Wednesday 30 October 2013

Bible Book:

“Happy are those who consider the poor; the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble.” (v. 1)

Psalm 41 Wednesday 30 October 2013


Psalm 41 affirms both the reality of suffering and the presenceof God in the midst of adversity, and suggests a connection betweenhuman integrity and divine blessing. It begins with a refutation ofthe idea that God is like a heavenly vending machine. Rather thanautomatically delivering blessings when requested, the psalmistsuggests that the Lord blesses those faithful people who seek toconfirm to kingdom values in their protection of the poor (verse1). This does not mean that those who conform to God's will in thisway will be immune to suffering, but rather that "in the day oftrouble", in the face of enmity (verse 2) or times of sickness andinfirmity (verse 3), the Lord will sustain them. In response tothis truth, the psalmist offers a prayer for healing andrestoration (verse 4). The use of "I" and "me" make this a verypersonal plea in the light of the promises of God outlined inverses 1-3: that which previously affirmed generally is nowexpressed as a matter of individual conviction in the psalmist'srelationship with God.

God's blessing does not insulate faithful people from oppositionor adversaries, and the psalmist laments at length at those whogossip and slander (verses 5-6) and who hope the worst (verses7-8). The hardest blow is the desertion of a close friend (verse9). The psalm ends though with an affirmation of God's goodness,even in these painful circumstances. The fact that despite enemies'worst efforts the psalmist has not been overwhelmed is a sign tothe psalmist of God's continuing gracious presence (verse 10). Asat the beginning of the psalm, this has not simply happened ondemand, but is God's response to the psalmist's integrity (verse12). Unlike those who profess loyalty to the Lord but ignore theneeds of those who God has created, the psalmist's actions andvalues match: when demonstrating integrity, wrote Mildred BangsWynkoop, "singleheartedness is its fundamental characteristic".

The psalmist concludes with a shout of joyous praise to theLord, which is both a personal response and an affirmation that'from everlasting to everlasting' his God is the God of Israel.

To Ponder

  • How do your actions towards those less advantaged than youreflect the values that you hold about God?
  • When have been the times in your life where you have felt God'spresence "in the day of trouble"? How has this beenmanifested?
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