is the problem, because God does not sin. David says the people around him do not respect him. Rather than blame God for his for His lack of protection, David looks in his own heart to see if there might be some reason for the actions of others. The Psalm implies here, that David is in some way culpable. Therefore, he goes right to the source of forgiveness, and instead of arguing, asks for a pardon.
Dr. Henry Cloud, a Christian psychologist once said, that if someone calls you a horse, ignore it. If ten people do, buy a saddle. This piece of wisdom can apply to our spiritual lives as well when people are hostile to us, or seem to ignore us. We need to look inside and upward, not outside and upward for the answer. Our attitude about God and His goodness should be visible in our lives. We should be “blessed” because we consider the poor, as the psalmist says. Our eyes should not always focus on what others have “done to us,” but look around to see how we are treating others. How we do treat others is a reflection of our relationship with God. Our forgiveness of them and dependence on God as our vindication –rather than self– is a model of our spiritual health.
In verses 5-9, David describes what is happening to him. People betray him. They pretend to be concerned, and then spread lies about him. Even his close friends have deceived him. In response David cries out to God (v. 10-13), as always, and tells God that he has the confidence in Him and His integrity. David will depend upon God, not himself, to avenge his situation. Instead of feeling sorry for himself and blaming God, David is able to access God’s “great cosmic power” to love his enemies instead.
Finally, David blesses God for recognizing David’s humility and integrity. He says, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.” AMEN! AMEN!