Monday, August 4, 2008

Psalm 41 - Blessed Are Those Who Care

LINK: Psalm 41

BACKGROUND

Psalm 41 is the third psalm that begins with a benediction (a blessing). Psalm 1 begins, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly…” Psalm 32 says, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven….” Today’s psalm begins “Blessed is he who considers the helpless….”

Psalm 41 is also the last psalm in the first of the five books (or sections) of Psalms. This book, and each subsequent book, ends with a doxology or statement of praise to God.

REFLECTION

David is sick and helpless. He has sinned, recognizes that, and has asked for God’s mercy. He records in this psalm some of the ways people have responded to his helplessness. Look at some of the attitudes and responses of those who visited David and how instead of helping him, they only added to his suffering.

I think that’s why David begins this psalm with a passionate cry for blessing on those who consider the helpless. He had experienced sickness, poverty of soul, and loneliness. He wanted a trustworthy friend to wisely and kindly consider him – to think of him and help strengthen his heart.

It doesn’t say whether any person helped David or listened to him. All the people listed in the psalm hurt him, talked about him, and added to his anguish. He did find a friend, though, in God.

APPLICATION

I have been on both sides of the situation that David speaks of in this psalm.

I have been hurting and helpless and wanted someone to wisely and kindly consider my plight, to turn to me with compassion and love and be my friend. I understand David’s cry of pain here.

And sadly, I have seen those who are helpless and hurting and I haven’t considered them with the wisdom and kindness that I should have. I know there have been times when I have not only been blind to the helplessness of someone, but I have probably added to their hurt by my attitude toward them. This psalm has convicted me of my callousness.

Like David, I am thankful for God’s mercy.

PRAYER

LORD, please give us eyes to see those who are hurting and helpless. Please give us compassionate hearts. Help us to take the time to wisely consider how to be kind and to reflect Your mercy to the weak – to those suffering, to the poor, to those hurting emotionally.
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